Obama Comes to Brooklyn, Visits Hotel Ballroom
So Barack Obama came to Brooklyn last night, and it’s a funny thing: Turns out Barack in Brooklyn looks a hell of a lot like Barack anywhere else. They couldn’t have done this by the bridge? Or the Cyclone? Or with a hot dog in his hand? Disappointing.
Who’s Supporting Brooklyn-Bound Obama?
Barack Obama is in Brooklyn for a fund-raiser tonight, and we were curious who — in addition to Caroline Giuliani, of course — might be turning out. So we looked to mybarackobama.com, where we discovered all sorts of affinity groups for supporters of the Illinois senator. There’s Burners for Barack (for Burning Man attendees) and Octogenarians for Obama (“We are never too old to back Barack”). There are groups for Final Fantasy fans (they plan to “fight back against the Shinra companies of our world” via Obama) and flight attendants vowing to harness their “unique ability to fly around easily” to spread the word. There are spiritualists and psychic mediums who “emphatically believe” that Barack’s the man for the job and Prince Fans for Obama, who believe he “upholds the ideals” of the singer and that “if Prince wasn’t apathetic towards voting due to his religion, he would vote for Barack Obama.” Ballers for Obama are planning three-on-three basketball tournaments to help raise cash for the campaign, and Canadians like him, even though they can’t vote. And then, of course, there’s NYC 4 Obama. “We have a lot of really serious supporters here as well,” insisted Molly Lombardi, spokesman for that group. —Janelle Nanos
Jack Bauer Does Not Heart HuckabeeReading today’s coverage of the Republican straw poll at the Iowa State Fair yesterday, we were struck by the utter ridiculousness of the system: Voters have to pay to vote, campaigns often pick up the tab for their supporters, Mitt Romney spent the most money, and the winner was — would you believe? — Mitt Romney. We were also struck by Mike Huckabee, the formerly fat former Arkansas governor who somehow impressed the political commentariat by coming in a distant second to Romney, with a whopping 2,587 votes. Thing is, we realized, Mike Huckabee can never become president. He’s clearly 24’s traitorous, murderous (and perhaps murdered) President Charles Logan. And that dude’s First Lady is crazy.
For a Joke-Telling Candidate, a Second-Place Finish [NYT]
Std Clr of Clsg Dors, Pls
• In the wake of the Great Subway Flood, city-council members are demanding that the MTA spend some $300 million to provide cell service on subway platforms — so that the transit agency can send riders jumbled, unintelligible text messages in the event of delays. [Metro NY]
‘Voice’ Undercuts Giuliani’s Entire Candidacy, No One NoticesThis week’s Village Voice — yeah, we’re a day late, but, be honest, it’s not like you’ve read it already — carries a cover story by Voice vet and professional Giuliani antagonist Wayne Barrett titled “Rudy Giuliani’s Five Big Lies About 9/11.” In it, Barrett examines a speech the former mayor delivered in Maryland two months ago, arguing that he had the most and best terrorism-fighting experience of any candidate for president. But Barrett isn’t buying Giuliani’s claims; in fact, he says they’re a bunch of lies. How so?
Fun With Fundrace: Park Slope for Obama, ‘Burg for Hillary, Batali for John Edwards, and More
We told you yesterday about Fundrace 2008, the fun new feature on the Huffington Post that lets you track people’s political contributions by name or by neighborhood. What we didn’t expect was that the thing would prove terribly addictive. Here’s a sampling of what we found after a full day of playing with it:
• Completely random celeb-name search reveals Mario Batali’s $1,000 contribution to John Edwards (as well as the chef’s home address), Tommy Hilfiger’s $2,300 donation to Barack Obama, and the supposedly apolitical Sandy Weill’s $4,600 gift to Hillary Clinton.
