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Bluff The Listener

CARL KASELL: From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing his week with Jessi Klein, Tom Bodett, and Charlie Pierce. And, here again is your host, at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Carl.


SAGAL: Thank you, guys. Right now, it's time for the WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-Wait-Wait to play our game on the air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

LANDON TUCKER: Hey, this is Landon, calling from New Orleans, Louisiana.

SAGAL: New Orleans, how are things in New Orleans? One of my favorite cities there is.

TUCKER: It is hot.

SAGAL: What do you do there?

TUCKER: I ride in the carnival parades.

SAGAL: You do? You ride in a Mardi Gras float?

TUCKER: I do, yeah, the Krewe of Thoth.

SAGAL: Krewe of what?

TUCKER: The Krewe of Thoth.

SAGAL: Of tote?

TUCKER: Thoth.

SAGAL: Toad?



SAGAL: Oh, Thoth.

TUCKER: Thoth. Yeah, it's an Egyptian god, half ibis, half man.

SAGAL: Oh, I see.





SAGAL: Oh yeah, absolutely. God, sorry.

PIERCE: Krewe of Thoth is the NPR float every year.


SAGAL: Well, welcome to the show, Landon.

TUCKER: Thanks, thanks.

SAGAL: You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is Landon's topic?

KASELL: Can't we all just get along?

SAGAL: Political rivalries are as old as time, of course. But this week, our panelists are going to tell you about two political nemeses bridging the divide and coming together in an unexpected way. Guess the true story and you'll win Carl's voice on your home answering machine or voicemail. You ready to play?

TUCKER: Estoy listo.

SAGAL: He's bilingual.

TUCKER: That's right.

SAGAL: All right. Let us hear first from Mr. Charlie Pierce.

PIERCE: In the East Hedgepath election in Surrey, Labor candidate Martin Smith Piggett and Tory standard bearer Walter Goldofin have been enthusiastically touting their "up from the bootstraps" biographies.

Both men were orphans and the campaign had been an exercise in who could out-orphan the other. Goldofin, for example, had a television ad in which he touted his superiority in that he had been adopted after Smith Piggett and therefore had been an orphan longer. "We'll have no adoptees-come-lately," he thundered.

It all came to an end last week when the local newspaper hired a genealogist to trace the ancestry of local celebrities. Naturally, both candidates eagerly signed up. And it was revealed that they actually were twin sons, separated at birth from their teenage mother and sent to different foster families in the area.

The two men then made a joint appearance with their biological mother and their step moms and step dads and promised all the moms that they would behave henceforth, quote, "like brothers should." "Oh lord," said their mother, "not that."


SAGAL: Two rivals discovering they're actually brothers separated at birth. Your next story of rivals teaming up unexpectedly comes from Jessi Klein.

KLEIN: Until recently, Republican John Perzel and Democrat Bill DeWeese were rivals, both former speakers of the Pennsylvania State House and sworn partisan enemies who stood on the opposite side of most issues. However, their antagonism fell by the wayside when they became close friends in - you guessed it - jail.


KLEIN: Both men found themselves incarcerated at Camp Hill State Prison after being convicted of separate, unrelated corruption charges. The two decided to bunk together and pretty soon became BFFs.


KLEIN: It's like one long sleepover party for the new besties, who've reportedly been bonding over everything from inedible lunchmeat to ill-fitting jumpsuits. Some sources say they've even been seen spotting each other in the exercise yard. Sure, they're only lifting five pound weights, but they're just new, they'll improve.


KLEIN: They're like a real life odd couple, except in this case they're not bachelors, just thieves who stole from the people who elected them.



SAGAL: Two bitter rivals become friends in jail, after both being arrested for corruption. Your last story of reaching across the aisle comes from Tom Bodett.

BODETT: Boston City Council Member Rafe Segalin had had enough of the Environmental Committee Chair Ann Boaz standing in the way of his grand designs. When Council Member Boaz recently quashed his plan for a Big Dig shopping plaza, Segalin lost it. He sent her a shoebox of poop, gathered from his yard and his helpful Bernese mountain dog Pocko.


BODETT: When Boaz opened the package, she lost it, too. Ann got mad. Mad enough to turn the box over to the Boston Police Crime Lab for analysis. Results? One, it was dog poop.


BODETT: Two, probably from a Bernese mountain dog.


BODETT: Three, the dog had a rare and severe form of canine anemia. "Anemia," thought Boaz, "the very disease her beloved Berner Pocko died of five years earlier. If only we'd caught it sooner."

It didn't take long, scouring the Facebook pages of her political adversaries, to find a picture of the smiling Councilman Segalin with his arms around the neck of a gorgeous Berner named - oh my god - Pocko. Boaz called Segalin to give him hell, but she couldn't stay mad, and found herself blurting out the news about the anemia and imploring Segalin to drop everything and get Pocko to a vet.

Now, six months later, you see a Suburban and a Prius parked side by side in the city hall parking lot, with matching Berner on board stickers in the back windows.


BODETT: Boaz and Segalin have teamed up and are the unstoppable force behind the new $60 million Boston Common Dog Park and Free Animal Health Clinic breaking ground next spring.


SAGAL: Two rivals bond over their Bernese mountain dogs and a helpful discovery. So, let us review your choices.


SAGAL: From Charlie Pierce: two rivals finding out they're actually twins separated at birth. Jessi Klein: two bitter political enemies bonding while in prison on separate corruption charges. Or from Tom Bodett: how a message of dog poop became a symbol of friendship.


SAGAL: Which of these is the real story of political rivals coming together?

TUCKER: Yeah, I'm a twin, so I would like for the first one to be the real one. But I think I've actually read about this and I'm going to go with Jessi's story.

SAGAL: You're going to go with Jessi's story of the two Pennsylvania politicians...

TUCKER: Yes, sir.

SAGAL: ...who've bonded in prison? All right, well we spoke to someone familiar with the real story.

PETE DECOURSEY: The processing prison in Pennsylvania not only has two former house speakers in the prison, but they are cell mates.

SAGAL: There you are. That was Pete DeCoursey. He's the bureau chief of Capitolwire, telling us about the Pennsylvania politicians.


SAGAL: Congratulations, you got it right. Jessi was telling the truth. You have won our prize, Carl's voice on your voicemail. Congratulations, well done.

TUCKER: Thank you.

SAGAL: Thank you so much for playing.

TUCKER: Thank you, Peter.

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

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