The scene: Obama advisor David Axelrod spoke with Obama at 2PM, the end of Obama’s work day. This conversation would have taken place earlier in the day, but Axelrod arrived at 10:30AM, a half hour before Obama normally comes down from the White House living quarters.
Axelrod: Barack, I’m going on TV tomorrow and claim you’re apoplectic about the GSA scandal. I’ll just say the usual, you know, we’re saving money by spending money, blah, blah, blah.
Axelrod: Do you have any questions?
Axelrod: You sure?
Axelrod: C’mon – think.
(Obama thinks. Then…)
Obama: What’s ‘apolo…’ mean?
Axelrod: Apoplectic. It means you’re very upset. Like, crazy upset.
Obama: I’m not upset at all.
Axelrod: I’m going to claim you are. Highly upset.
Obama: About what?
Axelrod: About the whole GSA scandal.
Obama: What scandal? Another scandal?
Axelrod: You know, the thing about them going to Vegas.
Obama: But I told Americans not to go to Vegas.
Axelrod: This is different. They went to Vegas for government work, but got a little too frisky. ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas?’ Not this time.
Obama: What do you mean, ‘what happens in Vegas?’
Axelrod: It’s an expression – a marketing idea.
Obama: I don’t understand.
Axelrod: — So people come to Vegas and get crazy and spend money on debauchery.
Axelrod: I see a question building.
Obama: What’s debauchery?
Axelrod: It means to get crazy with sex.
Obama: Why, what’d they do?
Axelrod: They partied and got laid, but on the government dime. Worse, they got caught.
Obama: Who knows about this?
Axelrod: Everybody. It’s a big scandal. Issa’s even talking about it. That’s why I gotta go on TV.
Obama: Damn. Does this mean I can’t play golf today?
Axelrod: I’d lay off for the week. Wait till the GSA thing blows over a bit.
Obama: What’s the GSA?
Axelrod: It’s the focus of the scandal – the General Services Administration!
Obama: Oh them. Yeah, I can see where I’d be apop… apop….
Obama: …What’s the General Services Administration do?
Axelrod: It’s an agency that buys everything for the government. And also manages a few things here and there.
Obama: So just to be sure, in case anybody asks me: I’m apopo…
Axelrod: — Apoplectic.
Obama: — I’m apopoplectric because…
Axelrod: — Because they partied in Vegas on government money.
Axelrod: The GSA!
Obama: So I’m mad the GSA partied in Vegas.
Obama: Why do you keep using that word!
Axelrod: It makes you sound more intelligent and more thoughtful about things.
Obama: Just make sure it’s written big on the teleprompter. I don’t want to go through another ‘corpseman’ thing.
Axelrod: What the hell’s a ‘corpseman?’
Obama: I don’t know! I thought it meant a guy in the military.
Axelrod: No, that’s a ‘corpsman.’
Obama: So there’ no ‘p’?
Axelrod: No, there’s a ‘p.’ But it’s silent.
Obama: Do me a favor: on the teleprompter, don’t use letters that are silent, okay? Just leave them out.
Axelrod: There are no silent letters in apoplectic, you don’t have to worry.
Obama: Are there any silent letters in ‘golf?’
Axelrod: No. Why?
Obama: (shrugs) Never know when it might come up.
(Axelrod heads for the door)
Axelrod: Okay. Tomorrow first thing, I’ll tell what’s going on with the Secret Service.
Obama: Not before eleven.
Axelrod: I wouldn’t think of it.
(Long pause. Axelrod stops, looks back at Obama)
Obama: Is something going on with the Secret Service?
Axelrod: (As he walks out the door) Tomorrow, 11AM… What I wouldn’t give right now to be the head writer on Saturday Night Live.