By Ben Fractenberg and Nicole Bode
TIMES SQUARE — The Naked Cowboy made a naked bid for power on Wednesday when he announced he was running for president of the United States in 2012 on the Tea Party platform.
Robert John Burck, whose current day job entails standing in the middle of Times Square wearing nothing but his tighty whities and a guitar, cut a very different image in Times Square Wednesday when the suit-clad entertainer stood behind a podium and held forth on his thoughts on everything from the Ground Zero mosque to gay marriage during the first official announcement of his candidacy.
"I am not a Republican. I am not a Democrat. I am an American," said Burck, who ditched his trademark uniform of white underwear and a 10-gallon hat for a suit and tie, "I’ll do everything I can to get into the office…I’ve got 24 hours a day to devote myself to this proposal."
Burck said he admired the Tea Party as "the only legitimate grassroots movement" in politics, and said he preferred them to the "dinosaur establishment" in the Democratic party and the Republican party, of which he is a registered member in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Burck’s announcement was greeted with a range of indifference to outright hostility from those at the press conference, including one reporter who asked him if he was wearing a codpiece in his pants.
"No time for games…I am clearly serious," Burck told the crowd, "If I don’t get one vote but I make it clear what America is about, I have done my job."
Burck was flanked by on-again, off-again girlfriend Cynthia Fox, who he called his "future first lady" Wednesday despite the fact that the couple split in March after a 5 1/2 year relationship, citing "irreconcilable differences."
Burck ducked questions about how he would juggle the duties of the highest office in the nation with his duties to the throngs of tourists in the Crossroads of the World, saying, "that’s my business, I will handle that."
Burke would not comment when asked if he planned to share the title of "Naked Cowboy" with Obama if he bested him at the polls.