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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (CAP) - Looking to double down on her controversial Gas Tax Holiday proposal, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton stunned health experts by today with her proposal to force every state to suspend cigarette taxes for the summer as well.
The "Where There's Smoke There's Mirrors" proposal would eliminate the national average of $2.50 per pack tax and comes after Clinton tried to solidify her standing in North Carolina and Indiana with white, working-class voters who drive big trucks and like to watch NASCAR.
The brushback was swift with former Surgeon General C. Everett Coop issuing a statement from his current office at the Dartmouth Medical School: "At just the time when we should be looking to reduce dependency on a product, this is a proposal that would encourage consumption of it. It is pandering of the worst kind. Then again, that probably means it will work."
Clinton called the expert and scientific analysis "elitist" and said she was speaking to the "real Americans who ignore such things."
"Well, you know, my opponent is probably headed out to San Francisco later today to drink wine with rich people and talk about how us ordinary folk cling to our religion and guns," she told a group of supporters as she puffed on a Marlboro while standing next to her 10-car motorcade of idling SUVs at a rest stop outside Raleigh. "He doesn't understand what people like us go through every day to feed our families and how we like to relax after a long day on the job.
"Like me, for instance tonight, I plan to head home, kick off my work boots, down a couple of shots of Jack Daniels and watch Smarter Than A Fifth Grader. And you know what? I won't know the answers because I am not smarter than a fifth grader. My opponent thinks he is smarter than a fifth grader. He thinks he knows everything about how you should run your lives."
As aides frantically tries to get Clinton back into her vehicle, she resisted and continued on her rant.
"And after some good, sincere laughs from Foxworthy, I sometimes like to grab a six pack out of the man fridge in the cellar and head out back with my .12-gauge and shoot things. That's what my opponent doesn't understand. Americans like to shoot things. It's not because they're bitter. It's because they like to shoot things."
Fact checking Web sites immediately charged that Clinton does not own work boots, a man fridge, a shotgun, has never actually fired a gun and has no hunting grounds behind her Westchester home, yet she remained on message and suggested changing the Great Depression Era-slogan Brother, can you spare a dime? to Brother, can I get a light? through the August convention.
While Barack Obama declined to respond to what he called "another gimmick," Michelle Obama did react to the belief the "Smoke 'em if you got 'em" speech could put Clinton over the top in North Carolina.
"I think I am back to being not so proud of my country anymore," she sighed.
Reached at a campaign stop talking at a sirority pajama party at an all-girls school in rural Indiana, President Clinton said the tax break would not necessarily make him more apt to smoke a cigarette.
"I've always been more partial to cigars anyway," he said sheepishly.
Sources say Clinton plans to actually bring the Tobacco Tax Holiday to a vote on the Senate floor, along with her Gas Tax Holiday and Oil Company Windfall Profits Tax proposals, as soon as she catches Obama in the number of states won and the pledged delegate count.
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