From the Onion, the media voice through whose halls all news is worth satirizing, comes word of a unique project to prepare all of the Republican presidential wannabes for their paths to glory..
It is the full-scale replica of a fake "struggling Ohio town" of Stocktonville that is set somewhere in Central Montana. It is inhabited by 33,000 actors who have been coached to portray middle-class Americans such as small-business owners and auto workers. The idea is to teach the candidates how to respond when they meet these unfamiliar folks along the campaign trail.
The Onion quotes Republican national chairman Reince Priebus (a real person in this instance because you can't make him up).
"Each morning, we start running our candidates through their itinerary of simulated voter meet-and-greets at Stocktonville's mock schools, shopping centers and town squares, having them redo each leg over and over until they get it right," Priebus said, noting that the village has been meticulously crafted to reflect an unemployment rate of 8.3 pct., a median income of $38,000 and a sense of uneasiness about the country.
"So whether it's learning to naturally put on a hardhat and Carhartt jacket to impress the workers at one of our six artificial factories, or tossing out the first pitch to our life-size double-A baseball field, our fully immersive training grounds provide a safe place for candidates to work out the kinks before running for office."
Sen. Rob Portman, however, was a lost cause in the setting, said RNC co-chairman Sharon Day. "Rand Paul has probably separated himself as the best at reading a passage of scripture during our mock church service," she said. "and Marco Rubio was the first to master deftly handling the heckler we choreographed for the rally. Rob Portman, however, is still making mistakes talking about Social Security with the actors at our senior citizen home, which at this point in his training is simply unacceptable. We're thinking Friday night might be his last day with the program."
(You'll find the entire piece on the Onion's website. Go for it. It's full of laughs, which many of the candidates are all about anyway.)