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Is McCain Set to Label Hillary ‘Senator Earmark’?

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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?

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Anything God Can Do, Rudy Can Do Better

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• 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]

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’Tis the Campaign Season: Play the 2008 Presidential Approval Matrix

Looking 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]

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Rudy Giuliani, Tickler?

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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.

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The Kennedy Conspiracy

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• 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]

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Nobody Knows in America, Puerto Rico's in America

John 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.

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National Issues Our Mayor, Who Is Not Running for President, Currently Has a Vocal Stance On

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If you're scoring at home: • Gun control: Vehemently opposed to illegal guns; pioneered an ingenious way of putting the heat on dealers in other states without overstepping mayoral jurisdiction. • Education: Introduced fine-tunings to No Child Left Behind in Florida with Jeb Bush. • Environment: Keynote speaker at the C40 Climate Summit; PlaNYC. • Health Care: Smoking, trans fats, diabetes registry, subway condoms, you name it. • And now, immigration: At a Memorial Day parade in Queens yesterday, Bloomberg called the guest-worker program being debated in the Senate "a joke." He approves the bill's rejection of mass deportations, but "shame on Congress," he said, for suggesting two-year U.S. work stints for foreign laborers, something "nobody in their right mind would ever try to do." Mayor Assails Bill in Congress on Immigration [NYT] Mike Bloomberg on the Issues [Bloomberg] Related: Bloomberg Across America [NYM]

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Sing Along With Hillary

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Last week Hillary Clinton launched an exciting! new! interactive! element on her presidential-campaign Website: a "Choose Our Campaign Song" poll on which regular voters like you get to vote for one of eight options for Hillary's campaign song. "Don't Stop" isn't one of the choices, but there are two U2 choices, a golden oldie, some Dixie Chicks, and that Devil Wears Prada song, among others. What messages does each one send? We consider the choices after the jump.

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‘Time’ Magazine, and Al Gore's Relaxed Rear

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The new Time Magazine — now out on Fridays! — has a cover hagio-profile of Al Gore. It's full of good detail on what Gore's up to these days, just how popular he seems to have become, and whether he'll maybe maybe maybe run for president. But the key quote has got to be this one:
Al and Tipper Gore's home, a 1915 antebellum-style mansion in the wealthy Belle Meade section of Nashville, is laid out a bit like Gore himself: a gracious and formal Southern façade; slightly stuffy rooms when you walk in the door; and startlingly modern, relaxed, informal living spaces to the rear.
We think it's also saying he's got a fat ass. The Last Temptation of Al Gore [Time.com]

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She's a Genie in a Pantsuit: Xtina, Jenna Back Hillary

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The race to line up celebrity star power behind the presidential campaigns rages on, and Hillary Clinton has scored a coup, booking pop star Christina Aguilera to play a special fund-raising concert at Capitale next month, the Clinton campaign has confirmed to New York. The backers of the event include Harvey Weinstein; Steve Bing; Aguilera's manager, Irving Azoff; and Ron Burkle, according to promotional materials from the Clinton campaign, but it's unclear what Aguilera has planned for the event. (We're guessing the act will more closely resemble something from her more humble Back to Basics era than something from the pierced, tattooed, and flesh-baring days of her Stripped tour.) And in arguably related news, Hillary yesterday gained the endorsement of porn star Jenna Jameson. "I love Hillary," Jameson said in an interview. "I think that in some ways she's pretty conservative for a Democrat, but I would love to have a woman in office. I think that it would be a step in the right direction for our country, and there would be less focus on war and more focus on bettering society." —Geoffrey Gray

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Mike, Trumps, Rudy

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• No particular surprise here, but it's still pleasant to report: Despite not actually running, Bloomberg handily topped Giuliani in a Daily News presidential poll. Some 46 percent of New Yorkers pick Mike over Rudy, who gets 29 percent. [NYDN] • Not fans of Bloomberg: the Virginia Citizens Defense League. It's planning to hold a gun giveaway — in a government building — to raise money for two dealers sued by Bloomie. [WNBC] • New York may start collecting DNA from just about all convicts in all crimes: Eliot Spitzer's proposing mandatory sampling of all prisoners, parolees, registered sex offenders, and future cons. The program's also supposed to make exonerating the wrongly jailed a snap. [NYT] • The Post trumpets the "return of the Mafia." An exclusive story claims that Sicilian mobsters are making a major comeback across the organized-crime landscape, especially with the Gambino brothers out of jail. About 28 Godfather references follow. [NYP] • And, more Trumps! Donald Jr. and his wife Vanessa had a baby girl over the weekend, Kai "It's Danish" Madison Trump; the Donald, who may not even be done siring his own progeny, thus becomes a grandfather. That is all. [amNY]

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The Media Primary: Bloomberg '08

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It might still be up in the air between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Republicans might all be holding their breath for the inevitable explosion of the Rudy bubble and the subsequent inflation of — who? McCain? Romney? — a successor. But one primary has solidified in the last few days: Media moguls are backing Mike Bloomberg for president.

