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Mitt, Newt, meet Marvin the puppet, a rival and poseur

January 25, 2012 |  6:00 am


Attention, GOP voters: Are you sick of Mitt and Newt? Meet Marvin E. Quasniki. He’s a puppet. Not a puppet of interest groups -- a real puppet.

Quasniki, the creation of the Jim Henson Co., which gave us the Muppets, has starred in a series of YouTube videos. Though he's not on the ballot in any state, he's won tens of thousands of clicks -- and an interview with a real newspaper reporter.

In his presidential campaign announcement, the bespectacled, bolo-tied, bulbous-nosed puppet says he’s a “turquoise farmer” from Tonopah, Nev.,  a blip of a town between Reno and Vegas where local inmates shovel driveways and dig graves. No, really.

“It just seems amazing to me that the state that produced legalized prostitution can’t produce a president,” Quasniki said in a recent interview with Karoun Demirjian, the Las Vegas Sun’s Washington correspondent, who tried mightily to keep a straight face.

To his credit, Quasniki has a more discernible political philosophy than many a lawmaker: He's arguably as libertarian as Ron Paul, who has a fervent following in Nevada. The puppet’s solution to healthcare issues? “Don’t get sick.”

Like Mitt Romney, who touts his abilities as a job creator, Quasniki’s solution to Nevada’s moribund economy is for government to get out of the way. But in his view, that means state leaders should drop their long-standing opposition to the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump.

“Nevada should become the state of, ‘Yeah, we’ll do that!’ ” the puppet told Demirjian. “Give us your nuclear crap … and maybe we’ll get the aliens from Area 51 to sort of supervise the whole thing.”

Quasniki appears less comfortable talking about religion than Rick Santorum, who appeals to social conservatives. The puppet scoffed at the idea that God had ever nudged a politician to run for office, as Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle once claimed. If God did approach him, Quasniki said in a video, “I’d say, ‘You get back to work, God! Be thankful you have a job!’ ”

But the GOP candidate Quasniki might most resemble in temperament is Newt Gingrich, who has shown a certain deftness in handling hot-potato questions. (Ahem, open marriage.) In a video where Quasniki glad-handed voters in Los Angeles, a woman asked him about healthcare.

“You know, that’s a very complicated issue,” the puppet replied. “I think the best way for me to answer that is to pretend I didn’t hear the question.”


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-- Ashley Powers in Las Vegas

Video: Puppet Marvin E. Quasniki hobnobs with voters. Credit: YouTube