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It's anything but politics as usual as ten people from all walks of life compete for a $200,000 purse and some prime TV space to air their grievances.

And you get to decide who.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN

Montel Williams
Creator: RJ Cutler
EP: RJ Cutler, Tom Lassally, Jay Roach
Packager: Actual Reality Pictures, Kustom
Airs: Sundays at 9:00pm ET on Showtime

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Web design by Jason Elliott. Logo by Chico Alexander. 

"Exit Wounds" - August 8

Last time, the candidates were off and running - literally - to New Hampshire, where they settled into their new digs to try to compete for HALF a President's annual take (thanks to Dave for pointing that out). Who was rubbed off the ballot? Chrissy. When was it over for her? When staunch conservative Park won the challenge, the title of that week's frontrunner, and, as a result, the right to vote in the case of a tie. He ended up playing the "reproductive rights" card, which Chrissy couldn't counter.

Now the real test begins, back in Keene, NH. Keith tries to rally together Lisa, Malia, and Bruce for that time-honored reality competition staple... the alliance. Basically, he's playing two-party politics, as was painted out by Malia in the last episode. Bruce brings up an interesting point, in that conservatives are strategizing as well.

The leader of said camp, Park, is probably the only one that's calm, cool, and collected. "I feel like Bill. I'm back, baby. I am bulletproof." Uhh... just something wrong with that.

Back at campaign headquarters, Montel informs the candidates of their next campaign test. But first, Joe Trippi, political consultant gives the players some advice. "Differences on your issues are what's going to matter here. Don't hold back. If you believe it, say it. Even if the American people don't agree with you, they'll respect you for having the courage to do it and say it."

Now, the first challenge. Give a speech on the war on terror in front of hundreds of voters. An exit poll will be conducted at the end of the rally, and whoever has the higher total of the poll will be given exclusive access to Joe Trippi for the rest of the campaign.

Oh, and did we mention that you only have two hours to write the speech?

Right now, everyone is being put against the wall, especially Joyce, who is bent on telling everyone about her research on Gulf War Illness. Park believes that we are winning the war. Malia, of course, doesn't. "The reason why the war on terror isn't working is because... it's this faceless, countryless, personless war. It's basically like shooting in the dark at anything that moves."  Bruce cites desperation on the side of the terrorists. Jim wants to change gears and focus on the OPEC cartel. Richard has two words on why the war on terror failed... "I... Raq. That's supposed to be kinda funny." *blinks* It is?

One hour to go, and Keith's mulling the American dream. He wants to be memorable in what he says and how he says it. He's going for "rhyme lines". Example: "Distraction means subtraction."

Thirty minutes, and Bob wants to make sure his speech is powerful, impactful, passionate, and real. So he goes for form and style to hit the little guy. Not so, Pete (Bob's CM) says. "My feeling, my position is... What's the question exactly again?" Bob's doomed.

The bus heads over to the rally. Once again, "Here are you American candidates! Nitro! Gold! Laser!..." No, wait, that can't be right. We meet Bob, Jim, Richard, Lisa, Bruce, and Park once more time. Where's Keith, Malia, and Joyce? They're around. Trust me. Malia's hyped, for one.

Mayor Michael Blastos leads off the party with Malia, who does not believe we're winning a war on terror because we're not fighting a war on terror. Instead, she says we're winning a war on civil liberties. Very anti-Savage of her. Park is next, saying that if we don't face terrorists in Kabul and Baghdad, then we'll have to face them in Keene and Boston. Very good use of the alliteration, that man. Jim wants to have sister schools featuring US schools in the Muslim world. Richard says that this is not about terror, but it's about corporate greed. Bruce seems to have the most powerful words to date here: "If you want Christian solutions to conflict, human solutions to conflict, if you want to stop pouring gasoline on the fire that is global terrorism, then I am your candidate!" Lisa just wants the troops home and the Patriot Act repealed. Joyce says that there's nothing wrong with questioning authority, saying she's more afraid of being a detainee than of the Taliban. Bob one-ups Bruce here: "I believe we are winning the war on terror... in America, but I think it's coming at a tremendous cost to this country." Too bad it all falls apart from there. People are seriously not picking up what he's putting down.

Let's see if Keith can do any better. Wouldn't take much, though. He says that the White House was actually finding weapons of mass distraction in Iraq, saying that dollars spent there aren't being spent on health insurance and finding Osama bin Laden. I think he's won them over. And so he has.

So people are talking with the Keenites, a very liberal bunch. Park says that he's told that he'll get votes, but he'll get nowhere in Keene.  "Pray for us and sacrifice a chicken for us." At this moment, I'd like to say that I do not support the needless sacrifice of animals for fashion, science, or religion.

At the War Room, the candidates are congratulated on such a large turnout. Joe gives Lisa and Keith high marks. Now the exit poll result... With 49% of the vote, the winner is... Keith. But that's to be expected. Now the fun part begins. Each candidate has been given a toll-free number. the next challenge: get out and convince people to call that number. Highest total becomes the new frontrunner, while the lowest two must debate.

And to help you, two things: a) a house party where you can woo voters or campaign volunteers, and b) a package from that will also be of some... help... somehow. In six hours, we tabulate. Time to hit the streets.

