With guest host Tina Fey back playing her famous doppelganger, this weekend’s "Saturday Night Live" portrayed the debate that wasn’t this week – featuring not just Sarah Palin but also would-be White House hopeful Donald Trump. 
FOR THE RECORD
An earlier version of this story misspelled Shepard Smith's name as Sheppard.

The faux Fox News debate also pitted Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann in the “GOP 2012 Undeclared Candidates Debate,” adding 2010 New York governor candidate Jimmy McMillan of the Rent is Too Damn High party for good measure.

The sketch represented one of the first attempts by the comedy show to spoof the 2012 presidential campaign. It followed a real debate Thursday night featuring a B-cast of declared Republican candidates, including former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

This second debate was introduced as featuring the “candidates you wish you knew less about.”

Romney, played by Jason Sudeikis, is shown as a bumbling candidate struggling in the spotlight.

“People say a lot of things about Mitt Romney. They say I’m rich and disconnected. They say I’m a dead fish. They say I look like a villain in a Lifetime movie,” he says, before worriedly finishing: “What am I doing?! Why do they let me talk?!”

Bobby Moynihan plays Newt Gingrich, who decides to bow out before even answering a question. Kristen Wiig again portrays Bachmann, the Minnesota congresswoman and "tea party" favorite. She challenges the nation to a staring contest.

Then we come to Palin, happy to be on Fox News Channel which “both pays me and shows me the questions ahead of time.”

“First I want to acknowledge that this week we finally vanquished one of he world’s great villains. And I for one am thrilled to say good riddance to Katie Couric,” Fey as Palin says.

The former Alaska governor claims she’s "bonin' up on experience” by filming a “Hangover 3” cameo in the Middle East, and studying her “Rosetta Stone English.”

“The important thing for people to know is that I’m gonna be runnin’ for president every four years for the rest of my life,” Fey as Palin says. “It’s my Olympics and I intend to win a whole bunch of silvers.”

Former cast member Darrell Hammond returns to play Trump, calling himself a modern-day Citizen Kane. He plugs “Celebrity Apprentice” and turns to Palin to say she can be his running mate in 2012.

“All you have to do is sell more chili than NeNe Leakes over the course of a hot summer day in Times Square,” he says, referring to one of the cast members of the reality show this season.

The contest ends with Shepard Smith congratulating President Obama on his likely reelection.

You can check out the full sketch below.

michael.memoli@latimes.com