The White Shoe Irregular:
It was fun while it lasted.

Campaign 2000: The Elvis National Party, Part IV — Elvis Party Rocked by Scandal, Elvis Concedes Defeat

Ryan Hamilton

[Redactor's Note: This is the fourth and final installment in an ongoing series of pieces dedicated to a lesser-known political faction participating in this year's campaign. If you have not done so, you may wish to read Part I, Part II, and Part III.]

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — Elvis National Party presidential candidate Elvis Jerome Presley made his first public appearance this afternoon since the news of his checkered past surfaced early Monday morning. After canceling two last-minute campaign stops in Virginia and North Carolina yesterday, Presley held a press conference today, making indirect mention of the allegations, and ultimately, conceding his defeat in today's election.

"It's been a wild ride, and I don't regret a single turn," said Presley before a group of the press and party faithful. "I have made mistakes in the past, and for these I apologize. But I have done my best to learn from these, and not to repeat them." These comments were the only reference to the story that made national headlines early Monday morning. According to a firsthand account, backed by several still photographs and a short video clip, Elvis Jerome Presley worked for a few weeks in 1976 as an Elton John impersonator. The news that Eee-Jay had actually traded in his large, sequined, black-tinted Elvis glasses for large, sequined, pink-tinted Elton John glasses caused his already dwindling support to nearly evaporate.

Elvis party leadership held a protest rally at the gates of Graceland. "Elton John? Elton John? He's like the anti-Elvis," said auto mechanic and West Virginia Elvis Party President Edison Holt. "I've stood with him through everything else, but this is just too much. What if he were elected? What could I tell my son? As a political figure, you set yourself up to be an example to this nation's children." Holt said that his wife was the Charleston, West Virginia president of Mothers Against Elton John.

In a press release from the Elvis camp issued just moments before Presley spoke, Eee-Jay's chief of staff, Elaine Ray, railed against what pundits are calling "Elton-gate" as a purely political attack. "The timing of this is absolutely indicative of partisan mud slinging, and the media should be ashamed of the way it has lapped this up and blown it completely out of proportion," said Ray. "We can only hope that the American people will recognize this for the dirty politicking that it is, and not reward it in the voting booths."

The story was leaked to the Washington Post by Harold Baggette, an outspoken proponent of the Wayne Newton for President movement. He says that he offered to let the Newton camp break the story, but they refused. Mr. Newton has since condemned the action as inappropriate. When asked about the timing of the release, Baggette said simply, "I thought the American people had a right to know."

Regardless of who is to blame, the timing of this latest scandal has all but killed the hopes of getting an Elvis into the oval office after today's election. It was only last week that DNA tests proved a forty-five-year-old, five-foot five-inch, dark-skinned man from Montana was not, as he had initially claimed, the real Elvis Aron Presley. The false Elvis, whose real name is Maneesh Bhattacharia, grabbed much of the national spotlight in the weeks following his press conference demanding to be the Elvis Party's candidate for president, even though Elvis had been widely considered to be dead since 1977. Mr. Bhattacharia may soon be facing federal election fraud charges.

In his press conference today, Elvis Jerome Presley said that he was trying to step down with grace and dignity. "It is my hope to shore up as much of my support as I can today, because four years from now I hope to be standing here delivering a very different speech. I want to thank my supporters, and assure them all that I will be back. But for now, I'm afraid, Elvis has left the building."