In what insiders described as a heated, occasionally testy Oval Office meeting, President George W. Bush today pressed Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke for a 1 percentage point increase in his approval rating.

With the president’s approval rating sinking below 30% for the first time in his presidency to an all-time low of 29%, Mr. Bush felt that urgent action needed to be taken to boost his sagging statistic.

For that reason, he took the extraordinary step of pulling Mr. Bernanke out of a Fed meeting on inflation and summoning him to the White House to demand that his approval rating be hiked by 100 basis points, or 1 percentage point.

While presidents in the past have leaned on the nation’s central banker to move interest rates up or down, Mr. Bush’s action is believed to be the first time that a Fed chief has been called upon to manipulate a president’s approval rating.

But at the White House today, Mr. Bush defended the move, telling reporters, “It’s time to start thinking outside the box.”

For his part, Mr. Bernanke seemed cool to the president’s argument, issuing the following official statement: “The chairman of the Federal Reserve can change the course of interest rates, but he does not control the world.”

Soon after Mr. Bernanke issued his statement, the president offered his own terse response: “Alan Greenspan could.”

Elsewhere, after scientists said that chimps and humans are more closely related than originally thought, the National Security Agency announced that it would begin eavesdropping on chimps.

Award-winning humorist, television personality and film actor Andy Borowitz is author of the new book “The Borowitz Report: The Big Book of Shockers.” To find out more about Andy Borowitz and read his past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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