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Phil Maddocks column: Poindexter enters presidential race, demands everyone else concede defeat

Philip Maddocks

John Poindexter, a former national security advisor to Ronald Reagan and central figure in the Iran-Contra scandal, announced yesterday that he had entered the presidential race and demanded that all the other candidates concede defeat.

"The admiral decided enough was enough," said a Poindexter campaign aide. "It was just like the old days again. It was clear to the admiral that no one in the field, Republican or Democrat, was up to the challenge. So it was time for  him to step in and take charge."

The retired vice admiral’s aide said the public would learn they had already elected him president once he had finished sifting through last month’s data he had collected clandestinely through e-mail messages and recordings of cell phone conversations.

The aide said Poindexter still hasn’t decided when he will formally announce he has been elected president.

In an encrypted statement released through DARPA — the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — Poindexter explained why he had not informed the president of his imminent  national victory until now.

"I made a very deliberate decision not to tell the president so that I could insulate him from the decision and provide some future deniability for the president if it ever leaked out," he said.. "But now I think it is time he knew that, even in name, he will no longer be running the country much longer. That goes for Cheney, too."

The impending victory of Mr. Poindexter — who, aides said Wednesday, plans to clinch the election with a national announcement tour just after Labor Day — has injected a funereal air of resignation into the campaigns for other candidates.

Most refused to publicly concede the race to Poindexter "out of respect for the democratic process," though many campaigns could already be seen shifting strategies in anticipation of a Poindexter victory.

Republican candidate John McCain released a statement through his campaign stating that he would agree to run as Poindexter’s vice president if the admiral "stops using his intelligence-mining to mess with my campaign funds" and will allow McCain to travel on a "Straight Talk Missile Destroyer."

Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and another GOP presidential candidate, said he had changed his position on Poindexter after talking to a Harvard scientist.

Billionaire David Geffen, who publicly renounced his old friends the Clintons for Obama, has now said he will hold fundraisers for Poindexter and will hand over to the admiral any information about Obama that the president de-facto can’t extract with Genoa — an intelligence mining, information harvesting system Poindexter helped develop for Syntek Technologies.

Joseph Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate from Delaware, said he had no problem with Poindexter, who commanded missile destroyers and is reportedly the model for Tom Clancy's hero, Jack Ryan. But Biden said he did have problems with Oliver North, an Iran-contra co-conspirator with Poindexter whom Biden said "threw like a girl."

Political observers hailed the Poindexter campaign’s claim of victory as "a much-needed breath of fresh air" in a presidential contest that had become bogged down in money and mediocrity.

"You have a candidate that can’t manage his campaign funds, another whose personal life is more exciting than anything he has to say, and another who has an unfavorable rating of around 50 percent," noted one longtime political observer. "Is it any wonder that the candidate who admitted to destroying evidence in connection with the Iran-contra affair now — the only can and will do candidate out there — now sees himself as the frontrunner in the race?"

Voters seemed to agree. Outside an ice cream shop in Peoria, Ill., a 34-year-old resident, said he had been torn on who to support for president until he learned of Poindexter’s victory..

"I wasn’t aware I had voted for him, but I think I made a good choice and I guess I would do it again if I had to," he said.

Another voter made the journey to Poindexter’s home, located deep in a remote, fog-layered hollow near Sugar Grove, W.Va. After glimpsing the admiral’s abode, hidden by fortress-like mountains and located in a "radio quiet" zone, with large parabolic dishes outside that secretly and silently sweep in millions of private telephone calls and e-mail messages an hour, the man said he was happy to find out he had voted for Poindexter.

"I came down here to make sure that this was a guy I wouldn’t want to have a beer with. And I wouldn’t, which makes me feel better about my choice," said the 41-year-old who described himself as a moderate who thought he was going to vote for McCain.

"I guess that means that I can now have a drink with John and now feel good about it. And that may be the best thing for both of us," he said.