New Zealand Prime Minister John Key will meet with President Obama later this month to discuss pressing issues of concern to both countries. Below are snippets from the two leaders’ phone call.
Obama: Bob Keys. How are you?
Key: It’s John Key here in New Zealand, Mr President. I’m fine. And you?
Obama: And how is it going Downunder? Those brush fires and floods under control?
Key: Australia had brush fires and flooding, Mr President. We’ve had a few earthquakes; about $20 billion in damage. But we’re getting stuck into it the clean up. She’ll be right.
Obama: Good, good, let us know if there is anything we can do.
Key: Well actually you could…
Obama: That’s fine. Now what’s the latest on your Emperor Penguin? My kids have been following that over the Internet. They were thrilled to hear I’d be talking to you. They call you… (pauses, waiting for the presidential teleprompter to scroll down) ‘Prime Minister Penguin’. Isn’t that the cutest thing?
Key: Very cute, Mr President. Well, we now know that Happy Feet is a boy. And he should be released into the ocean in a couple of weeks. Would your daughters like a photo of him?
Obama: Why yes, a photo of Happy Feet would be terrific. And could you get Peter Jackson and some Hobbits in the photo? Maybe some sheep, too? You know, all the things that make Australia great. I mean New Caledonia.
Key: No worries, Mr President. And would the First Lady like me to bring her anything from New Zealand?
Obama: Oh, I wouldn’t want to impose on you, though I know Michelle just loves kangaroos and koalas…
Key: (Sigh.) I’ll see what I can do, Mr President.
Obama: Just one more thing I should mention.
Key: And what’s that, Mr President?
Obama: That nuclear thing. You know, the problems we’ve had in the past.
Key: Mr President, we’re far more open now days. If your warships want to come to New Zealand in future, we don’t need to know whether they are nuclear. Or ‘nukular’ as your predecessor used to say, ha.
Key: Mr President?
Obama: Oh, that was a joke. Fine. Fine. Very funny, Don…
Key: (Boyish grin)
Obama: I want you to know that I’m moving our navy away from nuclear propulsion. After I win the next election, all of our warships with be solar powered and have friendlier, more international names… What would you think about an aircraft carrier called the USS Happy Feet?
Obama: My people thought you, me and the penguin could go on Letterman and make the announcement, all wearing tuxedos. What do you think? Would Crocodile Dundee think that’s funny?
Key: Hysterical, President Osama.
Obama: Watch it, Juan.
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