Much can be gleaned from the cabinet appointments following an incoming president’s election day triumph. But until now, perhaps the most revealing presidential selection has been concealed from the public.
Friends, gorge on this feast of truth: Since 1957, each commander-in-chief has been allowed to request the construction of a personal presidential robot. A First Robot, if you will.
My anonymous source for this information, a veteran lab technician within the federally run Sandia National Laboratories, says President-elect Obama has yet to submit a robot request. But my source has shared with me remarkable details of past presidents’ automaton selections.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
The beginning of the tradition: During Eisenhower’s second term, this pro-nuke president requested a small, bipedal, nuclear-powered robot to bring his policy of deterrence to a personal level. Unfortunately for Eisenhower, the incomplete atomic robot and its plans were destroyed by a crazed ex-military operative (known only as “Snake”) who sneaked into the research facility in a cardboard box.
Nixon requested a small, highly advanced surveillance robot, capable of transmitting audio and video feeds to remote recording devices. Oddly enough, the president asked for the insect-sized droid to be programmed to monitor and record his own actions. Researchers complied, acknowledging the request as a harmless bit of vanity.
Engineers had little trouble fulfilling Reagan’s request for “one of those cute little trash-can robots from the spaceman movies.” The resulting machine could do little more than move and emit beeps of varying pitch, but sources say Reagan spent hours alone with the robot in the Oval Office, where he could often be overheard making warbling sound effects and delivering lengthy, Shatner-esque monologues.
Clinton’s request for a robotic version of himself, except with female genitalia and a “softer mouth” baffled government scientists, but they produced a semi-convincing likeness nonetheless. When asked for his reasoning, the president claimed the design was “for Hillary.”
George W. Bush
Robotics experts fretted for months over Bush’s demands for “a real life Gobot. Like an Optimus Prime-type deal. But this one turns into a pickup truck.” After many failed prototypes, scientists gave up and presented Bush with a Roomba. He loved it. •