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Early drafts on Obama's 'terror' response

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By Mike Seate
Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009

In the wake of the attempted Christmas Day terrorist attack aboard a Detroit-bound trans-Atlantic flight, President Obama waited days before issuing a statement to the press.

That was more than enough time for political commentators to wonder what sort of cat had grasped Obama's tongue. Personally, I believe the prez was simply struggling to pen a sensitive, well-worded response to the crisis.

The following are what I imagine a few early drafts looked like:

Draft 1: "My fellow Americans, although attempted underwear-bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab hailed from Nigeria, do not think for a second that I'll cut him slack because my father was Kenyan. Nigerian and Kenyans hate each other with a passion generally experienced only between Red Sox and Yankees fans, only with more frequent parking lot brawls."

Draft 2: "Rest assured, my countrymen, that despite an underwear bomb finding its way though security that would shame a Las Vegas casino on payday, we will not live in a country where TSA operatives can render full-snap wedgies to every airline passenger's underpants before boarding international flights. Instead, we are considering issuing new, Department of Homeland Security-approved drawers to all fliers before check-in."

Draft 3: "Whoa, that Hawaiian egg nog is wicked stuff. I wasn't even awake when the attack happened, and it's taken three days of aspirin and steam baths just to remember who I am."

Draft 4: "Like many of you, when I heard of an explosion in the skies over Detroit, I had to check with my staff to make sure we hadn't approved some radical, urban-renewal plan for the Motor City. Heaven knows Detroit could use a few well-placed implosions."

Draft 5: "I've been working with global leaders from the transportation sector to ensure that something like this never, ever happens on my watch again. Already, panels are being formed in The Netherlands that will instruct airport security personnel on how to recognize things like, well, how to read "watch" lists; when to ask their boss for help because some weird, foreign guy just bought a one-way international ticket with cash; or how to stop nervous-looking types who show up at the last minute with no luggage."

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