Bruce held the ray gun in his left hand, hidden by the TV camera from his vantage point in the far corner. Press credentials proved easy to get with infidelity so rampant among Capitol staff. As Boehner blathered on at the podium, Bruce waited for the perfect question before giving the Speaker a large blast, good for a full two minutes of truth with zero recollection.
Finally it came from a blond Fox reporter, Erin B. Tweenthyiers. It was hard to call her an anchor when she was clearly such a lightweight.
"Why do you think President Obama lied when he said that everyone could keep their current healthcare plans?" she asked in a strident but bubbly voice.
Bruce found that the best truth bombs hit a few seconds after the targets start speaking, that way the premise they present is immediately undercut. Bruce let Boehner dangle plenty of rope over the tree limb before he pulled the trigger.
"When you try to sell a clunker, you say it's never been in a wreck whether that's right or not. Obama thought he could throw that one out there and nobody would call him on it," Boehner said with his look of superior indifference. Then an undetectable quick blast erased his practiced attitude.
"We couldn't be happier that Obamacare tripped coming out of the gate. Hell, we planned it that way," he continued. "When the Supreme Court ruled that some states could opt out of Obamacare, that was our ticket to crippling healthcare.gov, forcing it to take on inquiries from half the nation rather than simply redirecting folks to each state's website. And Obama left the door open with his 'keep their existing healthcare' line because we knew that the cheap policies couldn't comply with the new laws to protect consumers. We knew he wasn't trying to lie; but he left us with lots of hairs we could split and make him look bad."
"Mr. Speaker, why is it important to you that Obamacare looked bad on the roll-out?" asked a woman near the back.
"We Republicans couldn't let Obamacare catch on, because people would realize how much money they'll save, and what's worse, that additional money will make the economy stronger. And everything Republicans have been doing for years is geared towards insuring that that can't happen. We can't let jobs come back from overseas. We can't fund infrastructure. A good economy is bad for Republicans. And it IS preventable; our strategy is foolproof."
"Mr. Speaker, what are your thoughts about the 1.6 million who lost their extended unemployment benefits just after Christmas?" someone asked from the second row.
"Let them eat bootstraps," Boehner said with a smirk. The truth ray effect wears off instantly, and the Speaker found himself facing more open mouths than the average choir conductor. Unaware of his period of extreme candor, he launched back into the forest of talking points he knew were always as good as an actual answer.
"Obamacare is going to cost millions of jobs. It's just that simple," he threw out over the crowd. Usually that's all Boehner needed to say. However not this time. The can of worms had been opened, and he was just getting his first whiff.
"But Mr. Speaker, you just said that Obamacare will put more money in people's pockets with their monthly savings in healthcare costs. Won't that will create more jobs?" Front row this time.
"Uh, perhaps in rare circumstances, you know, a few here and there," Boehner said, his mind reeling. How did he let that one slip out? There weren't talking points groomed for that angle. "You're not a mindreader, are you son?"
"Why is a good economy bad for Republicans?" Second row again, this time a few seats to the left.
Bruce saw his chance for another blast, this one of the short 20-second variety where the target does remember what he's just exposed.
"It will make Obama look good. The GOP needs despair across the boards, somewhere else to point the blame. For the uniformed, that blame will always go to the president. That's why we fill the airwaves with repetition of talking points not actual analysis. If people figured out that they're voting against their best interests then they'd -" and again the switch flipped in his head. Ever the consummate pro, Boehner covered his ass with a flag. "-they'd know just how honorable their sacrifices are. Freedom requires sacrifice. I see that every day in the faces of our brave soldiers."
Bruce could see the wheels whirling in Boehner's head. Beans were spilled all around him, and all he had were chopsticks.
"If the poor eat their bootstraps, then what will they pull themselves up with?" asked Erin for the benefit of her perplexed Fox viewers.
"Okay, that's all the time I have on this topic. Does anybody have any questions about Benghazi? And who spiked my Merlot?"