Keith is loving the fact that he is working with someone who helped Howard Dean in his bid for the White House... even up to the whole "work until you drop" spiel. The bar is set particularly high, seeing as Keith is both African-American AND gay. Joe tells him to hit the house party first.

Joyce, on the other hand, has no idea where to start. Begin at the beginning, I always say, as we rip open our packs to see office supplies. Because you can't get them anywhere other than in Keene for some reason. Lisa's strategy: mobilize her e-mail contacts.

Five and a half hours left, and Bob needs to figure out how to get to the house party. Keith, Joyce, and Jim are already there. Jim sees Keith in action and looks like he's about to pass a stone. Bob finally makes it to the house party, just as a voter asks if a draft if inevitable. Bob personally thinks not. Jim seizes the opportunity to promote national service, military and otherwise. Good gambit on his part... Will it work? Probably not, as even Keith doesn't offer a yes/no answer, only that he's 100% opposed to it.

Five hours later, and Lisa's e-mailing the heck out of the computer. "Mass e-mailing is the future." As a person who gets spam on a regular basis, I can say that mass e-mailing is also annoying. Bruce thinks of the same idea, but also uses the phone. Meanwhile at the party, Bob tries to save his dismal speech with an even more dismal platform assessment. Cell phone calls from your mother... also don't help. Bob tries to play up the "disenfranchised constituents" card, but it can only get him so far. Then the cell rings again. And Bob makes the fool mistake of answering it.

Speaking of cell phones, "What's up with people in Keene having dope cell phones?" Malia asks of voters who have cast theirs for Malia on the spot.

Four hours left, and Joyce hits up the supply store to get some flyers out. Will color help? Park heads up to the church to spread his gospel truth. Luckily, he IS able to get inside to have a word. They get some word on other churches in the area. Lisa, on the other hand, gets out on the street after jocking in the computer area. Malia also jocks the streets. Jim gets hammered on AIDS. Keith sells himself, and people in Keene are buying.

Two hours left, and Joyce races back to the store to pick up the rest of her flyers. "There's more pressure on to get the votes than to get your message out." She hits up a Marine house. Ooh-RAH!

One hour left, and Bob's taking up a baseball game. He pimps himself at the end of the game. He honestly thinks he has the most supporters. I dunno, boss... Wait, a busy signal. I've seen so many episodes of Idol to know how this works... and it's not how this works. All this time, Bob has been giving out the WRONG NUMBER. Even his CM thinks that his leadership skills need work.

Four minutes left, and Keith doesn't have his rap down. The line is "I don't need your luck, I need your vote." "Discipline is discipline," Joe says. "That wasn't our A game." We'll see what game it is in a moment because the polls are now CLOSED. Here are the standings...

Bruce - 25%, second
Keith - 10%, third
Richard - 8%, fourth
Park - 6%, fifth
Malia - 5%, sixth
James - 4%, seventh

Three people left, Bob, Lisa, and Joyce. Facing elimination...

Joyce - 3%, eighth
Bob - 2%, ninth, or last.

Lisa, with 38%, is the new frontrunner. Lisa would've rather taken third or second, because now the others think that she has this machine behind her. And she does. "The people".

So next time, Joyce's veterans will have to face off against Bob's... well, Bob. He's trying so hard to be Mr. America that he's actually getting on everyone's nerves. Lisa puts it succinctly (warning: this is Showtime, and you can actually get away with swearing): "Americans are so turned off on generalities because everyone says the same bulls(^_^). You're like a woodpecker on someone's shoulders that just won't go away."

But in the end, it seems like the "I'm not a politician" deal may go through. Next up, the debate, as Joyce believes that she doesn't have a voice for those who don't believe in her." Bob just wants to have fun. We'll see what fun topic Montel has for us. "Why you should be in this race?" That's fun, right? Both Joyce and Bob come into this in a virtual deadlock. Joyce says she should remain in the race because she's the only candidate that should return to a true constitutional government. "[Our out of control government] needs to be challenged, and I believe I can do that," she says. Bob says that he's just not a politicians. "We learn from our mistakes" is his only defense... and a proposal for peace and economic growth... that Montel calls him on. But does Bob follow up on his statement? Sorta, to separate Israel and Palestine while holding Jerusalem in an independent state. Joyce goes into her Gulf War illness bouts. Bob says that Joyce doesn't have the strength or the stamina. Joyce says that Bob is very bright, but responds emotionally too much. Time to vote for who will stay in the race.

Lisa: "I think that JOYCE brings diversity."
Jim: "Bob, I'm disappointed in the way you chose to characterize JOYCE."
Malia: JOYCE - "In the end of the day, Bob, you were just too condescending for me."
Keith: "JOYCE, we may not agree on much, but at least I know I can trust you."

That's four. That's enough. The other votes:

Bruce: JOYCE
Richard: JOYCE

A 7-0 sweep. Sorry for you, Bob... But that's politics. He's his own worst enemy. *looks at Bob* Yep. Next time, the American Candidate train crosses the River of Dreams into Allentown, where a press conference separates the Uptown Girls from the Piano Men. No, that doesn't make any sense, either, but hey, it's My Life.

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