The President's Mandate: A Short Play

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Solicitor General Donald Verrilli in the Oval Office, after learning of the Supreme Court's ruling on the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," on Thursday. i

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Solicitor General Donald Verrilli in the Oval Office, after learning of the Supreme Court's ruling on the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," on Thursday. Pete Souza/The White House hide caption

itoggle caption Pete Souza/The White House
President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Solicitor General Donald Verrilli in the Oval Office, after learning of the Supreme Court's ruling on the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," on Thursday.

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Solicitor General Donald Verrilli in the Oval Office, after learning of the Supreme Court's ruling on the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," on Thursday.

Pete Souza/The White House

Dennis O'Toole is a writer and performer in Chicago. He wrote this satirical play after the Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional.

{Scene, the Oval Office. President Obama speaks on the phone.}

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

No, no — I appreciate the kind words, but I have to correct you there: This ruling is not my victory. It is the American people's victory.

Well, I certainly appreciate that. Good to hear from you, Mick. Listen, I gotta cruise. I have to meet with the Paraguayan minister of justice and labor in about five min —

Sure, anytime. You take care.

{Click.}

{The president rises, walks to the window and looks out on whatever lawn the Oval Office faces. He speaks aloud, to himself. }

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Abraham Lincoln. George Washington. BARACK OBAMA.

OK, easy there 44. It's just one court case ... just one little landmark on the road. Don't get all cocky now.

But who gets congratulatory phone calls from Mick Jagger? No, that's Sir Michael Philip Jagger, lead singer of the Rolling Stones. Maybe you've heard of them. Did Martin Van Buren ever get phone calls from rock stars? Did Mick Jagger ever address Millard Frickin' Fillmore as "Sir?" Nope! Not once! Because ...

Well, because neither phones nor rock music existed in 1851. Look, this is a crazy line of thinking. I am a servant of the people and no more.

On the other hand ...

INTERCOM:

{Beep} Mr. President, George Clooney is on line three.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

Thank you, I'll take this one. [Picks up phone.] Georgey boy, how goes?

No, no — I appreciate the kind words, but I have to correct you there: This ruling is not my victory. It is the American people's victory.

Dennis O'Toole is a writer in Chicago.

Dennis O'Toole is a writer in Chicago. Peggy Lavelle/ hide caption

itoggle caption Peggy Lavelle/

Man, it surprised me, too. I mean, John Roberts agrees with me? What's next, Oceans 14?

Well, think about it. The American people loved the first three. Hey, thanks again for throwing me that fundraiser last month. It was a great time, and I loved the bacon-wrapped-bacon.

True that. Yo, did anyone find my Frisbee?

Well, if it turns up, you know my number. Listen, I gotta bail. I'm meeting with the Paraguayan minister of justice and labor in about two shakes. Hilarious guy, by the way. You gotta meet him.

Definitely, Jorge. Anytime.

{Click.}

Alexander the Great. Peter the Great. BARACK THE GR —

Yikes! STOP it, 44. Slow thine roll! It's the American people's victory, not yours.

INTERCOM:

{Beep} Mr. President, Scott Baio is on line two.

PRESIDENT OBAMA:

Send him to voice mail.

{Pause.}

Arthur Fonzarelli. Luke Skywalker. BARACK OBAMA. Yes...

{Fin.}

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