Humorist Dave Barry for president? of UF?


Dave Barry, a Pultizer Prize-winning columnist and author with the Miami Herald, performs for a crowd during "An Evening With Dave Barry," a benefit event for Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, held at the Santa Fe College Fine Arts Hall in Gainesville on Saturday.

Brad McClenny/ Staff photographer
Published: Saturday, August 25, 2012 at 9:53 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, August 25, 2012 at 9:53 p.m.

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney aren't the only candidates for president of the United States. Humor writer Dave Barry is, too, and he is aiming to please.

A key to his candidacy?

"I agree with you on everything," he told a Gainesville crowd Saturday night. "If you change your mind, let me know."

The Miami resident whose column is syndicated nationwide entertained a nearly full house at the Santa Fe College Fine Arts Hall at a fundraiser for Meridian Behavioral Healthcare.

Politics, his experiences as a journalist and the quirks of Miami were the dominant themes of his talk.

The choice between Democrat incumbent Obama and Republican Romney is like a choice between ointment and suppositories, Barry said, adding that he will be going to the Republican National Convention this week in Tampa and to the Democrats' gathering the week after in Charlotte, N.C.

"When you watch them on TV, you think they are pointless and stupid," Barry said of conventions. "But when you go to them, you see they are even more pointless and stupid than you thought."

In case Barry isn't elected, he indicated he would consider another presidency, noting that he just learned a search is on for a new University of Florida leader.

"How hard can it be?" he said. "It's not like coaching football."

Barry gave the audience a briefing on life in Miami. It has lousy drivers, lots of old people and old people who are lousy drivers.

"It is the only place I've ever lived where the driver's manual shows you how to give the middle finger," Barry said.

He added that Miami's older drivers "sometimes get two Oldsmobiles and weld them together" and that "Miami leads the world in a certain kind of accident, the kind of accident where a motorist drives into a building."

Barry also spoke about how he once embarrassed his young son by picking him up from school in an Oscar Mayer Wienermobile and how he was once pulled aside after a body scan in Miami International Airport because he had a "blurred groin."

"You don't want to find that out in the airport," he said.

This year marks Meridian Behavioral Health's 40th anniversary, said Sherry Houston, Meridian vice president for advancement. The agency, which provides mental health and substance abuse treatment for the disadvantaged, has brought in speakers for other fundraising eventsm but Barry is one of the biggest names, she said. The money raised will be used for Meridian's various programs.

Barry was chosen for the event because of his popularity and his intellect, Houston said.

"He is a humorist, and everyone needs to laugh and feel good," Houston said. "He's a very intellectual man, and we are a very intellectual community."

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