Ba Ba Ba, Ba BarbaraleeHollywood players like Ben Stiller, Toby Maguire, and Steven Spielberg can’t figure out which Democrat to support for president, so they’re donating to multiple ones. (Tom Hanks, Will Smith, and Jennifer Aniston, however, are firmly in Camp Obama.) Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel was passed over for appointment as executive director of New York State Council of the Arts, perhaps because she has donated money to Spitzer, who’s now trying to look ethically pure. Gwen Stefani loves breast-feeding even though she’s been getting bitten. Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz refused to be photographed with their KY Intimacy Kit swag bags at Lollapalooza because they were scared of Joe Simpson. Tracy Morgan wants to get his SCRAM ankle bracelet “blinged out” at Jacob the Jeweler.
HuffPost Launches Fundrace, Reveals Campaign SecretsAnd the campaign-financing race just got much more fun. The Huffington Post launched its Fundrace 2008 database today, on which you can look up which presidential candidates are milking your friends and neighbors for money, and exactly how much of it. It also includes the very popular neighborhood feature, where you can see whether that dude who sells dime bags in your entryway is actually a junkie for Joe Biden. After some quick scans, we’re delighted with this year’s results so far. For example, in the opportunely named “Chelsea-Clinton” 10001 Zip Code, John Edwards is a surprise favorite. (Explain that, Jodi Kantor.) And among fancy Upper East Siders with 10021 addresses, Hillary is exactly twice as popular as Rudy — and that’s where he lives. Maybe his neighbors don’t like the cigar smoke?
Fundrace 2008 [HuffPo]
Follow the E-mail
• The Post, in another damning Spitzer exclusive (it’s almost as if someone well connected in Albany hated the governor!), claims the administration is hiding a trove of private scandal-related e-mails, which Attorney General Cuomo, lacking subpoena power, didn’t get. [NYP]
Hamptons Turning on Hillary?Hillary Clinton, her husband, and her fund-raisers are heading to the fertile grounds of the East End this weekend, where it’s expected her campaign will rake in as much as $1 million in just three days. Saturday’s the big day, with a pancake breakfast at Alan Patricof’s house (for $1,000-plus a head), a Bill-only cocktail luncheon at Dottie Herman’s place ($2,000 a head, or $3,000 per couple), and dinner at Ronald Perelman’s ($4,600 a head). There are also other lesser events at Friday night and Sunday, some with price tags as low as a mere $250. With numbers like that, you’d think everyone out there loves her. But you’d be wrong: Witness this week’s Independent, which bills itself as serving East Hampton, Southampton, Riverhead, Southold, and Shelter Island. The small type reads, “Hillary to Leave Hamptons With Close to a Million, Leaving Local Democrats With Zilch.” Which prompts a question: Were Manhattan moneybags like Alan Patricof and Ronald Perelman previously in the habit of giving to Suffolk County Dems? We’re skeptical.
Related: Hillary Hampton ‘07
Wham, Bam, Thank You, Ma’am [The Independent]
These Ten People Want to Make Bloomberg PresidentIf it’s Tuesday night at seven, then it’s time for a weekly organizational meeting of the New York City Chapter of the Committee to Draft Michael Bloomberg. And last night, Karin Gallet, the New York chapter’s mastermind and newsletter writer, sipped an Amstel Light as she ran the group’s fourth meeting at the Old Town Bar. A grand total of nine people joined her, and she set a stark goal: to collect 15,000 signatures on a “Draft Mike” petition by Christmas. (Only 1,500 per person!) Cue the jaunty, let’s-get-to-work montage.
