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Political Cartoons Reflect Tense Election Atmosphere

October 29, 2004 at 12:00 AM EDT

TRANSCRIPT

STEPHEN HESS: When the 2004 presidential election campaign is over, what will you most remember? Well, if you live in the battleground states, it’s probably the relentless assault coming from your TV set.

SEN. JOHN KERRY: I approve this message.

PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: I approve this message.

POLITICAL CARTOON SPOKESMAN: And now a word about hemorrhoids.

MAN IN CARTOON: Hallelujah! It’s not a political ad!!

STEPHEN HESS: The debates began on Sept. 30, a four-part reality show seen through the lenses of the cartoonists.

CARTOON: Ooh, that was a close one; now the other arm.

CARTOON: Before answering that last question, Kerry’s polling France.

CARTOON: That was a good answer. Too bad he wasn’t asked that question.

STEPHEN HESS: The debates are followed by the pundits’ spin.

CARTOON: Scoring the debate: hair, close, smile, tan…ideas?

STEPHEN HESS: Next, the vice presidential candidates step onto the stage.

CARTOON: Halliburton, Halliburton, Halliburton, Halliburton, Halliburton. Thank you.

CARTOON: Mr. Vice President, you have 30 seconds to respond. (growling and chomp, then burp)

CARTOON: So ends tonight’s vice presidential debate.

STEPHEN HESS: With continuing news of casualties coming from Baghdad, the war on terrorism dominates the debate.

CARTOON: Nevertheless, you don’t switch horses in midstream.

CARTOON: Freeing Iraq was right.

SAME CARTOON: Attacking Iraq was wrong.

KERRY IN CARTOON: I agree.

CARTOON: Psst-Bush is going to start up the draft again and do away with Social Security…and he also eats little puppy dogs….pass it on!

CARTOON: We have one working tank and two rounds of ammunition. Check the numbers on your tickets to see if you’re today’s lucky winner.

STEPHEN HESS: At the same time, peaceful elections in Afghanistan bring hope. As if the cartoonists don’t have enough material coming from overseas, the sudden flu crisis provides new fodder.

CARTOON: My fellow Americans, this would not have happened if President Bush had provided enough flu vaccine.

STEPHEN HESS: There’s a huge array of domestic issues for cartoonists to aim at, including an under- funded “no child left behind” initiative.

CARTOON: No child left behind.

CARTOON: Splat

STEPHEN HESS: Who will fulfill the vacancies on the Supreme Court?

CARTOON: Which scares you more?

STEPHEN HESS: The economy, taxes, jobs…

CARTOON: Golly, Mr. Hoover – I’m the first president since you to go into an election with a net loss of jobs. Hat can I tell the voters?

SAME CARTOON: Tell them it’s not your fault – when people are out of work unemployment results.

STEPHEN HESS: Still to be faced: Will Election Day voting go off without a hitch?

CARTOON: I’m having trouble getting my vote to register on this touch-screen voting machine…yours working okay?

SAME CARTOON: Not really, but it’s okay…I’m getting a rerun of ‘Raymond’!

STEPHEN HESS: The cartoonists, like the rest of the nation, remain deeply divided. But on one thing they agree: The two candidates are a delight to draw.

CARTOON: I will cut the deficit in half!

SAME CARTOON: No, I will cut the deficit in half!