Author's Note: Hey guys! I've been depressing myself with Ourselves and Immortality (new chapter very soon!) so I posted an invitation today on my Tumblr that the first person to send me a crack prompt would get a brand new crack fic written for them this very day. Only nobody took me up on it! Luckily I have AvengerAssembled, who is always good for a cracky prompt. This prompt was "What if Bartlet tried to run for President after President Whitmore in the Independence Day movie universe?" So here it is, ta-da!
"It's a funny line, CJ, you can't tell me it isn't. You laughed, the guys, Joe and Stew, they laughed. I think Toby may have even cracked a smile."
"Josh and Sam, sir," CJ's long legs ate up the hallway as she followed Governor Bartlet through the halls of the Dallas Convention Center, trying to reason with him. "And it is a funny line, sir, and if we were still sitting on the convention bus I'd be all for it, but Texas is still the second most populous US state we have left and you absolutely cannot make fun of their hats!"
"I'm not making fun of them," the Governor explained patiently, moving surprisingly quickly considering his press spokesperson towered over him by a good eight inches in her heels. "I'm poking a little lighthearted fun at all of us as human beings, united in the fact that we all look ridiculous in ten-gallon hats! Can we really not take a joke in this country anymore?"
"Do you remember John Hoynes four years ago?" CJ pointed out tartly. "How one joke on a live microphone completely obliterated his political career?"
The governor stopped walking, suddenly enough that CJ nearly ran him down. "Claudia Jean," and how he remembered her first and middle name when he still couldn't remember any of the guys she would never know, "are you really equating my joke about hats with John Hoynes saying that we shouldn't ignore that eighty-five million Americans lost their lives on the Republicans' watch?"
CJ sighed. "Of course not, sir. But jokes are tricky things, especially now. The American people want a strong leader, and General Gray has experience as Vice President, plus the endorsement of President Whitmore-"
"So you're also saying I probably shouldn't comment on the fact that Vice Presidents are unreliable because they're always going and getting themselves blown up?" He rolled his eyes as CJ visibly flinched. "I do know a little something about politics, you understand. I was elected to the New Hampshire state house when you were still in diapers, to say nothing of my time in the House of Representatives or two terms as Governor! I can back off from a joke when I need to, but honestly, after all we've been through as a nation and a planet, do you really think people are going to be that touchy on the subject of their hats?"
"If you say so, sir," CJ replied, finally giving up. They began walking again, only to be met mere footsteps later by Sam and Toby, both of them clutching color-coded copies of the Governor's speech.
"Governor, the speech is locked and up on the teleprompter for you," Sam informed Bartlet in his usual wide-eyed, slightly breathless way. "And personally I think it's the best one yet. They're going to eat it up."
"But you're not going to do the joke about the hats, right?" Toby cut in, neatly hip-checking Sam to take his spot in the walking lane. "That would be a mistake."
"Oh for the love of god!" Bartlet exclaimed. "You're all fired!" He strode off to the stage, leaving a little gaggle of staffers standing behind him.
"He's not going to do the joke, right?" Sam asked CJ. She stared back at him for a moment, then turned on her heel and headed for the open bar.