Last time, my shirt came within 3,800 votes of beating Bob Dole in the New Hampshire primary. My shirt came closer to winning the nomination than I did.
-- presidential candidate Lamar Alexander, speaking earlier this year about his former signature red plaid shirt
And now, from Washington, Larry King...
Larry King: In all my years in this business, I've never interviewed anyone quite like our next guest. Folks, this is not only his first prime-time television interview, this is his first interview of any kind! Here he is, Lamar Alexander's red plaid shirt. Welcome to the show.
Shirt: It's great to be here.
Larry: Before we get started, I understand you have an announcement to make.
Shirt: That's right, Larry. Do you mind if I call you Larry? I'm not big on formality.
Larry: Go right ahead.
Shirt: Well, Larry, I've decided to go it alone. This time, I'm throwing my hat into the ring. Not literally, of course. Ha, ha. But you get the idea: I'm running for president.
Larry: Incredible! Folks, you heard it here first.
Shirt: Here, I brought you one of my campaign buttons to dress up your suspenders.
Larry: "One size fits all." Catchy slogan. But what makes you think the American people are ready for you?
Shirt: I know it's unprecedented. But I believe that I'm uniquely qualified to lead this great country of ours, Larry. I represent something the White House badly needs after eight years of skirt chasing.
Larry: Western wear?
Shirt: Moral fiber.
Larry: OK, so what makes you think you can win?
Shirt: Larry, New Hampshire in '96 wasn't a fluke. It was a sign that the American people want me to come out of the closet.
Larry: You mean you're --
Shirt: I don't like labels, Larry. Let's just say I'm a good fit for all kinds of folks. So I'm rolling up my sleeves and hitting the campaign trail.
Larry: Hmm. A centrist, then. I can see why you generated so much interest during the last election. Still, you've definitely got some stiff competition. George W. Bush looks like a strong front-runner already.
Shirt: Maybe for now, but everybody knows he's riding his father's coattails. Besides, I'll bet his past is more checkered than I am.
Larry: What about Liddy Dole?
Shirt: Frankly, I think she suffers from the same condition as her husband: PD -- political dysfunction.
Larry: Tough talk. But how are you going to compete with Vice President Al Gore and his Democratic fund-raising machine?
Shirt: By running an honest campaign. Folks, I promise you this: I have nothing up my sleeve. See for yourself.
Larry: No arguing that. You know, you're not the only candidate staging a political comeback. So is Dan Quayle.
Shirt: Please. No one takes him seriously. Even I've got a better head on my shoulders.
Larry: Then, of course, there's Lamar Alexander, who traded you in for a suit and tie. How will you differentiate yourself from your old running mate?
Shirt: Shoot, everybody paid more attention to me last time. Without me, he's just another stuffed shirt. Most Americans couldn't pick Lamar out of a lineup if he were wearing a name tag.
Larry: In case you just tuned in, we're airing some dirty laundry on tonight's show.
Shirt: Seriously, Larry, I'm glad you brought up Lamar. He's been implying that he hung me out to dry. Quite the contrary.
Larry: You mean, you fired him?
Shirt: I had no choice. During the last race, the man was a complete distraction. All that talk about education reform? Enough already! I swear, he's the only reason I didn't take Bob Dole to the cleaners.
Larry: Incredible, just incredible. I mean, you guys appeared so close in the papers and on TV. The All-American lumberjack shirt. The plan to cut taxes. That was strong stuff.
Shirt: We were tight-knit in the beginning. No one came between me and Lamar. But -- how can I put this -- things came unraveled.
Larry: What happened?
Shirt: Lamar showed his true colors. He began attending fund-raisers without me. Claimed they were black-tie only. Yeah, and I'm a blue-light special.
Larry: Someone's still hot under the collar.
Shirt: Let's just say we haven't ironed things out. But that's all I'm at liberty to say. I promised my agent, my publisher and my publicist that I'd keep it buttoned until my book comes out later this year.
Larry: Good for you. If my friend George Stephanopoulos can write a best-seller about his boss, I certainly think you're entitled. And speaking of youthful appearances, how is it that you have fewer wrinkles than my new wife? I didn't think that was possible.
Shirt: You don't look too bad yourself, Larry. Except for those pinstripes.
Larry: Ha, ha. Touche. So it's early in the race, but any thoughts on a possible running mate?
Shirt: I think it's only a matter of time before Bill Bradley withdraws -- he's washed up, if you ask me -- and when he does, I'm going to approach his chinos about joining my campaign.
Larry: Sounds like that could give you a leg up with Democrats.
Shirt: Well, actually, we've been friends since our days at L.L. Bean.
Larry: You're a softie. I can tell.
Shirt: Well, I am 100 percent, pre-shrunk cotton.
Larry: Folks, we're going to take a break, but we'll be right back with our next guest, a sassy designer pants suit that's just entered the New York Senate race. Stay tuned!