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Bluff The Listener


From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Paula Poundstone, Brian Babylon and Kyrie O'Connor. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium, Peter Sagal.



Thank you everybody. It is time for the WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Bluff The Listener game. Call 1-888-Wait-Wait to join us on air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

CARL CARLSON: Hi there, Carl Carlson calling from Plainfield, Vermont.

SAGAL: Say your name again.

CARLSON: Carl Carlson.

SAGAL: Carl Carlson.

CARLSON: Correct.

SAGAL: I love it.


SAGAL: Carl, welcome to the show. You're going to play the game in which you have to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is Carl's topic?

KASELL: The meaning of "is" is "is".

SAGAL: Politics seems so nuts these days, so people tend to get nostalgic for the peaceful, quiet days of the Clinton White House.


SAGAL: Believe it or not, we did not hear everything strange and scandalous that went down there. Just this week, we heard an explosive new story about the Clinton administration. Each of our panelists will tell you a story about the Clintons. Only one is true. Ready to play?

CARLSON: Certainly.

SAGAL: First, let's hear from Kyrie O'Connor.

KYRIE O'CONNOR: The maid cleaning the Oval Office was the first to notice, the little cannonball was missing. Perched on a wooden stand, it had graced the office since 1932, a gift from the king of England. It had come from a gun mounted on Sir Francis Drake's storied galleon "The Golden Hind."

She searched high and low, nothing. The Secret Service got involved, still nothing. The search became frantic when someone noticed an appointment on the calendar with the British ambassador for the following afternoon.

Then the president's secretary, Betty Currie, noticed a pile of wet splinters in the middle of the hallway. Wet, slobbery splinters. It was what was left of the ball's wooden stand. And not too far away, was the president's chocolate lab Buddy, looking just a little guilty.

Veterinary x-rays confirmed that the ball was nestled peacefully in Buddy's tummy. But it couldn't and wouldn't stay there. A Secret Service agent was deputized to take Buddy on all his bathroom breaks and, sure enough, the next day, the ball was discharged from Buddy's golden hind.


O'CONNOR: Swiftly sanitized and placed on a new stand, where it rests today.


SAGAL: The amazing disappearing and then disgustingly reappearing British cannonball. Your next story of a Clintonian secret that finally came to light comes from Brian Babylon.

BRIAN BABYLON: It's a tradition for most outgoing presidents and governors to make some last-minute pardons. As most of you remember, President Clinton got some heat after pardoning 140 people on his last day in office, including fugitive businessman Marc Rich, for his 51 counts of tax fraud.

But among those 140 people is another convicted entrepreneur that Clinton would love to forget: Lex Luther, Superman's arch nemesis and CEO of LexCorp. He had made significant contributions to both Bill's presidential campaign and Hillary's senatorial campaign. No one is really clear on how Mr. Luther's name ended up on the list for consideration, but Clinton was adamant about the pardon after seeing the campaign contributions.

So how did this happen? Apparently, prankster tax attorney Jessie Kimbrel had been planning this for years. "It only cost me $175,000 in campaign donations," she said, "but it was worth it." And it would have gone out too, if Clinton's friend, Bruce Lindsey hadn't vetted the pardons at the last minute.

In fact, it may be the fact that he was distracted by the Luther pardon that he let the Rich pardon slide through. Superman was unavailable for comment.


SAGAL: President Clinton pardons Lex Luther, the completely fictional super villain from the Superman comics.


SAGAL: And your last secret of the Bubba comes from Paula Poundstone.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: Former president Bill Clinton sure looks lean and statesmanly these days. He's a vegan. He doesn't eat meat. He doesn't eat sugar. He doesn't eat dairy. He doesn't eat white flour. For a snack, sometimes he can gnaw on wicker furniture.


POUNDSTONE: Former White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier says it wasn't always that way. He says back in the meat and gluten flour days of the White House, President Clinton had an appetite that could make a chef quiver like a bowl of jello salad.

One night, the president ate half of a strawberry cake all by himself, and the next morning came back to finish the job. The remaining half of the cake, however, could not be found. President Bubba became distraught, pounding the table, shouting, "I want my (bleep) cake."


POUNDSTONE: The shameful incident has remained secret until now, and may have inspired the president's vegan conversion. No one, no matter how powerful pounds the table and shouts, "I want my (bleep) tofu honey wheat-free nut tart.


SAGAL: All right.


SAGAL: Here are your choices. One of these things really happened in the Clinton White House. Was if from Kyrie O'Connor, the story of how Buddy the dog made off with a valuable British artifact and then reluctantly gave it back? From Brian Babylon, how Bill Clinton was fooled into pardoning Lex Luther, Superman's arch enemy? Or from Paula Poundstone, how Bill Clinton got really, really, really mad when he did not get his cake? Which of these is a real story from the Clinton White house?

CARLSON: Well that's tough, but I think may B, Lex Luther has the ring of truth. Might that be it?

SAGAL: You're going to go for Brian's story that Bill Clinton pardoned Lex Luther, the Superman villain?


SAGAL: Not really knowing it was Lex Luther?

CARLSON: Yes, I'm going to have to go with it.

SAGAL: You're going to go with Brian Babylon's story of Lex Luther pardon, being pardoned. All right, well to bring you the real story, we spoke to the journalist who uncovered this scandal.

CAROL ROSS JOYNT: Pastry Chef Mesnier said that he had a face to face with Clinton, and Clinton said, "I want my (bleep) cake."



SAGAL: That was Washingtonian editor-at-large Carol Ross Joynt. She reported the story about Clinton's cake rage. So, obviously, as we now know, it was Paula who had the real story. I wish the Lex Luther story was true, because I would believe it, but sadly, it is not. You did not win our prize, but you earned a point for Brian for his excellent story.

BABYLON: Thanks, Buddy.

CARLSON: Well, thank you.


SAGAL: Thanks for playing.

CARLSON: All righty.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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