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Published September 29, 2008

by Andy Borowitz

With less than a week to go before the crucial vice-presidential debate, GOP presidential nominee John McCain announced today that he was replacing his running mate, Alaska governor Sarah Palin, with a startled deer.

According to campaign insiders, the decision to select a hoofed mammal to replace Gov. Palin evolved after Sen. McCain watched his running mate's performance in a series of interviews with CBS's Katie Couric.

"Good Lord, a startled deer could do better than that," Sen. McCain reportedly said, prompting his aides to draw up a shortlist of startled deer.

The Arizona senator supposedly brushed aside concerns that a startled deer would wilt under the pressure of a televised debate, telling aides, "At least a goddamn deer won't go on about Alaska being close to Russia."

The McCain campaign said today that Sen. McCain's new running mate, Bucky the Red Deer, would not be made available to the press prior to the debate.

"Bucky is very much a work in progress," said McCain campaign manager Rick Davis. "Right now we're working on keeping him from bolting off the stage."

Bucky's opponent in the upcoming debate, Delaware senator Joseph Biden, appeared today to be trying to manage expectations for the high-stakes face-off with his four-legged rival.

"Bucky the Red Deer is articulate, bright and clean," Sen. Biden said. "That's storybook, man."

Elsewhere, former "American Idol" star Clay Aiken revealed that he was gay in an exclusive interview with Duh magazine.

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