Collins to work toward increasing visitation to Arkansas by groups and promoting the state's appeal
Just before the January 23 Republican debate, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney encountered one another at a deli tray just off-stage. What follows is a transcript of that meeting:
Newt eats turkey cold cuts. Mitt approaches, grabs a Pellegrino. They realize they're alone and next to each other. Awkward moment.
NEWT:...How many more of these, right?
[Silence as Newt eats. Mitt looks at watch. Finally...]
NEWT: Ya know, one of us is going to get this nomination.
NEWT: I mean, one of us will actually...be the Republican nominee. [A moment, curious.] ...Have you thought about what you might do if you didn't win?
[The two look at each other, studying.]
MITT: Naw. ...I mean, a little maybe. [Mitt thinks.] ...One time I went to the Bahamas by myself.
MITT: I was young. Cashed my whole paycheck without a thought. Beach all day, blackjack all night. [Back to reality.] But...that's nothing compared to public service.
NEWT: Yeah. [Newt gets lost in thought.] I was in Belize years ago. Scuba-dived in a barrier reef. Caught my supper. Bottle-nursed an orphaned spider-monkey. [Realizing.] But...going door-to-door in New Hampshire in January...that's good too.
[Mitt takes a cold cut after all. The two men lean against the table, looking out.]
MITT: In college, I went whitewater rafting through the Grand Canyon. I met a Hopi Indian girl named Hehewuti. I had to conquer her father in traditional feats of strength in order to copulate with her. Hehewuti and I then made passionate love and bathed each other in cactus nectar beneath the moonlight. ...That was a good day. [Straightening.] But, I mean, that doesn't beat, like, side-stepping real campaign issues to trade useless barbs and talking points with you guys twice a week, does it?
NEWT: Are you asking?
MITT: No, I'm being rhetorical.
[But they both clearly continue to consider.]
NEWT: ...The year was 1999. I had resigned from Congress —
MITT: — Because of 84 ethical charges —
NEWT: [defensive] —Most were dismissed. Anyway, I just got in a car and drove. Road the rail with hobos. Got in a fist-fight with Norman Mailer. Was a roadie for Widespread. Then I went on a four-day, sex-filled mescaline-binge with the brunette from the Dixie Chicks. ...Freedom. [Trying to be cheerful.] ...Buuuut spending 20 minutes talking to some inbred Nevadan only to find out that he's listening because he thinks I'm former Cowboys coach Wade Phillips...I mean...[seething]...that's why I'm here.
[Mitt stands, fed up.]
MITT: I used to have a life, Newt! I don't want to be president.
NEWT: Of course you don't! It's terrible out there! I just wanted a Fox talk show.
MITT: Me too! But then you're winning, and suddenly you're strapped to a rocket, and you realize, "If I wanted to get off, I should've said something earlier!"
NEWT: [shaking head] I don't have a chance in a national election. I mean, you probably don't either, but I mean, I don't have a CHANCE.
[Both men lean back again, sigh. A WOMAN approaches.]
WOMAN: They're ready for you gentlemen.
[Mitt and Newt look at each other. They sigh.]
NEWT: Welp...here we go again. What's up for tonight?
MITT: (lifeless) I'm gonna hammer you on getting paid by health care companies.
NEWT: 'K. I'm probably just going to call you a pederast and see if it sticks.
[They smile grudgingly, do the fist-bump/explosion in unison, then head onto stage.]