Groundhog Flips Out at Sanford Press Conference
In the second "post-piglets" animal stunt to go horribly awry for the Sanford administration, a seemingly adorable groundhog by the name of Filibuster Phil (left) held the South Carolina State House hostage today for more than three hours during a gubernatorial press conference gone haywire.
"The plan was supposed to be that the governor would pick him up, cuddle with him for a little bit, and then if he saw his shadow, there would be six weeks of no filibusters," Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer told reporters after the harrowing ordeal. "We had no idea he was going to come out packing."
Lobbyists, legislators and reporters looked on in horror, however, when Phil emerged from his crate on the second-floor lobby carrying a fully-loaded Browning M2 automatic machine gun instead. His accompanying angry, staccato chirps were recognized immediately by Sen. Jakie Knotts as "Groundhog-ese." Knotts promptly informed the gathering crowd that Phil was demanding "immediate access to Sen. Glenn Reese's stash of creme-filled Krispy Kreme donuts."
"He said as clear as day that if we didn't give him the creme-filled donuts, every last person in the State House was going to die," a red-faced Knotts told reporters shortly before admitting that he himself had already devoured every last one of his colleague's creme-filled confections.
After repeated efforts to break the impasse by Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Protective Services and State Law Enforcement Division personnel had failed, Phil's siege was ultimately undone by the very legislative tool his presence in the State House was intended to undermine - the filibuster.
Named after early 19th Century Spanish and Portugese pirates called "filibusteros," who held ships hostage for ransom, the modern-day "filibuster" in South Carolina has been perfected by Sumter Sen. Phil Leventis.
"We knew the only way to lull the creature to sleep was to force it to listen to something incredibly stupid, boring, pointless and seemingly interminable," said SLED Chief Robert Stewart. "That's when everyone in the room thought of Phil Leventis."
Within minutes, Leventis was on the Senate floor filibustering legislation that would prohibit out-of-district residents from voting in State Senate races using their Morris College utility bills as proof-of-address. Approximately two minutes later, some three hours after the ordeal first began, the rodent version of Filibuster Phil fell sound asleep and was taken into custody.
"Uhhh ... I would simply say that, at the end of the day, when you look at the numbers, I'm probably done with animal stunts," Gov. Sanford said as authorities hauled his bipolar groundhog off to await arraignment at the Alvin Glenn Detention Center. "In fact, we were going to do a restructuring press conference using a striped bass I caught during my latest Brokeback fishing weekend with Chip Campsen, but I think I've learned my lesson now."
Filibuster Phil's attorney, Dick Harpootlian, did not return repeated calls from FITS seeking comment from his client.