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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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"Shoot First, Ask Questions Later" - August 22

Jim was left in Allentown after the firm liberal alliance voted to keep Malia in the race (with a little help from swing vote Joyce), leaving Park as the only conservative in the running. Keith got some needed campaign help for the second week in a row, but will it be enough as the race for the faux White House heads to Charlottesville, Virginia?

Keith and Richard begin today's ride down I-95 by arguing that the Constitution (most specifically, the Second Amendment) was designed to protect America from itself. Keith, being on the opposite end of the spectrum as Richard, asks him if the right to bear arms gives him the right to own nukes and stinger missiles. Richard says that it was important to understand the intent of the founding fathers, to which Keith rebuts, "The intent of our founding fathers was that I be a slave!"

Montel steps in before he has to call out his security folks from out of hiding on his other show: "You'd be better off saving those debating skills for our next challenge." Today, that would be a town meeting, where we'll get questions answered at UVA. Montel offers the aid of Republican strategist Rich Bond to whoever polls highest on the exit poll this week. "People want to like you, so don't underestimate the like factor. Little sharps elbows would be appreciated, create some political space, and after you divide the audience, reunite them."

Time for talking, as the candidates get grilled by the audience, Montel, and professor Larry J. Sabato. First question is a biggie on the death penalty: Should we kill Osama bin Laden? Malia notes that an eye for an eye makes the world blind. Richard likens bin Laden to Hitler, supporting capital punishment. Keith thinks that America should stand for the rule of law. Richard goes after him and says that capital punishment is biblical and allowable in extreme cases. Biblical, you say. Show me. Bruce's rebuttal: "I think many Jews and all Roman Catholics would contest the idea that it's biblically sound to say that killing is an appropriate response to killing."

From there, we go to same-sex marriage. Enter Park with this denial and Lisa with her acceptance and Joyce's laissez-faire-ness. Best line comes from Richard: "I still don't know why in the heck I had to ask permission from government to get married." This coming from a man coming from a place where it's okay to have several wives.

On gun control: Keith thinks that the NRA should be left out of lobbying for looser laws, while Richard thinks that dictators had stringent gun control, citing Dred Scott. Malia, on the other hand, brings out her big gun, a friend who is lying in a hospital now because he wore a Yankees hat to a Sox game. Big mistake, I know, but warranting a gun shot?

Finally: affirmative action. Park is not sure that we should have a "color-blind" society. He thinks that there should be a "sunset" to the idea, as does Richard, who says that the answer to discrimination is not more discrimination. Keith, on the other hand, thinks that we should finish what we started.

And with that, we finish what we started, as Lisa notes that the alliance had a strong showing. Too bad we can't say the same for Richard. Bringing us to today's wireless poll: Do you support's Richard's stance on gun control? Answers later in the broadcast.

And now, the evals: Rich thinks Malia needs more facts to supplement her emotions. Lisa plays off everyone well. Richard may have lost ground with the polygamy argument and the gun issue. Keith also benefited on the affirmative action topic... So much so that he gets another exit-poll win and the exclusive use of Mr. Bond for the rest of the time in VA. Richard is scratching his head, while Keith has some loyalty issues. Mr. Bond worked with Bush in '88, while Keith worked with Dukakis.

Now we go to public vote. Unlike last week, there are paper ballots. Simple premise: circle the name of the person you like most. There are two placed to do that, one at a local pedestrian mall, and one at the UVA campus. The highest poll-getter in six hours is the new frontrunner. The two lowest poll-getters will debate, and one of them will drop out of the race. "The polls are now open. Get out the vote."

Bruce thinks he has this one locked. "PETA and all my friends are a few hours from here. I don't know if it's an unfair advantage, but it is an advantage."

Lisa thinks she isn't ready, while Keith and Team Boykin, now equipped with Rich Bond, get ready. "Time is our enemy, and for the next hour and a half, information is your friend." They hit the mall for the outdoor restaurants. Lisa, Malia, and Park follow suit, with Park seeing the battle as an uphill climb. "We're in a college town, which is not the friendliest place for my conservative views."

Bruce recruits his own coalition of the willing as they start spreading the news. On the other hand, Park is an army of one. And in a college town like Charlottesville, birthplace of the Dave Matthews Band... rightly so. Lisa's also an army of one, but her opinions gel with the populace. Richard finds someone he hope he wouldn't find... someone who agrees with the war in Iraq.

Keith thinks it's time to have new leadership in America. "Diversity of our country is our greatest trend." Keith's view on Iraq is more sellable, even to Rich, who is pulling ideological differences aside to help out, because "a deal's a deal".

During the day, the candidates bump into each other more than once. Bruce heads back to the war room while his PETA minions (C-Note: because everyone should have a small army of minions) do the dirty work. To Keith, a bit TOO dirty, as one of Bruce's takes no regard to the gentleman's rule of not encroaching on other people's territory. Hey, we said they were willing. We didn't say they weren't annoying. I mean, "Don't vote for Lisa, vote for Bruce?" Whatever happened to... aww, forget it, Chico.

