Gail Simmons called it: the big pink elephant on the red (actually, orange) carpet of last night’s New York Wine & Food Festival Roast of Anthony Bourdain was the fact that it coincided perfectly with the vice-presidential debates. One was a face-off between an old dude and a hot guy and the other was a face-off between an old dude and many hot people. We overheard Rachael Ray, who was among the hot roasters (flawless cleavage, by the way!), confirm that she was Tivoing the debates at home to watch after she had finished ripping Tony a new one, which basically sounds like the perfect night, when you consider how many bowls of red wine she was about to consume.
So, we had to ask some of our favorite food personalities as they came down the red carpet: who did they think was going to have better zingers? The roasters or the Vice Presidential candidates? Here’s how a few of our fellow Americans (and one Canadian; notice how we let
Eric Ripert off the hook for this question) thought the roast would stack up against the Vice Presidential debates:
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Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
Who?: Senator David Vitter of Louisiana has been in office since 2005 and was a Congressman since 1999.
Why He Could Run: Sen. Vitter is a vocal supporter of offshore drilling (as well as drilling in ANWR) and could probably do quite well on the fundraising front. And a Senator who can remain in office after several suspected sex scandals can survive anything.
Why We Want Him To Run: The prostitutes. His unsuccessful challenger in the last election cycle, Rep. Charlie Melancon, actually produced a series of ads solely about the scandal. The only ads that didn't talk about his prostitution scandal highlighted one of his staffers, namely the one with the history of domestic abuse. And somehow, magically, mysteriously, Sen. Vitter is . We'd like to see if he could take the record all the way to the White House, since it obviously isn't enough to keep him out of Congress. still in office
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)
Who?: Rep. Darrell Issa is a California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He has been a Congressman since 2001.
Why He Could Run: Rep. Issa gained significant popularity in the Republican Party after naming the Obama administration " one of the most corrupt" and scaring Democrats so much that Bill Maher asked if he was open to impeaching President Obama.
Why We Want Him To Run: The best place to start is his Twitter avatar and alter ego, Terry Transparency. This is a man who takes his job seriously. And Rep. Issa is a colorful character to boot-- as the voice of Viper car alarms, he has taken heat from groups like Noise Free America for encouraging people to buy products that make noise, including the noise of his own voice. Ironically, while Issa used to dedicate his career to helping keep cars safe from thieves, he has been prosecuted for faking car thefts.
Glenn Beck (???-CT)
Who?: Fox News host and radio staple Glenn Beck has cultivated a loyal-to-the-point-of-rabid following for predicting various doomsday scenarios and crafting what is perhaps the single most captivating product in cable news.
Why He Could Run:: from the mammoth Roger Ailes profile in New York: "Beck then turned to the upcoming election. 'Someone asked me today, ‘Are we going to get a real politician, someone who is not manufactured?’ 'You!' came a cry from the darkened theater." He has a critical mass of support.
Why We Want Him To Run: Two years on Fox News and many more on talk radio produce at least 40 clips worthy of their own attack ad-- from "Barack Obama has a deep-seeded hatred of White People" to five minutes of vomiting over Meghan McCain, the potential field day for campaign strategists would be worth it alone. And who wouldn't want to watch Beck debate Mitt Romney?
Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ)
Who?: This current governor of Arizona rose to national prominence after signing a bill that permitted police officials with reasonable suspicion that a suspect already under investigation was illegal to ask for their papers.
Why She Could Run: While not exactly the most popular governor currently in the running, Brewer eroded some of the ill will from moderates and Democrats by vetoing an Arizonan "birther" bill that would have required candidates to show "baptismal or circumcision certificates" to run. Being from the Southwest, her only right-wing opposition on home turf would be Gov. Gary Johnson, who appeals to an entirely different set of Republicans.
Why We Want Her To Run: Brewer has a rough edge missing from some of the other Republican women-- when she tells President Obama to " do your job," she means it. She's also prone to extravagant generalizations that put the media in soundbite Heaven, and watching her debate is always a treat.
