October Surprise

Now we know just how far candidates will go -- and just how much Pimp Juice they'll drink -- for an endorsement

Having fun, Russ? "This is a side of the campaign you don't get to explore much," he offers. "It's, um, a good thing."

From the get-go, Carnahan delivers a stilted version of Presley's "Blue Suede Shoes." He completely misses the opening lyrics and spends the rest of the song trying to catch up to the beat. To spice up the act, he attempts to shake the rigor mortis from his limbs, but it's too little, too late. The music is all Elvis, but his lumbering dance moves are Bela Lugosi doing the "Monster Mash."

As the curtain falls on Carnahan's performance, Bill and Sue Federer continue to pore over song titles, looking for the perfect ditty to summarize his campaign. At last they settle on the Motown classic "My Girl." Bill wants to know if Sue can participate, and the moderator says there's nothing in the rules to preclude it. As Bill belts out the lyrics, theatrical Sue stands at his side pumping her fists up and down as though holding make-believe pom-poms. Before you know it, the couple is casting goofy bedroom eyes at each other. If the audience wasn't blushing during Farr's rendition of "Strokin'," they are now, as the Federers launch into a sort of Partridge-family foreplay.

"Strokin'": You're sorta new to this political thing, aren't 
ya, Leslie?
Jennifer Silverberg
"Strokin'": You're sorta new to this political thing, aren't ya, Leslie?
The Pimp Juice chug takes Russ back to his 
frat-house days.
Jennifer Silverberg
The Pimp Juice chug takes Russ back to his frat-house days.

To our panel of critics, Farr clearly wins the karaoke competition -- for sheer uninhibited lunacy. But in the head-to-head vocal competition between Carnahan and Federer, the returns pour in for Federer. After two rounds, Federer leads 2-0.

At this point Federer seems as happy as a little boy who found a puppy under the tree on Christmas morning. The moderator returns to the microphone. "All right," he announces, "time for round three. We're looking for a candidate thirsty for change, and what better way to demonstrate that desire than with a cool, refreshing can of Pimp Juice?"

Surely everyone knows that our town's rap superstar, Nelly, developed Pimp Juice as the world's premier energy drink. Just one eight-ounce can of Pimp Juice contains 100 percent of the body's daily requirement of the vitamins needed for optimal mental and physical performance. It's also fun to drink -- really, really fast.

"Can you believe this?" the moderator muses under his breath. "They're actually going through with it. My God, they're like trained seals." Why, just a few days ago, RFT editor Tom Finkel predicted that they'd probably all walk out en masse -- even, maybe, before the bowling. But no: They're following every command. Egged on by Leslie Farr, the candidates are all over the Pimp Juice challenge.

"Yeah, I had some of this stuff the other night!" says Farr, who's literally licking his chops when handed a can.

Head back, lips pursed, Farr drains the can in an impressive 7.91 seconds.

Next up is Carnahan, who transforms from mild-mannered Bruce Banner to the Incredible Hulk when presented with the stuff. He's halfway finished with the drink when he crushes the can in his hand, rocketing the juice down his throat. One doesn't acquire this trait in his first chugging contest. It is a learned technique, and it propels Carnahan to a remarkable time of 5.65 seconds.

With a wipe of his lips, he deadpans, "That took me back to college."

With juice dribbling down his chin, it takes Federer nearly nine seconds to finish off his Pimp Juice, and even then, the can is not entirely empty.

Carnahan wins the Pimp Juice event by a landslide. The score: Federer 2, Carnahan 1.

"As representatives of our city and state, we don't want our politicians looking like a bunch of hayseeds," the moderator makes clear. "For that reason, we've invited St. Louis' own veritable 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,' Darin 'D-Sly' Slyman, to weigh in on the candidates' fashion taste."

Dressed in a pinstripe charcoal suit accented with an orange hooded sweatshirt, D-Sly knows a thing or two about fashion. To aid him in his critique, we've borrowed a wardrobe of presidential ensembles from the Lord & Taylor at Shoppingtown West County and asked the candidates to mix-and-match the hippest outfit. But what D-Sly finds is alarming.

Besides Farr, whose fashion consciousness D-Sly claims to be as "seasoned and mature as a fine Italian Chianti," the candidates fail this portion of the forum. The bad notes begin with Farmer, whom D-Sly quizzed as she headed out the door. D-Sly encourages Farmer, an adherent to the red power suit, to let her hair down.

"You've got a great figure, you should show it off," he tells her.

Still, when presented with a dozen outfits, Farmer can't help herself and chooses the only red outfit in the bunch -- a red wool suit embroidered with a fur collar.

"Okay, good choice, but what if you were attending a campaign rally on a hot July day?" D-Sly asks.

Again, Farmer prefers the red wool suit. Frustrated by what he sees as wasted talent, D-Sly gives Farmer a score of six (out of ten) style points.

"I have a feeling she sees her wardrobe as a uniform," he speculates.

His harsher comments are reserved for Carnahan. Before the candidate gets the opportunity to pick an outfit, D-Sly berates him for tucking in his Cardinals jersey.

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