Bush Impersonator Talks About Rick Perry's Style

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A Texas governor with a little bit of swagger and a heavy emphasis on his Christian faith, is running for president. It all feels a little familiar. Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry has been called "George W. Bush on steroids." But how much do the two men overlap in style and substance? To answer that question, Robert Siegel talks with someone who knows George W. Bush's mannerisms better than almost anyone: presidential impersonator John Morgan.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host: Texas Governor Rick Perry's entry into the GOP presidential race started us thinking, and not altogether seriously.

First, Governor Perry struck several non-Texans on our staff as sounding a lot like his predecessor in Austin, George W. Bush.

RICK PERRY: I'm a Texan and I'm proud of it, but first and foremost, I am an incredibly proud American.


SIEGEL: That's Governor Perry, second to any candidate who has declared state days of prayer for rain and who's been known to pack a laser-cited pistol while jogging is going to be grist for comic impersonators. George W. Bush certainly was.

JOHN MORGAN: Somebody made little bumper stickers in Washington that say, duck, duck, goose, Cheney's loose! That's just a little joke we have inside the belt loop.

SIEGEL: That's not President Bush. That is impersonator John Morgan, of Orlando, Florida. He's been doing his vocal and physical version of our 43rd president ever since 2003.

And Mr. Morgan, do I have it right that you're still getting work as George W. Bush?

MORGAN: Yes. My calendar has never been more Bush-ified.


SIEGEL: Well, here's the question. Is Rick Perry, who's seeking the Republican nomination and who is governor of Texas, someone you could imagine transitioning into?

MORGAN: Well, you know, I was laying in bed the other night awake and I was saying my prayers and I kind of said, Lord, is there anything you want to tell me before I drift off? And this thought came to my mind: RickPerryImpersonator.com


SIEGEL: Now, how similar are George W. Bush and Rick Perry?

MORGAN: Well, honestly, I think I'll have to study hard to find the differences.

SIEGEL: They're that close?

MORGAN: Well, if you lived there, you'd think these two guys aren't anything alike. What are you talking about? Because you don't hear the accent.


MORGAN: But to the rest of us Americans, gosh, they're like two peas in a pod.

SIEGEL: Have you been studying up on Rick Perry at all? I'm trying to think about how you would do this if you did it.

MORGAN: Well, yes. I actually put a life-sized picture of Rick Perry's face in the mirror and I try to - I want to use the word contort, but I guess adjust is a more pleasant word - my own facial muscles so that it conforms to Rick Perry instead of George W.

SIEGEL: Now, I should say here that, on the subject of Governor Rick Perry of Texas, at this point in the nominating season, for all we know come this spring, he'll be as significant a presidential figure as Senator Fred Thompson was at that time four years ago.

Looking at the field, if you might have a future to go elsewhere, can you imagine, say, doing a Mitt Romney?

MORGAN: No. I actually had a prosthetic mask made of myself cast in the likeness of John McCain just in case he won the election last year.

SIEGEL: And had you developed a whole vocal John McCain, as well?

MORGAN: My friends, I had worked on it some, but it kept sounding like George W. Bush.


SIEGEL: It comes out as George W. Bush no matter what you do.

John Morgan, thank you very much for sharing with us.

MORGAN: You're very welcome.

SIEGEL: That's John Morgan of Orlando, Florida, who has been doing his George W. Bush impression for eight years and is considering a transition to becoming a Rick Perry.


MELISSA BLOCK, host: This is NPR News.

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