Christine O'Donnell (R-DE)
Who?: Christine O'Donnell was a 2010 candidate for Senate in Delaware, losing to current Democratic Sen. Chris Coons.
Why She Could Run: Professional politicians aren't doing too well in the primaries, and her loss to Sen. Coons guaranteed she would remain outside of public office. She's also got mass appeal among the sort of voter that would go for a Rep. Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin, with religious conservative appeal in overdrive.
Why We Want Her To Run: The treasure trove of embarrassing Bill Maher appearances. Abstinence as a campaign issue. " I'm not a witch; I'm you." Don't act like you don't miss her.
Carl Paladino (R- NY)
Who?: Carl Paladino ran for governor of New York against current Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo last November. Much like South Carolina's Alvin Greene, it is still a mystery how he obtained the nomination of a major party.
Why He Could Run: Why not, right?
Why We Want him To Run: Paladino is the sort of media darling that only emerges once in a lifetime. In almost every way, he is like a less politically correct Donald Trump, with no money and a gay club in his building. His slogan was, actually, "I'm Mad Too, Carl," and he swung around a baseball bat when he lost the election. The violence didn't end with competitors, either, as the New York Post found out the hard way. Oh, and he has the trendiest political accessory of 2011: a lovechild.
Michael Steele (R-MD)
Who?: Michael Steele is the former chairman of the Republican National Committee. After losing to current RNC chairman Reince Priebus, Steele recently became an analyst on MSNBC.
Why He Could Run: Steele has the experience of running the RNC from 2008-2010 and making it rise from the ashes of the devastating 2008 Presidential election to crushing the Democrats in 2010. He is willing to debate anyone, anywhere-- something many current contenders can't say. And say what you will about Michael Steele, he has charisma.
Why We Want him To Run: He rhymes things constantly. He takes photos like the one above. He says things like " I'm the cow on the tracks" and adds "baby" to the end of every sentence. During his tenure, the RNC spent $2,000 at a "lesbian bondage-themed night club." And anything that gives Jon Stewart an excuse to bring out Puppet Michael Steele gets our support.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Who?: Sen. Lindsey Graham has served in the Senate since 2003 and served on four committees there, as well as being a member of the Gang of 14 and working during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.
Why He Could Run: Sen. Graham has the one thing lacking in the current 2012 GOP field: Southern appeal. As a good friend of Sen. John McCain and Joe Lieberman, he also has a military record and an impressive legislative one. He would be taken far more seriously than the majority of the current field.
Why We Want him To Run: Sen. Lindsey Graham may have the biggest problem with the Constitution of anyone in public office today. Along with saying "freedom of speech is a great idea, but..." in public, Sen. Graham has questioned the 14th Amendment's birthright citizenship guarantees. Two our of 27 ain't bad, but they're also considered by most the two most important amendments added to the Constitution. Sen. Graham is also a bachelor, which guarantees constant gay rumors, which guarantees constant delightful soundbites from the Senator.
Gov. Eddie Calvo (R-Guam)
Who?: Gov. Eddie Calvo oversees the government of Guam, which is why you've never heard of him. He won election in 2010 with 50.6% of the vote.
Why He Could Run: Calvo is about as ethnically diverse a political candidate as they come, and won as a Republican (barely) in a fairly blue territory. As a former Pepsi executive, he has the small business experience that is all so popular in this economy. And he has his own version of the Black Eyed Peas "I've Gotta Feelin'" as background music on his official website, so he has his finger on the pulse of youth culture.
Why We Want him To Run: With the birther controversy finally dead for good, what are World Net Daily's Joseph Farah and Orly Taitz, DDS, Esq., going to do with all their free time? A run by Calvo would be an easy way to redirect all that pent-up frustration at a candidate who, frankly, is a more likely target for such suspicions than one born in Hawaii. For the record, we had to look up whether Guam residents were eligible for the presidency, and while few, if any, have given it a shot, it is perfectly legal for Calvo to run.