Giuliani Backs Hillary — and He MatchesRudy Giuliani is supporting Hillary Clinton — at least in her mini-feud with Barack Obama over whether the two Democratic presidential candidates would meet with the leaders of hostile foreign countries. (Obama said he would; Clinton said she’d be reluctant.) “I’d say don’t count on Fidel Castro being invited to the White House if I’m president,” Giuliani told us at the Super Saturday shopping benefit for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund over the weekend. “As I understood [Obama’s] statement, he’s either going to invite to Washington or meet somewhere else the head of Cuba, who would be Castro, and the head of Iran, who is Ahmadinejad. That’s quite a crew. I don’t know that I would want to meet with them. Some people you just don’t meet with if they’re going to use that to propagate their own propaganda. I thought Hillary Clinton was on the right side of that.” Giuliani was at the Water Mill event with his wife, Judi, who he said was the shopper in the family. “I shop for limited items: golf clubs, books,” he said. Fashion is his wife’s department. “She tells me if the colors work or the shirt looks nice,” he explained. So do the colors work, Judi? “He doesn’t make any mistakes,” she said, campaigningly. “He’s Rudy Giuliani!” —Jada Yuan
Kelly Ripa, Donna Karan and Mandy Moore were also at Super Saturday. For complete pictures and quotes, read Party Lines.
President Bush and His Toy Car
The front page of yesterday’s Times offered a photo of President Bush and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown merrily golf-carting around Camp David. We glanced at the shot, amused by the cowboy president’s attempt to do his squinty-eyed tough-guy look while piloting a conveyance most often used on the manicured fairways of Shinnecock or in the retirement communities of Boca. We were about to flip the page when we noticed something: A placard on the front of the vehicle labels it “Golf Cart One.” We chuckled to ourselves, and we thought that it’s sort of the perfect presidential vehicle for this particular commander-in- chief, for his underpowered golf cart of a presidency. Then we got worried; were we being unfair? Perhaps this isn’t Bush obnoxious frat-boy humor (“I’m the president, and it’s my golf cart, so it’s Golf Cart One. Heh heh heh.”) but rather a longstanding tradition. So we asked President Clinton’s spokesman. Did that administration, too, call the presidential scooter “Golf Cart One”? The e-mailed reply came late in the day: “Nope.” Good.
• With the Spitzer camp circling the wagons, it’s Joe Bruno’s hour, and he’s taking full advantage of it: The State Senate leader called for multiple investigations into the administration, vowing, “This is not going to go away.” [NYP]
A Spitzer Stonewall?
• The Spitzer mess is getting, well, messier. Turns out two of guv’s closest aides, including his chief of staff (who still has his job), stonewalled Cuomo’s probe, which doesn’t quite jibe with Spitzer’s claims of full cooperation. [NYP]
• Police-shooting victim Sean Bell’s fiancée and two friends have sued the NYPD for wrongful death, civil-rights violations, false arrest, and emotional distress; the suit names all five officers who were on the scene, including two who were cleared of wrongdoing. [Reuters]
• Because more than 24 hours have passed without any agonizing over Bloomberg’s presidential plans and how they might affect the race, you’ll be happy to know he’s registered the domain mike2008.com (while continuing to maintain full deniability). [NYDN]
• Shocker: The new MTA budget will call for subway fare and toll increases. We don’t know by how much yet, but they want to raise the revenue by 6.5 percent; do your own worst-case-scenario math. [NYT]
• And the city’s cab drivers are finalizing citywide strike plans for September, over those pesky GPS tracking systems the city wants to install in every cab. We think we’ll just stay home. [amNY]
The Debate Questions CNN Didn’t Want You to See!
Did you catch the big, exciting CNN-YouTube Democratic presidential debate last night, in which candidates got the chance to respond with pre-scripted sound bites to questions asked by real, live Americans who videotaped themselves asking the questions?! Yeah, us either, and if the Times report today was any indication, we didn’t miss much. But what about the YouTubed questions that didn’t make air? Surely some of those must have been entertaining. Well, maybe. After the jump, some highlights, as selected from the several thousand unasked questions available on the ‘Tube by New York’s indefatigable interns.
The Fred Thompson Letters: ‘Looking Forward to the Hamptons!’
