ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF: Mr. President, we need to talk about your nose.
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My nose. What the hell’s wrong with my nose?
ACOS: It’s not the nose itself, not your physical nose.
POTUS: Well, that’s a relief. I have enough trouble with the hair without adding the nose. Why do we need to talk about my nose?
ACOS: When you make a speech…
POTUS: Good speeches. Great speeches. Most people like my speeches.
ACOS: I’m sure they do, Mr. President, but…
POTUS: But what? Can you get to the point?
ACOS: People can hear you inhaling.
POTUS: What are you talking about?
ACOS: You read a few words from the teleprompter…
POTUS: I hate that thing. I feel like my eyes are glued in place. I must look like a statue. Or a TV freeze-frame.
ACOS: Mr. President, it’s not the teleprompter.
POTUS: Then what is it? My nose? Are you crazy? I have a great nose. Women like my nose.
ACOS: You read a few words, then sometimes look up or not. But when you pause to take a breath, we can hear it.
POTUS: You can hear me take a breath? What do you mean by that?
ACOS: We hear air sucking into your lungs.
POTUS: You can hear that? Every time I take a breath?
ACOS: Yes, every time. Words, then this sucking sound, more words, then the sucking sound.
POTUS: You’re sure everyone can hear it?
ACOS: Yes. Communications checked with home reception. Everyone heard it.
POTUS: Well, is it bad? Is it so bad I need to be talking to you about it?
ACOS: Look at it this way. It draws attention away from your message.
POTUS: Great message. My speeches will go down in history as the greatest speeches any president has ever given. Do you know that?
ACOS: Do I know it? Well…
POTUS: Do you know it or not? Why do you have to think so much to give me an answer?
They’re great or they’re not great. Simple answer.
ACOS: They’re great, Mr. President.
POTUS: You mean it?
ACOS: Of course. Do you think I’d lie to you?
POTUS: You lie to me?
ACOS: Yes. You know. Tell you something I don’t believe.
POTUS: I know what lying is.
ACOS: No argument with that, Mr. President.
POTUS: What does that mean? You don’t have to agree so readily. With so much energy.
ACOS: I just want you to know how on target you are.
POTUS: I’m not sure I like that. So this breathing.
ACOS: You might use the word ‘gasping.’
POTUS: ‘Gasping?’ What does that mean?
ACOS: Well, you know when you, or anyone, has done something strenuous, they are out of breath. So when they try to get their breath back, they gasp. It’s loud. It’s…
POTUS: Good grief, I know what gasping is. So when I deliver a speech, between words, I’m sucking air and that sounds like gasping?
ACOS: Loudly enough for the microphones to pick it up.
POTUS: Is it bad?
POTUS: Bad. Negative. Takes away from the effect of the speech?
ACOS: To me, it does.
POTUS: To you? No, I mean to the American people. Do you think most people don’t like this, what you call, gasping?
ACOS: We haven’t taken a poll on it.
POTUS: No poll? That’s too bad. Gasping? You need to do a poll.
ACOS: Yes, Mr. President.