It's been almost three weeks since Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez had an operation in Cuba and essentially disappeared from public view, and his citizens are, in short, losing their shit over it. He reappeared in images and a video released late Tuesday wearing what appears to be the same shirt and jacket he was wearing in a June 17 photo, but many questions -- like whether he has prostate cancer -- remain unanswered.
And that got us thinking -- what would happen if the U.S. president wandered off for three weeks, in an unknown condition and completely out of contact with the American people? We've put together five opening paragraphs of front-page news from the third week of a missing American president.
1. Canada, emboldened by what leaders saw as a critically weakened U.S. government, invaded the United States early this morning. Troops made it halfway through Minnesota before learning what a "Michele Bachmann" was, at which point they turned around and went home without incident.
2. A new, totally real video of President Barack Obama has been unearthed by conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart -- the video shows the missing leader in an underground bunker bouncing a ball and waving his arm with "SCREW THE CONSTITUTION" in a little thought bubble above his head. Critics have suggested the footage is actually a flip-book Mr. Breitbart drew with an old crayon, but tea party leaders quickly dismissed the claim as being part of an "arch-liberal militant agenda."
3. Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will not be taking over presidential duties for the missing President Barack Obama, White House officials said yesterday. Unbeknownst to administrators until last weekend, Mr. Biden's transportation detail accidentally left him in Afghanistan three weeks ago when he wandered off in Mazar-i-Sharif to buy some ice cream.
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4. A new USA Today/Gallup poll revealed potential presidential hopeful Sarah Palin to be an unprecedented 54 points behind missing President Barack Obama among likely voters: 77 percent of those polled said they would vote for Mr. Obama over Ms. Palin even if Mr. Obama is missing forever and never actually returns, and the remaining 23 percent said they hated gay people, logic and books. There were no undecided responses.
5. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) called the fifth hearing in three weeks Sunday evening to discuss with leaders the validity of claims that President Barack Obama is, in fact, missing. Inhofe's latest claim is that Mr. Obama never existed in the first place.