Obama: “Unlike other candidates, I have been saying since 2002 that we were headed down a disastrous road with our sushi policy. But what we need now is a president who will not use this crisis just to scare up votes. We need a president who can get past the tired, old partisan divisions that pit one kind of fish against another. It’s fine to get the mercury out of tuna. But all fish are in this together. We can’t rest until we have safe sushi of all types, all across this great land. To those who say we aim too high, we say, ‘Yes, we can.'”
Edwards: “We have to stand up for the millions of impoverished Americans who go to bed every night unable even to dream about tuna sushi. This is the other America, not the fat cats plunking down $400 at places like Masa in New York. We need to speak up for the little guy, the guy who gets mercury poisoning and then sits for hours in a hospital emergency room because he can’t afford health insurance.”
Hillary Clinton: “I can promise that on Day One, I will be ready for action. Experience counts, and I’ve been eating sushi almost since that transforming day when I heard Martin Luther King speak in person.”
Bill Clinton: “Don’t believe these fairy tales. But don’t roll the dice, either. The mercury isn’t a problem if ingested in small doses. Hillary and I are urging all you good people who love tuna maki to cut it into little pieces. Dice the roll.”
McCain: “I’m too old to be scared. My friends, we’ve been through hard times before, but we can overcome this transcendent challenge. I don’t have to tell you, my friends, about my years in Asia. I have the experience, my friends, to handle this sushi ordeal.”
Romney: “It’s all that immigrant fish. We’re not controlling our borders. I promise you that on my watch we will not be a sanctuary for dangerous foreign tuna.”
Huckabee: “Nowhere does the Bible mention sushi in the Garden of Eden. Give me that old-time cuisine. If it was good enough for Adam and Eve, it’s good enough for me.”
And, of course:
Representative Ron Paul said that New York had brought the mercury attack on itself by having “invaded foreign waters” in search of ever more tuna for insatiable diners. That brought a sharp rebuke from former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York. “I’ve heard some pretty absurd explanations for the attack, but not that one,” Mr. Giuliani said.
Still, “this is a very, very serious problem,” he said, “and I don’t want to minimize how very, very important it is.
“But trust me, Sept. 11 was a lot worse.”
Well played, NYT. So well played, in fact, that some folks bought it hook, line, and sinker.