WASHINGTON DC - Engaged a relentless battle against time and fatigue, a select group of message scientists assembled by the White House's Center for Narrative Control say they will take "all steps necessary" to contain a recent outbreak of scrutonium, a deadly poll-eating supervirus that attacks the immuno-hope system, leaving victims vulnerable to material facts.
"Failure is simply not an option," said an exhausted Mission Chief David Axelrod. "If left unchecked, this virus may actually force us to move back to Chicago."
The recent re-infection of scrutonium into the body politic has been a harrowing turn of fortune for Axlerod and his scientific team. In November 2008, they had declared scrutonium "all but extinct," although they kept small amounts of the strain for use in laboratory experiments with Republican tax returns. It was thought to be in containment as recently as five weeks ago, with scientists citing poll results showing resistance to doses of unemployment previously considered fatal.
All that changed on September 12 after an unexpected outbreak in Benghazi, Libya. Although it caught Axlerod and his team by surprise, they were temporarily able to keep it under control with a regimen of YouTube blame therapy and gaffe-meme injections. But the new Benghazi strain proved stubbornly resistant, and has continued to slowly spread.
Amid their battle to contain the Benghazi strain, a second - and even more deadly - outbreak appeared in Denver on October 3. Nicknamed "the Doomsday Strain", the Denver scrutonium virus has thusfar been impervious to any attempt at containment.
"We're dealing with the ultimate buzzkiller here," said Senior Narrative Engineer Stephanie Cutter. "This one directly attacks voters' ability to hallucinate happy thoughts, or even ignore the obvious - no matter how many squirrels we innoculate them with."
Despite all-out efforts to contain the virus, by Friday daily internal gauge readings at CNC headquarters indicated a public opinion disaster was in the making. In order to buy time, Axlerod called on reserves from the 101st Media Narrative Squadron.
"With a virus this aggressive, you need boots on the ground to help fight any new outbreak and sterilize the area with distractions," said CNC jounalistic affairs liaison David Plouffe. "Luckily, the 101st is highly trained, unquestioningly loyal, and completely immune to all known post-2008 strains of scrutonium."
"That Mitt Romney sure seemed awful testy, didn't he?" said hazmat-suit clad Lt. Ben Smith of the 101st's Politico Company, sweeping the rubble of Denver for trace readings of scrutonium.
While Smith and others work around the clock to quarantine the virus, Axlerod and his team remain deep beneath the White House in a specially constructed containment laboratory, racing to find a cure before it has a chance to wipe out Washington as we know it. Although all their experiments have thusfar proven unsuccessful, Axlerod refuses to concede.
"If I've learned anything in this job, it's that hope is a strategy," he said, wiping flopsweat from his combover.
"For instance, maybe Joe Biden will find a cure Wednesday night," he added.