The only winner so far is satire. But it can't last forever

Television
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The Independent US

"A most remarkable moment in our nation's history" is what the politicians are calling the seven-days-and-counting US election, but not everyone is taking it quite so seriously.

"A most remarkable moment in our nation's history" is what the politicians are calling the seven-days-and-counting US election, but not everyone is taking it quite so seriously.

Indecision 2000 is providing late-night television comedians with their finest hour since the President and the Intern; even company advertising departments are getting in on the act.

Mars has adapted a pre-election advert for its top-selling Snickers chocolate bar, which shows tiny cartoon renditions of Al Gore and George W perched on either side of a "real" person's head. They squabble about the election result until the face gets fed up and says: "Take a break, have a Snickers."

Florida pensioners are a favourite target of the satires: sketches show them botching their vote, then the count. They forget their glasses, drop piles of ballot papers and so on.

Every show has a mock reporter out in Palm Beach: David Letterman on CBS's Late Show brought us "Biff live via satellite ... You could almost see the carrier pigeon racing down 53rd Street to Route 1 South to deliver Biff the message. It took that long ..."

Over on NBC, The Tonight Show's Jay Leno called for a last recount - "with new candidates, then we'll get a result."

Bill Maher on ABC's Politically Incorrect was more deadpan: "As of today, what I have to report is that neither Bush nor Gore has been elected President. I know it's a great feeling, but it can't last forever.'

So nerve-wracking was the election, he joshed, that Dick Cheney (George W's running mate) had had another heart bypass operation that morning - "just to be safe".

Back on CBS, Letterman last night offered his set-piece top 10 list - "top 10 dumb-guy ways to solve presidential election confusion". Number 10: "Find some guy named George W Gore: make him president." Number six: "Do what they do in other important contests in Florida: hold a swimsuit competition."

And in the quip that perhaps best matches the current mood - at least for today - number one: "Solve it? Are you nuts? This is great!"

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