When Stephen Rodrick profiled former senator Fred Thompson, also the incumbent New York County district attorney on Law & Order and an all-but- declared presidential candidate in real life, Rodrick took a look at Thompson’s Senate papers, which the then-lapsed politician donated to the University of Tennessee in 2005. Among them was a good deal of his senatorial correspondence, both letters received and those sent. And there were some good ones. After the jump, highlights from a few of our favorites.
And on Day 204, Everything Changed Back
• Governor Spitzer has dismissed one top aide and suspended another for (a) essentially spying on Joe Bruno and (b) concocting a cover-up for it. But what did Spitzer know, and when did he know it? [NYT]
• In the meantime, Bruno’s vacation is ruined anyway: The Legislature has agreed to reconvene on Thursday to begin discussing a “compromise” on congestion pricing. [NYDN]
• The so-called YouTube debate on CNN last night wasn’t just an exercise in cross-branding; it delivered some full-on madness, including a talking snowman grilling Hillary Clinton on climate change and a Second Amendment question from a man holding a gun. [NYP]
• Eighteen years after pleading guilty to sex crimes — and then denying his guilt, and then having a movie made about him — convicted child molester Jesse Friedman may be vindicated. A new hearing will introduce evidence that police may have tampered with a young accuser. [amNY]
• And, Newt Gingrich says Mike Bloomberg’s “entire basis of survival is paying $91 a vote” in 2005. Remind us what Newt Gingrich’s basis for survival is again? [NYS]
Hillary Buys ‘Post’ Endorsement — for a QuarterOnce upon a time, there was little doubt as to the Post’s opinion of Hillary Clinton. But questions arose when the Clintons reached their détente with Rupert Murdoch last year, and now, well, things are clear. This morning, the tabloid learned that Mrs. Clinton is a reader — and, better yet, a nonreader of the Daily News. “Like hundreds of thousands of other discerning New Yorkers,” gushed “Page Six” in reporting the news, “White House front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton buys The Post.” It’s not just the gleeful promotion of Hillary to the front-runner status that made us smile. And it’s not just the item’s headline (“The Right Choice,” which, placed over a decent photo, pretty much makes a free campaign poster). It’s mostly this: Can you believe they’re finally calling her a New Yorker?
The Right Choice [NYP]
‘Daily News’: America Likes Mike (a Little)
The Daily News traveled beyond the Hudson to ask America about Mike Bloomberg, and they come back with some news: The country doesn’t hate him. The mayor’s aw-shucks joke is to pronounce his unelectability as “a short Jewish billionaire from New York.” But the News poll, the paper says today, shows that a quick recitation of his achievements bumps his numbers from 10 percent who’d vote for him to 13 percent. (Oddly, the initiative that seems to most resonate with the heartland is the school cell-phone ban.)
McCain’s Strategist Blames Himself
You know John McCain’s presidential campaign is imploding. Do you know whose fault it is? John Weaver, the longtime West Villager who was McCain’s chief strategist, blames himself. “We had a spending problem, a message problem, a spending problem,” he told New York’s Geoffrey Gray in his first full interview since resigning from the McCain campaign this week. “That’s nobody’s fault but mine.” Gray’s piece runs in next week’s magazine — and on nymag.com today.
Off the Bus [NYM]
Firefighters Hate Rudy — and Want You to Know It
The International Association of Firefighters has long hated Rudy Giuliani. He didn’t give New York’s Bravest adequate equipment before 9/11, the union has always said, he was insufficiently concerned with their safety during cleanup after 9/11, and he didn’t let them search ground zero long enough for the remains of their brethren. Worst of all, they argue, he’s built a persona — and a thriving presidential campaign — by appropriating firefighters’ heroism as his own. Yesterday the union put out a campaign-style video, attacking Giuliani for his failings. “He was running on his 9/11 leadership, and it was lacking,” FDNY deputy chief Jim Riches says in it. “He was not the hero of 9/11.” And there’s lots more like that.
