NEW YORK— As evidenced by the hundreds of newspaper clippings of various presidential candidates glued to his bedroom walls and ceiling, Vietnam veteran Dale Patrick Seaver, 52, is clearly an informed voter. But after watching over 50 debates, countless speeches, and nonstop campaign coverage at "all hours of the night," this presidential assassin has not yet decided who his choice will be in November.
"Usually I know well in advance who I want to win," the Bronx resident said while assembling his M40 United States Marine Corp standard-issue sniper rifle. "But there are just too many good choices—a black man, a woman, and a war hero who frequently advocates sending my brothers straight back into death's cold embrace."
"This would be so much easier if [John] Edwards was still running," Seaver added. "He has such a nice smile and the angels told me through the radio that he must be destroyed."
According to a CBS News /New York Times poll, Seaver is not alone. Of the nearly 600 undecided assassins who responded to the poll, 37 percent said they strongly favor either Sen. Hilary Clinton (D-NY) or Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) to win. Nearly 22 percent reported that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) would be an excellent choice based on such key factors as his immobility, his inability to raise his arms above his head to shield his face, and his stance on campaign-finance reform. The remaining 40 percent responded that, due to growing disillusionment with the voting system and unsatisfying platforms from all the frontrunners, they would be happy to shoot any one of the candidates through the chest and throat from an abandoned factory.
One assassin told pollsters that he is still hopeful that Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) will be elected in November. However, even if Paul fails to win the presidency, the respondent fully intends to carry out his plans to stab Paul to death in December.
While a majority of the nation's assassins remain uncommitted, some political analysts believe they have begun leaning toward a candidate. Clinton remains a favorite among white assassins over 50 and a small but loyal commune of supporters hiding out in rural Colorado. But some speculate that Obama may be able to surpass her with his cross-demographic appeal.
"Barack Obama is the most charismatic leader we've seen since John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy—even Martin Luther King, Jr. for that matter," said 47-year-old mail clerk David Silas Weiss, who spoke with a pronounced stutter. "When someone like him is able to capture the hearts and minds of an entire generation so much so that their untimely passing would cause a nationwide decay of youthful idealism—well, it's our responsibility as informed voters to splatter his brains all over the place."
Weiss went on to say he believes Obama is the "only candidate out there" whose death can consummate his blood-marriage to actress Christina Ricci.
Though the prospect of a brief Obama White House is attractive to many assassins, NBC political analyst Andrea Mitchell has predicted that the historical significance of electing and then assassinating the first female president could be this year's unifying issue among the group. She also projected that Sen. John McCain's poll numbers would slip during the general campaign as more and more trained killers become better acquainted with the nominee.
"Historically, assassins vote for the candidate whose death is capable of plunging the nation into a crippling malaise," Mitchell said. "With that said, McCain really doesn't have a chance in November. However, this voting bloc is extremely volatile. Even after all the ballots are cast and there's a new president in the White House, it's nearly impossible to tell what is going through their heads."
At least one voter has made his decision. Gerald W.P. Krepps, a 32-year-old librarian from Orlando, FL, said he respects McCain's strong convictions and can tell the senator is doing his best to reach out to the nation's assassins.
"McCain doesn't skirt around the issues or avoid controversial topics," Krepps said. "He's said in no uncertain terms that he has a decisive plan to win the war in Iraq and promises to hold still during all public speaking engagements."
Added Krepps, "It's all right there in the first and fourth letters of every third word of his speech transcripts."
Though plenty of time remains, the primaries have proved that all the candidates can inspire a record turnout among a demographic that typically prefers to stay inside their dark, dank apartments. Clinton and Obama in particular continue to motivate a younger generation who, for the first time in their lives, are actually thinking about going out and registering an automatic weapon.
"Whether you are a 38-year-old man receiving instructions from television test patterns, a loner college student disillusioned with a morally bankrupt world, or a homeless woman caught up in blinding hysteria, I am counting on your support," Sen. Clinton said to a group of would-be assassin voters in Youngstown, OH last Sunday. "I will make this pledge each and every American: If you make me your president, even for just a few seconds, I will proudly let you blow my brains out."