Well, whatever it is I was searching for, Lisa was searching for it as well, as she phones up Bruce to tell him, basically, you need to call off your dogs... and stop your (^_^). "One or two times, it happens, but if it continues, that's exactly what people don't like about politics." Once again, Lisa manages to hit it squaw between the eyes.

And if Bruce wasn't bad enough, Lisa manages to walk one of her voters right behind Malia... who really knows how to chat up a guy. Lisa calls bull on that, and folks, this is why they have the signs that say "No campaigning beyond this point." RJ Cutler... Smart man. Should've thought of that, though.

Team Boykin says that too many cooks are spoiling the broth at Central, so they head back to UVA with five hours left. While Richard dialogues on Cuba (his argument: I speak Spanish. I speak Spanish too, but you don't see me playing that as a card). Park thinks that when James and him showed up in Charlottesville, they doubled the membership of the Republican Party. Only one problem... See if you can figure it out before Park does. Meanwhile, he heads over to his brother's friend's place to drum up support there. So now Park has his little army of minions in God... or at least in conservatism.

Four hours left, and Joyce is, once again, scrambling to veterans' hospitals and rest homes and such. She lost an hour at her meeting at a free clinic, which may help or hurt her, but it's her choice. VERY hard not to admire Joyce.

Team Boykin returns to UVA... and a welcome crowd. Park also has a welcome crowd... behind him... heading for the University and sending Keith into dire-straits mode. Well, they say that politics makes for strange bedfellows, and it doesn't get any stranger than this, as Park and Keith play the whole crossfire campaigning game.

And if those two weren't enough, Malia is now headed to the University to grab a tour group. Keith spots the same group, and all of a sudden, it's a race! An amazing race! Well, not THAT amazing, but interesting. Keith gets to the group first, with Malia's entourage of two following. And this is where the progressive coalition starts to fall flat.

One hour left, and Joyce... is not running for nothing. She runs into a whole mess of people - who had already voted. So close. And we see a sign saying "dead end"... You know what we say to that sort of thing... SYM-bolism.

Twelve minutes to go, and it's a countdown to the bitter end... And speaking of which, it's now 4pm. Polling ends. Bruce: "Thanks, officer!" Bruce will be very surprised if he didn't come in first. Meanwhile Rich notes that Keith must now concentrate on the toughest competition. If he can do that, then he will gain power over the public domain, something that, as a Republican, Rich will regret. "I am proud to have him as a friend. This is a diverse country, and we need people like him in Congress or in the Senate, OR someday as President."

Happy hour time, which means it's also time for the dreaded results. Dreaded especially for Park: "I'm expecting a debate tomorrow. And then you guys will see the last of me." Will we? We hear the results of the tighest fight yet...

2nd - Keith (23%)
3rd - Bruce (20%) - Surprised?!
4th - Malia (10%)
5th - Park (8%) - "Holy Moses! By the hair of my chinny-chin-chin, we made it out of Virginia."

That leaves Joyce, Lisa, and Richard, two of which will debate tomorrow. It won't be Lisa, who scores 25 percent. She's the new frontrunner, while Joyce (6%) and Richard (7%) must now play politics, hardcore. Hard decisions all round, as Richard and Joyce both share the same libertarian views. In fact, the only striking difference between the two... well, is pretty obvious if you think about it.

Before we debate, though, here are the results of the wireless poll: 64 percent of you disagree with Richard on gun control.

We're an hour from debate. Joyce is determined to hold on. Richard's message: "The principles of freedom that this country was founded upon have to be preserved today or else we'll kill America. If this is my last day to be here, then I'm going to give that message today."

Time to debate. From a strategic view, Richard would be a better keep if only to draw Park into elimination. Richard says that Joyce gets too much into conspiracy theories. Well, it's not conspiracy theory if she brought documented evidence, now is it? Think you just might've bought it, dude, especially with the lack of background checks and waiting periods on guns on his agenda. Other than that, it's pretty much a copycat debate until Joyce tells Richard that he's "rigid". His rebuttal: "I'm going to fight for your beliefs, even though I disagree." Thank you, Voltaire. Let's go to vote.

Lisa: "I think Richard's positions are so far from where I'm at, so I'm going to have to vote for JOYCE."
Keith: "In the end, the death penalty's a big issue for me, so I'm going to vote for JOYCE."
Park: "I saw more consistency for JOYCE's position."

That's three. That's enough. Just so you know, it was a five-and-out decision. Richard, time to hit the road. "At the end of the day, I looked Keith in the eye and said 'I'll fight and die for your rights.' Funny, isn't it? He still voted against me." So Richard's gone, but don't think that Park is out of the woods yet.

Next time, the candidates take a bite out of the Big Apple... and the Apple bites back. Hopefully, I'll get into the mind of the average New York voter with the closest thing we have... a New Yorker from Jersey.

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