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Wednesday, 06 February 2008 00:00

This rodent won’t make it to the White House

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PUNXSUTAWNEY, Penn. — A year from the day he announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president, Punxsutawney Phil, the most famous groundhog in the land, has dropped out of the race for the highest office in the land.

Emerging this past Saturday morning at 7:05 a.m. Eastern Standard Time from his oak stump burrow atop Gobbler’s Knob, Punxsutawney smiled his trademark toothy grin, waved his stumpy little tail to a crowd of tearful yet enthusiastic supporters and declared warmer and sunnier times ahead for all Americans; however, the shadow cast by his opponents is too great to overcome and he is suspending his campaign.

Rhoda Dent, campaign manager for Punxsutawney, read from a prepared statement as the former candidate ate an apple and scratched his rear end on the rough exterior of his winter den.

“This is a great country and we have had the pleasure to scamper across its vast landscape meeting people and eating in the gardens of hard-working Americans from Iowa to New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Punxsutawney Phil will continue to be your voice for hope and conservative change. If he could talk, Punxsutawney would tell us to never be afraid of our shadow, never give up hope, believe in America, believe in big gardens without fences and drive slow as the life you save could be his.”

It has been reported for months that Punxsutawney’s campaign has been struggling with fund raising, getting his message across to the conservative voter, and a strong musky odor. Political analyst Bully Schnitzer writes in his conservative blog that it’s as if Punxsutawney’s campaign was totally underground.

“Here is a popular candidate that appeals to the hairy, smelly, crawling in the dirt wing of the Republican Party and yet his message really never got heard. He falls in the same camp with Ron Paul, a visionary with little to no media and mainstream appeal. And look at those jowls; hell, he beats McCain hands down. ”

After a lethargic start in frigid Iowa and a lackluster finish in New Hampshire, Punxsutawney started to warm up to voters in South Carolina until an unfortunate exchange with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at the Myrtle Beach Republican debate cast a dark shadow across Punxsutawney’s political future.

Punxsutawney’s campaign blames Romney’s negative ads in South Carolina that portrayed the furry little candidate as an inexperienced, tax-raising, weak-on-defense little broccoli eater, which led to the now famous finger-biting incident.

“I never saw anything like it in all my years,” reported Brit Hume from FOX News who moderated the event. “Gov. Romney was pointing his finger right in the face of Punxsutawney, accusing him of having no plan for health care, and the little guy just chomped down with those big incisors right on Gov. Romney’s finger. I tell you what, the blood flowed like tears down Hillary’s cheeks. Talk about health insurance, I hope Romney has some.”

Ms. Dent, speaking for the candidate, issued an apology to the American people for having to witness the event, but stated that the slick-talking weasel, referring to Romney, deserved what he got. Sen. John McCain withheld comment on the incident as it has been reported that talk within his campaign places Punxsutawney on the list of possible cabinet members if McCain is the party’s nominee and next president.

Trying to steal the media attention away from the Republicans and the finger-biting incident, Punxsutawney became a target of the Democrats when former President Clinton, campaigning for his wife in Greenville, S.C., brought up the race issue calling Punxsutawney a, “friggin’ little rodent,” and stating “this country is not ready to have a president with dark fur who lives underground four months of the year.”

The Clinton campaign has since issued a retraction and has stated that this campaign is about bringing a positive change to American. It’s not about the color of one’s fur, their gender, whether they walk on two legs or four, or the stupid things their spouses say. The former president is currently campaigning in Minot, North Dakota, for the upcoming Frozen Friday caucuses of northern states.

Since his withdrawal from the race, Punxsutawney has gone underground and has not been seen since Saturday. Rumors have surfaced that he was seen attending a University of North Carolina basketball game with former Democrat hopeful John Edwards. This has political pundits speculating on a possible Edwards/Punxsutaw-ney third party ticket.

Asked if Punxsutawney has given his endorsement to any of the other Republican candidates, campaign spokesperson Dent replied, “No, but he did endorse six more weeks of winter before returning to his burrow.”

(David Curtis teaches middle school in Haywood County and is a former chairman of the local Punxsutawney 2008 campaign. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

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