President George W. Bush announced today that he would no longer preside over so-called town hall meetings across the United States and that those duties would now be outsourced to a “presidential customer service representative” stationed in Bangalore, India.

The controversial decision to outsource town hall meetings to India was not motivated by the increasingly acrimonious tone of citizens’ questions in recent weeks, the president said.

“This move is designed to free up my time for other duties, such as wiretapping the American people at random,” Mr. Bush said.

At a town hall meeting today in Dayton, Ohio, attendees were surprised to be greeted not by the president but instead by a speaker box onstage leading them through a series of automated prompts.

“Say ‘1’ if you want to ask about the economy, say ‘2’ if you want to ask about the war on terror, and say ‘3’ if you want to ask about the prescription drug plan,” the speaker box said.

The town hall meeting was then conducted by a disembodied voice that identified itself only as “Rajiv” and attempted to answer the audience’s questions on a host of issues.

CNN’s Lou Dobbs, usually an outspoken critic of outsourcing, said that the president’s decision to outsource town hall meetings to India was a rare case when outsourcing worked: “For one thing, Rajiv’s English is better than his.”

Elsewhere, a prison guard who used a snarling dog to intimidate prisoners at Abu Ghraib was given a six-month sentence, and the snarling dog has been transferred to work for White House press spokesman Scott McClellan.

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