Rumors swirl around GOP debate – because I’m starting them

Did you hear that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tried to have Milwaukee’s High Rise Bridge closed so other presidential hopefuls would be delayed and he might get a spot at the main debate?

It’s one of the ridiculous rumors I’m spreading about Tuesday’s GOP faceoff at the Milwaukee Theatre, our city’s soon-to-be fourth best arena downtown.

Let’s see. What else? A few of the candidates considered pulling out of the debate after hearing the facility’s old name, MECCA, and confusing it with Islam’s most sacred place. They also weren’t crazy that Marilyn Manson had performed on the same stage long before he turned middle-aged.

The candidates scrambled to come up with an attention grabbing moment half as good as Theodore Roosevelt’s. As you may recall from 1912, he was shot just before appearing at the very same arena. The folded speech in his pocket slowed the bullet, but he went ahead with his remarks and dazzled the crowd by showing them his bloody shirt. Hard to top that with a snappy sound bite.

Gov. Scott Walker, who pulled out of the presidential race before getting a chance to shine on stage in his home state, considered interrupting Tuesday’s debate so the candidates who receive government assistance in the form of salaries could be drug tested on the spot.

I heard Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, desperate for any poll number above zero, was planning to reach out to nostalgic older Milwaukee voters by announcing Tuesday he was changing his name to Jindal-Schuster’s.

Arriving in Wisconsin, the candidates were hearing about the Ditka curse. After the Bears legend wore a Packers shirt for a McDonald’s promotion in October, the Pack lost two straight games. This impressed Sen. Ted Cruz enough that some observers predicted he would don a Sen. Marco Rubio jersey for the debate.

Retired neurosurgeon and front-runner Ben Carson was not about to visit our fair city without touring the Mitchell Park Domes, where he believes ancient Milwaukeeans stored grain. I heard he stabbed a cactus while he was there, just to prove he knows how to use a shiv.

Got one more Carson rumor. After Police Chief Edward Flynn referred to the field of Republican candidates as “clown college” this week, Carson insisted he had received a scholarship to that university as well. Fact checkers opened an office in his front yard.

Once again, the media moderators were poised to ask unfair gotcha questions to make the candidates look bad. One question was scrapped, and it was probably for the best. “Should the Estabrook dam be saved?” is a bit parochial for the national stage.

Debate organizers worried when they heard Donald Trump was skipping Milwaukee and remaining in New York to become a regular cast member on “Saturday Night Live.” He’s working on a hilarious skit where he urges a boycott of Starbucks because the coffee giant’s red holiday cups disrespect Christians by no longer including images of ornaments or reindeer. When he’s president, Trump vowed, people will say “Merry Christmas” again. Wait, I’m being told he said all this crazy stuff for real.

Trump did arrive in Milwaukee after all. While the other candidates went to hair and makeup, the billionaire flew in Santiago Calatrava to touch up his coif.

Again, these are all just unsubstantiated claims and half truths. So make like a candidate and spread them around.

Call Jim Stingl at (414) 224-2017 or email at [email protected]