The Oval Office. Vice President Joseph Biden and Senior Presidential Adviser David Plouffe enter quietly. President Obama, on the telephone, waves them over to the couch.
Obama [speaking into the telephone]: “No, your majesty, I really didn’t know that I wasn’t supposed to toast you while the band was playing ‘God Save the Queen’. No, I assure you I wasn’t ‘having my little joke’. If you have listened to my speeches, which are on the IPod I gave you a couple of years ago, you know that I’m all about respect and cultural understanding. What? Yes, I did leave a couple of dollars under my dinner plate at the banquet. It was a tip. I…Hello? Hello? Damn! We, er, seem to have been cut off. David, this trip was a disaster! And this thing sure didn't help [pulls small red book from side jacket pocket and slams it on his desk. Plouffe reaches over and picks it up].
Plouffe: What have you got here? Protocol for American Citizens Overseas. Mr. President, may I ask where you got this?
Biden: Hey, I gave that to him. Came in the mail to me last week, from some well-wisher, I suppose; thought the President could find more use for it than I could, since I never get to go anyplace.
Obama: We’ve been all through that, Joe. We need you here to…to…to hold down the fort. Yes, that’s it. To hold down the fort. Besides, the last time you were in Europe you almost created an international incident with that joke you told at the conference.
Biden: How was I to know that nobody over there has a sense of humor? Let me run that story by Dave, here, and see if he thinks it’s offensive. Now, a polack, a frog and a kraut walk into a Jewish restaurant looking for some Belgian waffles…
Plouffe: Er, I’m sure I’ve probably heard that one, Joe. Mr. President, getting back to this book… Just thumbing through it, I’m seeing quite a few dubious suggestions.
Obama: For instance?
Plouffe: Well, for example: “When being introduced to members of the British royal family, one should be quick to comment on the beauty of their teeth.”
Obama: What’s wrong with that?
Plouffe: The subject of bad teeth has become something of a byword in England, Mr. President. And then there’s this one: “On being introduced to senior managers of the National Health Service, it is considered good form to inquire about the organization’s progress in combating spotted dick.”
Obama: Say, I wasn’t going to touch that one, but Michelle blurted it out.
Plouffe: Sir, spotted dick is a kind of pudding.
Obama: Ohhhh…So, when that doctor asked Michelle if she was inquiring for herself or for her husband…
Plouffe: He was being a wise guy, yes, sir.
Obama: Dammit! It looks like I came across as a total rube over there. Oh, crap! Tell me, quickly; what is the Gaelic for “prime minister”?
Plouffe: “Taoiseach”, sir.
Obama: Not…er… “bog trotter”?
Plouffe: Mr. President, you didn’t…
Obama: *Sigh*...I guess I’d better send Enda Kenny a bottle of whiskey or a sack of potatoes or something to square things. And throw that book away, David; it’s obviously out of date. You know, maybe I will let Joe, here, take on some of the foreign travel responsibilities. Everybody expects this kind of thing from him. When I make the, um, very rare gaffe, it comes across as too much of a shock to people. I mean, I'm a virtual messiah - Don't roll your eyes, David, lots of people have said so! - and it’s like a big crowd gathers round to watch me raise...What's the guy's name? Lester?
Plouffe: Lazarus, Mr. President.
Obama: Yeah, Lazarus. It’s like everybody's hanging around waiting for me to raise Lazarus from the grave and I wind up turning him into a dead frog, instead.
Biden [coming out of a reverie]: Huh? Frog? Oh, right. So, a polack, a frog and a kraut walk into a Jewish restaurant looking for some Belgian waffles…