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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 President

If 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 Matches

Rudy 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.

Bruno's Turn

• 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 Quarter

Once 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]

Bloomberg Calling

• 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 Us

Mayor 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]