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Today, at 6 p.m. Eastern time, is the deadline for you to send in your Electoral Vote predictions for Obama and Romney. It is a strict deadline, but worth it. The winner gets a Political Junkie t-shirt!
Of course, you can also get a shirt by solving this week's ScuttleButton puzzle, but the odds are much steeper. But you have several days to send in your answer for that one.
ScuttleButton, of course, is that once-a-week waste of time exercise in which each Monday or Tuesday I put up a vertical display of buttons on this site. Your job is to simply take one word (or concept) per button, add 'em up, and, hopefully, you will arrive at a famous name or a familiar expression. (And seriously, by familiar, I mean it's something that more than one person on Earth would recognize.)
For years, a correct answer chosen at random would get his or her name posted in this column, an incredible honor in itself. Now the stakes are even higher. Thanks to the efforts of the folks at Talk of the Nation, that person also hears their name mentioned on the Wednesday show (by me) and receives a Political Junkie t-shirt in the bargain. Is this a great country or what?
You can't use the comments box at the bottom of the page for your answer. Send submission (plus your name and city/state — you won't win without that) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Why do people keep forgetting to include their name and city/state?)
And, by adding your name to the Political Junkie mailing list, you will be among the first on your block to receive notice about the column and the puzzle. Sign up at email@example.com. Or you can make sure to get an automatic RSS feed whenever a new Junkie post goes up by clicking here.
By the way, I always announce the winner on Wednesday's Junkie segment on TOTN — eight days after the puzzle goes up. So you should try and get your answer in as soon as possible. But logistically, you have about a week to submit your guess.
Here are the buttons used and the answer to last week's puzzle:
Don't Mess With Gray/Vote No on the Recall — California Gov. Gray Davis, his head affixed to Arnold Schwarzenegger's body on this button, was recalled from office in 2003.
Huck Hound for Vice President — He never actually ran. For one thing, he's a cartoon character.
Wallace (standing in front of a school bus) — Alabama Gov. George Wallace, a foe of integration and school busing, made a third bid for the presidency in 1972. He was shot in an assassination attempt while in Maryland campaigning for the Democratic nomination.
So, when you combine Gray + Hound + Bus, you may just very well end up with ...
Greyhound Bus. About 85% of those who sent in answers hated this puzzle. The remaining 20% said they were happy with an easy puzzle for a change.
This week's winner, chosen completely at random, is ... Ethan Magoc of Gainesville, Fla. Ethan will get a Political Junkie t-shirt.
And don't forget to check out this week's Political Junkie column, which focuses on the history of presidential debates ... and when they did, and did not, make a difference in the final outcome. Click here to read the column.