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Bob Kerrey Likes Hillary and Bloomberg, Won't Talk About Models

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Former Nebraska senator and '92 presidential candidate Bob Kerrey's perch at the New School seems to have made him a New York partisan: He says he "probably won't" make any '08 endorsements, but he did tout two locals as his candidates of choice. "I like Hillary a lot," he said at the annual Parsons benefit last week. "I think she's been a great senator for New York and has a tremendous amount of experience. And I got to say I think Bloomberg's done a phenomenal job. I'd be very comfortable with Hillary or Bloomberg." But Bloomberg insists he won't run. And neither will Kerrey, for that matter. "I have no elective political aspirations for '08," Kerrey said. "But everything I do is political. Aren't you going to ask me about Parsons? About fashion?" Okay — who's your favorite designer? "I don't have one." Any thoughts on the skinny-model controversy? "Yes, but I'm not going to give you them. Most of my thoughts about the models are not publishable." Glad we asked. —Amy Odell

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Never Fear, Corzine's Here

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• Is New Jersey governor Jon Corzine a superhero? He's back to work today, just a few weeks after breaking a leg, eleven ribs, his collarbone, his sternum, and more in a horrific SUV crash. Three-time acting governor Richard Codey again politely recedes into the background. [WNBC] • Kirsys Rodriguez, a 12-year-old Bronx girl, is in critical condition after catching a bullet in a post-party "dispute": She was trying to flee the gunfire that erupted over somebody's Sidekick. [NYT] • Roger Clemens is back with the Yankees for the rest of 2007, for the discussion-ending $28 million (the Red Sox put up a paltry $18 million). Since the Yanks' starting pitchers have been dropping like flies, he'll start within days. [amNY] • Joseph Oddo, a Virginia-based writer whose pet cause is to draft independent candidates to run for president, ha set his sights on Bloomberg. The Website, DraftMichael.com, handily serves to raise public awareness of, well, Joseph Oddo. [NYS] • And it's not exactly local news, but since Spider-Man has been bugging this city for the last several weeks, the least we can do is report his box office: $148 million for the weekend (a record), $59 million on Friday alone (a record), and $375 million worldwide (a record). Can he go away now? [NYDN]

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Chris Smith on the Debate: Rudy Giuliani, Positively Mayoral

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One of the sillier conventions of post-debate analysis — the Republican presidential candidates met last night at the Reagan President Library in California — is the discussion of whether a candidate "looked presidential." The intent is to determine which politician appeared to have the gravity and intelligence to occupy the Oval Office — and it's a futile exercise, as standing up to Chris Matthews is hardly an indicator of the ability to handle, say, a nuclear standoff. That said, in the first debate among the GOP contenders, Rudy Giuliani came off looking distinctly mayoral.

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We Do Not Understand What the Hell Mike Gravel Is Talking About

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The star of last week's Democratic presidential debate was a fringe contender Mike Gravel, 77, a former Alaska senator, who became a blogosphere sensation for saying that it should be a felony for Dubya & Co. to stay in Iraq. (He also drew laughs when he said the leading candidates scare him because they won't rule out bombing Iran. "Who are we planning to nuke?" he asked Barack Obama. "I'm not planning to nuke anybody right now, Mike," responded the Illinois senator.) Gravel — it's pronounced gra-VELL — is a Columbia alum who drove a New York City cab while a student, and he's back in town for appearances on The Colbert Report tonight and the Today show tomorrow morning. We spoke to him before he left his Virginia apartment, which doubles as his campaign headquarters — and we hope Colbert's interview goes better than ours did.

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Obama Set to Score First New York Endorsement

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New York is Hillary Clinton's home turf, but tomorrow Barack Obama will receive his first formal endorsement from a New York elected official, State Senator Bill Perkins, according to a knowledgeable source. Obama has been able to poach several big-money backers from his rival for the Democratic presidential nomination — he's got several more fund-raisers scheduled in the city this weekend — but Perkins, a longtime Harlem politician, will be the first elected to formally support the Illinois senator. The endorsement is likely to ruffle the feathers of Harlem boss Charlie Rangel, a Hillary supporter, who recently declared, "I don't know Obama supporters in New York." It's not the first time Perkins has gone against the Harlem establishment: He supported Howard Dean in the 2004 primary, when Rangel was supporting General Wesley Clark. "It's all posturing, all game playing," said one Harlem political strategist. "He's trying to make the eye in the sky look at him." Perkins hasn't returned a call for comment. —Geoffrey Gray

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Chris Smith on the Debate: A Win for Hillary

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The crowded stage at the first Democratic presidential debate, held last night in South Carolina, made for an unwieldy and largely uninformative discussion. But the big field was a good thing for Hillary Clinton. One of the major hurdles for Hillary in this race, an element that's at the core of her stubbornly high negative ratings in polls, is that many voters believe her to be remote and overly ambitious, a policy scold lacking in empathy. Clinton looked endearingly human last night simply by standing amid the seven men in dark suits; even with the diminutive Dennis Kucinich (literally and figuratively) to her left, the tableau emphasized how small Clinton is, physically, which helps shrink her larger-than-life political image. And being the only gal in a gang of middle-aged guys plays straight to a constituency Clinton needs to support her in big numbers: women.

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Rosie Offends Women

Rosie O'Donnell emceed a luncheon for Women in Communications, and she offended audience members with off-color jokes. Cindy Adams liked her act, though. Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy, Norman Mailer, and Anna Wintour all showed up for the memorial service for JFK aide Arthur Schlesinger Jr. Rudy Giuliani's success in presidential polls is making Mike Bloomberg want to run for president. Martha Stewart's billionaire boyfriend, Charles Simonyi, returned from a visit to the International Space Station. An Icelandic billionaire bought an Ian Schrager penthouse in Gramercy Park for $10 million. Hotelier Jason Pomeranc celebrated his birthday with Kate Hudson. Sheryl Crow may be an environmental activist, but a performance rider shows she demands three tractor trailers, four buses, and six cars for a gig. Speaking of Crow, she may have had a falling out with fellow activist Laurie David during their anti-global-warming cross-country tour.

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