Thursday, August 11, 2005

Rick Cleveland, Former Writer, On Real & Fake Politics

Rick Cleveland, who made headlines with his dispute with Aaron Sorkin over the authorship of "In Excelcis Deo", talks about his play about President Bill Clinton and his dog Buddy and of the meeting between real and fake politics:

"Cleveland's short, surreal journey to the Clinton White House figures in the show, for example.

His friend and ''West Wing" collaborator Lawrence O'Donnell arranged the fictional Bartlet administration's White House visit, says Cleveland.

''Lawrence somehow corralled John McCain's Straight Talk Express to take us to the White House Correspondents' dinner," Cleveland recalls. McCain's campaign bus, filled with an entourage of witty White House liberals, arrived at their destination to find McCain, standing on the sidewalk.

McCain, playing to the crowd, demanded loudly, ''Who's on my bus?" says Cleveland. ''The doors open, and Martin Sheen gets off! The two of them look at one another, laugh, and start hugging."

The crowd was clapping; photographers and camera crews scurried to get shots for the late-night news. ''Fictional and nonfictional Washington blended seamlessly, just as I thought they did," says Cleveland. ''It was everything a blue-collar kid from Parma, Ohio, could have wanted."

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