Rudy’s in the Money (Sorta)
• Rudy Giuliani came out on top in the second round of Republican fund-raising, becoming the only GOP candidate to raise more dough in the second quarter of 2007 ($17 million) than in the first ($16 million). For comparison’s sake, Barack Obama took in $31 million over the same period. [NYDN]
• People are receiving anonymous, computerized telephone polls asking if they’d support a Bloomberg run for the presidency if he spent $1 billion of his own money on it. When asked if the poll was conducted by Bloomberg, aides in his office refused to confirm or deny it. How very diabolical! [NYDN]
Bloomberg, Who Is Not Running for President, Says Prez Needs Executive Experience
Ooh! More fun with the Mike Bloomberg will-he-or-won’t-he: The Politico’s ace politiblogger, Ben Smith, relays a mayoral comment overheard in an Upper East Side restaurant last night. If Bloomie isn’t running, you might think he’d be fond of Barack Obama, another guy who holds center-left positions and talks about moving beyond partisan politics. But no. Obama “simply is not experienced enough to become president,” Smith’s source heard Bloomberg say. Also: “Senators have absolutely no idea what executive decision making is all about.” Now if only we could think of a possible contender who does know something about executive-decision-making…
Bloomberg on Obama: Not Enough Experience [Politico]
Bloomberg Again Says He’s Not Running, and Starts to Convince UsMayor Bloomberg insisted yet again this morning that we shouldn’t read too much into his decision to leave the Republican party. “I don’t disagree with what either national party stands for, because I don’t think either national party stands for anything,” he declared at a breakfast for civic types. (Zing!) He proceeded to dismiss a specific timetable for withdrawal from Iraq as “nonsensical,” express skepticism about national school testing (“There is a tendency in a democracy to dumb down”), and spit out various scolds (“Get real! Get serious!”). And so it occurred to us that maybe we believe him when he says he’s not running for president: We think he just wants to be national critic. —Alec Appelbaum
Run, Bloomie, Run!
Today’s papers struggle to find an angle on Bloomberg’s possible presidential run — or, that is, to limit themselves to just one angle from a sudden cornucopia. Some of our favorite scenarios the papers consider:
1. It’s Rudy vs. Mike! The two nominal friends (Giuliani half-heartedly endorsed Bloomberg in 2001, Bloomberg officiated at the Giuliani-Nathan nuptials) actually can’t stand each other, but they won’t disparage each other in the press. The worst Giuliani mustered yesterday was “I am disappointed that he left the Republican Party.” So imagine how much pent-up bile will come gushing out of both, especially Rudy, if these two ever face off in a debate. Fun!
Gore ’08!Michael Moore may support Al Gore for president. A theater in the HBO building was named for former network chief Michael Fuchs, and Fuchs gave a weird, bad, awkward speech at the ceremony. Jerry Seinfeld is very excited about his upcoming Bee Movie. 50 Cent is very excited about playing a drug dealer opposite Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in his upcoming movie. A lot of racehorse owners are not pleased with Eliot Spitzer’s plan for Aqueduct to be government-run. David Burke took home $10,000 after beating Bobby Flay and Sam Talbot in a poker tournament in Aspen. Jimmy Fallon wants to lose weight. “Utter pandemonium” broke out, says a “Page Six” source, after Debra Messing, Mike Nichols, and other guests were rained upon during the Public Theater’s premiere of Romeo and Juliet in Central Park. (Actually, we thought it was pretty fun.) Ian Claus dedicated his first book to Chelsea Clinton.
