Mr. Leopold makes a full-dress appearance

The Baltimore Sun

Other than that, Mr. Leopold, how was the mall?

There's a perfectly innocent explanation for the Abe Lincoln-impersonating Anne Arundel County executive's activities in the Westfield Annapolis mall parking lot: John Leopold's stimulus check came early.

Maybe he dropped the check and was groping for that sort of stimulation in the back seat of his county vehicle, so he could go inside the mall and do his patriotic duty.

Perhaps the 911 caller who thought he'd spotted "naked people" in the county Chevrolet had merely glimpsed Leopold's balding head, mistaking it for flesh that's less socially acceptable to flash.

It took the cops seven minutes to locate Leopold's car in the mall parking lot, The Baltimore Sun's Julie Scharper reports. That's good news for retailers and perhaps for Leopold, too. Officer-come-lately determined that the report was unfounded.

By that account, Leopold was waiting for Cordish's casino to get lucky at a mall.

No telling if the bachelor exec was alone. Leopold and his Police Department - sticking together because a house divided against itself, yada, yada, yada - won't say.

"I am rather inclined to silence," as Leopold's favorite president once said.

Leopold dressed up like Lincoln yesterday and went to a mall, of all places, marking the president's 200th birthday with one of his first public appearances since Car-ma Sutragate broke.

(There's a whole Web site, Car Kama Sutra, if the exec or anyone else out there is interested. But I digress.)

Showing up at a mall dressed like Honest Abe - an act of political chutzpah not seen since Sheila Dixon attended Barack Obama's Baltimore whistlestop in fur.

Marley Station mall trumpeted Leopold's appearance with a news release that said the exec "bears a striking resemblance to President Lincoln without formal attire."

So they've seen him in the buff at that mall, too?

Not yesterday, anyway. The release assured us that Leopold "will be adorned in full Lincoln dress."

The boss and The Boss

A rock 'n' roll governor - how cool is that?

Not so much if you head the state agency that horned in on Bruce Springsteen's Super Bowl halftime show.

As Springsteen sang, he also shrank, so WBAL-TV could devote half the screen to not one, not two, but three Maryland Lottery drawings.

Lottery bureaucrats like us, baby, it's a good time to run.

"It would be an understatement to say he [Martin O'Malley] wasn't happy with the Lottery interruption that marred an outstanding live performance by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band," O'Malley chief of staff Michael Enright wrote lottery director Buddy Roogow this week.

"In short, our boss was not happy about the way we treated The Boss and viewers."

WBAL has said that it meant to scroll the results on the bottom of the screen, but there was some sort of mix-up, and the screen was split instead. In an interview shortly after the game, Roogow said he was as surprised as anyone.

"I'm a Springsteen fan, and I did cringe," he told me then. "I wish the drawing had been crawled."

But the governor, who fronts an Irish rock band and saw Springsteen in Washington in November 2007, wasn't taking "oops" for an answer.

As noted in the letter - obtained by The Baltimore Sun's Gadi Dechter - O'Malley was on the horn with Enright before Springsteen had even taken his bows. Enright had already spoken to Roogow by phone about it before following up in writing, the letter also indicates.

Among other things, Enright suggests doing away with the televised ping-pong drama altogether and just scrolling results.

In a phone interview yesterday, Roogow told me that might actually happen, at least on Sunday nights, the only night of the week when the lottery consistently elbows in on programming.

"I think we can generally look at that as a way to move forward, just scroll the numbers at the bottom of the screen," Roogow said.

At last, something a governor can accomplish even in the worst of economic times!

"I know this is not one of the most pressing policy issues facing either of us these days," Enright conceded, "but I would appreciate any other ideas you and your staff might have to address this intrusive practice."

In a P.S. at the bottom, Enright added: "In the interest of full disclosure, the Governor no doubt contacted me about this because I am perhaps the most passionate Springsteen fan in history."

Connect the dots

Michael Phelps got the munchies even before he got his hands on the bong. The State, a newspaper in South Carolina, reports that Phelps began that infamous November night at a local restaurant: Village Idiot Pizza & Pub. ... Phelps fans found a gr-r-reat way to show their displeasure with Kellogg's for dumping its tarnished pitchman. They set up four port-o-pots, poured a box of cereal in each, and invited people to "dump Kellogg's." Radio station 98 Rock organized the protest the other day. "Free coffee, muffins (including bran muffins, of course) & reading material will be provided," the news release said. ... Daniel "The Wig Man" Vovak, the nut in the wig who ran for U.S. Senate in Maryland, tells me he's doing more casting for The Blue Dress, the movie he's making about Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. All day Monday, Presidents Day, actors can audition for the part of Clinton and others at the American Film Institute in Silver Spring. On Wednesday night, movie investors will be treated to a party: The Blue Ball. Hey, there's a bathroom off the Oval Office for that. ... Colleen Haines and Richard Roberts attended the same Weight Watchers meetings in Harford County. At some point, the two single, 60-something county employees started eyeing more than the scale. Haines lost 18 pounds, Roberts lost 48, and they both gained a mate. They're engaged and just in time for Valentine's, and Weight Watchers issued a press release celebrating the double-success story.

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