Clinton Takes Leave of Office to Stand in Line for Star Wars: Episide I

By "The Onion" --

WASHINGTON, DC -- Citing "America's unprecedented prosperity and
stability" and "this one part where this ship is underwater and this
sea-monster thing tries to eat it," Bill Clinton became the first U.S.
president to take a leave of absence Tuesday, temporarily stepping down
to wait in line for the May 19 opening of Star Wars:  Episode I -- The
Phantom Menace.

"My fellow Americans, like so many of you, I am extremely eager to see
the next chapter in the greatest movie series in the history of
mankind," Clinton, sporting a limited-edition IG-88 tie clip, said
during a White House press conference.  "And, as president of the nation
that has produced these movies, I am fully committed to being at that
very first showing, even if it means missing almost four weeks of work."

Added Clinton:  "There are these droids in Phantom Menace that look like
giant orbs, but then they unfold like Transformers and fight.  And Darth
Maul has this light saber that's double-bladed.  It's going to be so

Clinton began waiting in line with "Joe," a friend who owns The Sarlacc
Pit, a comic-book store in downtown D.C.

"Joe is the only person who can beat me at Star Wars Trivial Pursuit.
He knows the English lyrics to 'Lapti Nek.'  He was also the one who
told me that Uncle Owen is really Obi-Wan's brother, which came as quite
a surprise, because, like most people, I had always assumed that Owen
was Anakin's brother.  I did, however, inform Joe that Bruce Boa, the
actor who played General Rieekan, also played the guy on Fawlty Towers
who wanted the Waldorf salad.  Joe did not know that."

Clinton arrived at the theater at 11:38 a.m. Tuesday, becoming the 17th
person in line.  But by 2 p.m., he had maneuvered his way to sixth by
winning a series of Star Wars Collectible Card Game tournaments and
trivia challenges.

"This one guy tried to beat me by asking Hammerhead's real name.  Can
you believe it?  As if I'd never read Tales From The Mos Eisley Cantina,
even if I wasn't into the role-playing game.  I knew he was a rube when
he asked that, so I went in for the kill by asking him the name of the
Rodian in the Star Wars Holiday Special."

"Of course," Clinton continued, "Hammerhead is Momaw Nadon, and the
Rodian was Ludlo."  The president then excused himself to join a group
sing-along of "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Yoda."

Despite being confined to one spot for the next month, Clinton said he
expects to have plenty of activities to pass the time.  "Joe and I are
trying to organize a thing where we divide up parts and re-enact all the
movies, except we both want to be Han.  I think I should get to be Han
because I am the leader of the free world, but if that becomes a
deal-breaker, I would likely be willing to compromise."

Presidential aides have also been instructed to supply Clinton with
magazine articles concerning Episode I as they become available, as well
as deliver, immediately upon publication, the final installment of the
four-issue Dark Horse Comics miniseries Boba Fett:  Enemy Of The Empire.

"Issue three ended just as Fett and Vader were about to start fighting,"
Clinton said.  "They both want this alien head in a box that can tell
the future, and the moment Fett finally gets it, Vader appears.
Obviously, it's not going to be a fight to the death, because the whole
story takes place prior to the trilogy, but it's still sure to be a
great fight."

Clinton said he hopes to see Phantom Menace at least 20 times between
May 19 and May 23, then return to office on the 24th, when he will scale
back to once-a-day screenings.  The president also noted that during his
extended absence from the White House, he will be available in the event
of an emergency.

"Should a major crisis arise, whether
regarding the situation in Kosovo or anywhere else, I can be reached at
my place in line by cell phone," Clinton said.  "But I have urged my
advisors only to contact me if absolutely necessary.  I would also urge
Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic to follow the example of the Jedi
Knights and use his powers only for knowledge and defense, never for

Added Clinton:  "Wars not make one great."

Clinton, a die-hard Star Wars fan ever since the 1977 release of the
original, has rarely disrupted his official duties for Star Wars-related
activities.  Notable exceptions include a May 1983 hiatus from the
Arkansas governorship to see Return Of The Jedi on its opening day and a
1995 trip to an Arlington, VA, Star Wars convention to obtain the
autographs of actors Anthony Daniels, Jeremy Bulloch and Femi Taylor, as
well as Jedi Academy trilogy author Kevin J. Anderson.

Clinton is also believed to have the largest collection of Star Wars
merchandise in the entire executive branch.

"I have the Death Star Space Station minus one of the cardboard inserts
and a piece of the bridge.  The spring-loaded part that makes the gun
pop up doesn't work very well, but it's still awesome," Clinton told
Larry King in a 1997 interview.  "I also have almost every action
figure, except a few rare ones like Blue Snaggletooth and Yak Face."

Clinton went on to tell King that the infamous "missile-firing Boba
Fett" action figure, rumored to have been produced in small quantities
by Kenner, never actually reached the consumer, and that the only such
Fetts available are ones made by collectors.

Despite the popularity of Clinton's hiatus within the nation's
science-fiction/fantasy community, Republican leaders have roundly
denounced the move.

"Clinton was given the trust of a nation and, once again, he has abused
that trust, abandoning his post during a time of war.  There are more
important things for him to be worrying about at this juncture than such
trivial concerns," Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) said.  "Besides, I hate
that stupid Jar-Jar.  He totally sounds like Elmo."

Specter then sneered in a high-pitched voice, "Oooh, people gonna die?"

Clinton responded swiftly to Specter's criticisms.

"I would urge all Americans to withhold judgment on the Jar-Jar issue
until they have seen the film.  After all, Yoda talked like Grover, and
he is one of the great characters in the Star Wars pantheon," Clinton
said.  "As long as Phantom Menace doesn't have those stupid teddy bears
in it, I don't care."

"I've been waiting 16 years for this movie, and now it's almost here,"
Clinton said.  "I can't believe it.  I'm so excited, I feel like I could
make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs."

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