To Run or Not to Run
• As Mayor Bloomberg continues to deny that he’s running for president, the Times reports that his top aides have been testing that scenario for the last two years. Just a coincidence! [NYT]
• With mere hours left until the legislative session ends, Governor Spitzer is leaning on Shelly Silver to consider congestion pricing. Spitzer’s bold step: to “discuss creating a commission of experts.” Ooh, effective! [NYS]
• In Episode 4,387 of the McGreevey soap opera, the ex-gov filed new papers with a New Jersey family court — to dismiss Dina Matos’s charge that his coming-out had traumatized their daughter. [NYP]
• Despite some politicians’ calls for a rent freeze, the Rent Guidelines Board has recommended increases “between 2 and 4.5 percent” (in other words, 4.5 percent) on New York’s stabilized apartments. [amNY]
• And a guy goes on the lam for violating probation, gets tracked down by U.S. marshals right here in Manhattan, fights the arrest, breaks his arm, and goes to jail. That the guy is a close friend of Bernard Kerik’s shouldn’t be much of a shock. [NYDN]
Chris Smith: Bloomberg Is Full of It
Yesterday, in a press release, Mike Bloomberg said his switch of party allegiance from Republican to none-of-the-above was about “bring[ing] my affiliation into alignment with how I have led and will continue to lead our city.” This afternoon, in a press conference — after torturing reporters with a prolonged exaltation of the 311 system — the mayor claimed the switch was because he’d suddenly become aware of nasty partisanship in Washington, and that becoming a free agent allows him to speak his mind.
Mama Always Said She’d Be the Chosen One“The best campaign spot we’ve seen this season!”
—Kate Phillips, the New York Times
“An uproarious Web spoof!”
—Ian Bishop, New York Post
“Finally, Hil reveals fun side!”
—Michael McAuliff and Helen Kennedy, Daily News
Oh, just watch the damned thing yourselves.
Mike Bloomberg, Independent
• The political world is waking up to a queasy query — is Mike Bloomberg a Ross Perot or a Ralph Nader (or, one hopes, neither)? Of course, the man himself is no help: He still says he’s not running. [NYT]
• Rudy Giuliani’s campaign, meanwhile, seems to be aiming squarely at the high-school-hooligan vote. First it comes out he’d been booted off the Iraq Study Group for truancy. Now his former South Carolina campaign chairman has been indicted for — are you ready for this? — selling crack. [NYDN]
• If you tried leaving the city last night, you’re, well, probably still here. The three area airports canceled hundreds of flights because of the major thunderstorms blazing from here to the Midwest. [WNBC]
• The new city regulation requiring fast-food places to post calorie count on their menus is now not going into effect until the legal fight over it plays out. So far, it’s had the opposite effect — Quizno’s and White Castle deleted all nutritional info from their Websites altogether. [amNY]
• And two female marriage-license clerks are allegedly terrorizing Bronx couples by refusing to do their jobs and closing the office early. Maybe they’re stealth Dworkinites. [NYP]
Mike Bloomberg’s Declaration of IndependenceThis press release just in, and we no longer have any doubt that the dude is running for president:
June 19, 2007
“I have filed papers with the New York City Board of Elections to change my status as a voter and register as unaffiliated with any political party. Although my plans for the future haven’t changed, I believe this brings my affiliation into alignment with how I have led and will continue to lead our City.
Would Hillary Put Jack Bauer in Charge of Iraq?
Spelunking in the Clintons’ financial disclosures brings all sorts of rewards. First came the mini-skirmish about Bill’s lucrative teleconferencing with Hong Kong on an anniversary of 9/11, defused with an instant Clintonian classic (“It was 9/10 where I was”). Now there’s a fascinating nugget in Bill and Hillary’s recently dissolved blind trust, which the couple just divested to avoid conflicts of interest. We’ll say! One of the trust’s holdings was stock in News Corp. This makes Hillary a (admittedly unaware) shareholder in the Post and Fox News — a fact akin to, say, Daniel Goldstein discovering he’s invested in Forest City Ratner. But it’s too bad she got out when she did — has a Democrat ever owned The Wall Street Journal?
Clintons’ Trust Invested in News Corp. and Berkshire [Bloomberg]
Rudy Booted From Iraq Panel for Cutting Class
Sometimes the irony’s so rich you could feed a Third World country with it. Rudy Giuliani, whose presidential campaign boils down to “Elect me or perish in a mega-9/11,” has been booted off the Iraq Study Group, essentially forfeiting his one chance to amass real foreign-policy credentials in the run-up to 2008. The reason? Truancy. In 2006, Giuliani didn’t bother to show up to a single meeting of the panel. And why’s that? “Previous time commitments” — to paid speaking engagements. So while America’s Mayor won’t be getting his $50 from Bloomberg for exemplary attendance, the $1.7 million he brought in during his last month on the panel should alleviate the pain somewhat.
Rudy Missing in Action for Iraq Panel [amNY]
Is McCain Set to Label Hillary ‘Senator Earmark’?
Is John McCain set to initiate an attack on Hillary Clinton? Little more than an hour ago, the McCain campaign put out word that the Republican will shortly hold a press conference in California to talk about “Sen. Clinton’s defense earmarks,” the many millions of dollars in federal funding Hillary has secured for New York military contractors. New York has previously noted the senator’s cozy relationship with some defense contractors, but then, isn’t this what senators do, work to bring money home?
Anything God Can Do, Rudy Can Do Better
• Giuliani yesterday unveiled the centerpiece of his presidential campaign, a “Contract with America”–style plan called — we kid you not — “The Twelve Commitments.” Most of it is boilerplate, calling for low taxes, energy independence, security. Best part: America’s Mayor unleashed it during a “speech attended by about 150 people.” Fred Thompson leads in the polls. [NYP]
’Tis the Campaign Season: Play the 2008 Presidential Approval MatrixLooking for something to do until George Bush isn’t president anymore? Our new 2008 Presidential Approval Matrix will help pass the time. Every day, we’ll add fresh items about the candidates on the campaign trail. Did someone make an embarrassing blunder? Did a politician dare to tell the truth? Determine whether the presidential wannabes are likable or loathsome. Decide if their words are spin or substance. It may not be scientific, but it’s more fun than the current administration.
Play the 2008 Presidential Approval Matrix [NYM]
Rudy Giuliani, Tickler?
We have no idea what Rudy Giuliani was doing to John McCain at last night’s Republican debate, but we suspect he tried to make it illegal here when he was mayor.
The Kennedy Conspiracy
• There’s more on the weekend’s big story, the foiled plot to blow up JFK. One angle: The fourth suspect, still at large, could be an Al Qaeda lieutenant with direct ties to bin Laden. [NYP]
• Another: The man who led the Feds to the plot was a twice-convicted drug dealer who successfully infiltrated the terror group after being muscled into serving as a government informant. [WNBC]
• Rudy Giuliani, seeking to diversify his stoicism-in-the-face-of-tragedy bona fides, stopped by to speak at Montoursville High School, which lost sixteen students aboard TWA 800. The campaign hilariously insists he just popped in for no reason. [amNY]
• Gun groups nationwide are casting Bloomberg as their No. 1 enemy, despite his concentration on illegal weapon sales. The NRA (whose site has a breaking-news ticker!) calls the mayor a “billionaire, Boston-grown evangelist for the nanny state.” Boston-grown — now that stings. [NYT]
• And OTB wants to put touch-screen terminals into city bars and accept “BlackBerry bets,” convinced it will find a new demographic there. We eagerly await the spectacle of drunken hipsters ironically losing their shirt on their ponies. [NYDN]
Nobody Knows in America, Puerto Rico’s in AmericaJohn McCain has RSVP’d for the Puerto Rican Day Parade, but Rudy Giuliani has not. Lorraine Bracco will be a onetime co-host of The View. Baird Jones will celebrate Dr. Kevorkian’s release from prison tonight by exhibiting his paintings at Webster Hall. Kevin Costner ate at Michael’s. John Travolta may be in denial about his son’s autism because of Scientology. Paris Hilton plans to keep a diary when she’s in prison, which she can later sell. Sharon Stone is set to star in mock political ads to be unveiled at the upcoming Venice Biennale. Charlie Palmer’s Kitchen 22, on West 22nd Street, closed.