Seen and heard around and about the DNC

"He even looks dashing in a Santa suit." -- Elizabeth Edwards, introducing John Edwards

"USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!" -- chanted by the delegates after a corps of retired generals and admirals took the stage to endorse John Kerry

-- Los Angeles Times staff writer Maria L. LaGanga

The warm-up acts: Today's daytime convention session featured a range of issue-specific speeches attacking President Bush on an array of issues. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. criticized the placement of industry lobbyists in federal regulatory positions. Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn said that cities need more federal support.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey declared that "Israel will never have a better friend in the White House than President John Kerry." Raul Yzaguirre, the president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza, said that simple ploys will not be enough to sway Latino voters. "We will not be impaired and influenced by message alone. A few phrases in Spanish won't work anymore. Promises can be broken in Spanish, as well as in English," he said. And former astronaut and Sen. John Glenn of Ohio said that education and scientific development were "the twin pillars of our success in the 20th century." But under the Bush administration, he said, "other countries are fast gaining ground on us and threatening America's greatest competitive strengths: knowledge and innovation and creativity."

-- Los Angeles Times staff writer Robert Schiff

Liberal in the House, conservative in the home: Thursday night, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi takes her place in the spotlight at the FleetCenter. Pelosi's mission will be to define the Democratic mission, to talk about what the party stands for, to clear up that fuzzy message problem that sometimes afflicts the party.

Pelosi, it's often noted, has a gracious way of knocking heads to get her work done. Her experience as the mother of five has probably helped hone that skill. "My mother is the most conservative person I know," said Christine Pelosi, 38, the chief of staff for Massachusetts Rep. John F. Tierney. " 'Mind your manners, behave yourself, did you send your thank you notes?' In church, you're listening to the homily. In our house, we're listening to the 'momily.' "

The Pelosi children also learned a thing or two about handling internecine rivalry. Said Christine: "If you tell on your siblings, your siblings will tell on you, especially tattletaling. 'Miss Make-Matters-Worse,' my mother called it. It was not a title that you'd want."

Meanwhile, the youngest Pelosi, Alexandra, was reluctant to be quoted about her Mom. Alexandra had her own moment in the spotlight in 2002, when HBO released "Journeys with George," her documentary about life on the presidential campaign trail with then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush. She has spent the last two years working on an HBO documentary about the Democratic presidential candidates. Turns out she got in a little hot water recently when she told the Washington Post that Sen. John F. Kerry is not "warm and fuzzy." "I'm a loose cannon," she said cheerfully. "I really can't talk."

-- Los Angeles Times staff writers Robin Abcarian and James Rainey

Reporters break out; news doesn't: On Tuesday, an urgent e-mail from the Kerry-Edwards campaign alerted the press that Sen. John Edwards would make an "OFF THE RECORD MOVEMENT [actual words] AT 10:45 PM TONIGHT."

After body-wand and dog-sniff searches, 30 Edwards scribes/shooters piled into half a dozen vans, waited 35 minutes, then were rushed by motorcade (flashing police lights, sirens) across Boston. Edwards staffers declined (for security reasons?) to disclose the destination. Vans arrived in the bowels of FleetCenter. Media stampeded up escalators and stairs to the convention floor, then waited again. Presence of dozens of cameras and notepads produced buzz, luring dozens more cameras and notepads.

Clock neared 12:30 a.m. Media agglomeration maxed out at 100. Finally, the North Carolinian stepped on the stage for a sound check. Edwards handlers adjusted the podium: higher, lower, a skosh higher. Candidate squinted into lights. Candidate smiled. Camera jocks shouted to TV shoulder-cam colleague to "lower your boom." Reporters shouted questions from floor below.

Net information gain from candidate? The stage looks "great." His tired voice is "fine." He feels "good."

-- Los Angeles Times staff writers Robin Abcarian and James Rainey

I'll give ya 3 Gores and a Denny Kucinich for 1 Sharpton: Adam Gottlieb is not just communications director for the California Arts Council, he is an avid, nearly breathless, collector of political pins. "It's a tangible way to relive history!" he said. "A way to hold history in your hands! A real way to get in with touch politics!" Down boy!

Political conventions, of course, are Mecca and Lourdes rolled into one for this breed. Gottlieb is here, believe it or not, on vacation. On Monday, Gottlieb, 40, who carries a baggie filled with vintage pins, spotted a Clinton/Kerry button, from a joint appearance the two made in 1996, when they were both running for reelection. "I said, 'What do you want? I have to have that pin! So I gave the guy two 1960's-era JFKs, a red Kerry Planned Parenthood and a Firefighters for Kerry." Gottlieb is stoked about his remaining Kerry/Planned Parenthood button. He thinks the big, red button already may be worth $20 on eBay!

-- Los Angeles Times staff writers Robin Abcarian and James Rainey

Count Florida a big winner: After their state essentially picked the president in 2000, delegates from Florida are being wooed by the Democratic Party this year with rooms at the plush Marriott Copley and convention hall seats that are nearly front and center.

Four years ago, Floridians found themselves assigned to a "generally awful" hotel near Los Angeles International Airport; their Staples Center seats were a neck-wrenching hard left of the stage. Scott Maddox, leader of the 2004 Florida delegation, was wearing his new sense of entitlement nicely, saying this week: "We are front and center in the convention hall because we're going to be front and center in this election."

-- From Los Angeles Times staff reports

O'Reilly says arts need a Cruise: Fox News' Bill O'Reilly gave the Hollywood-Washington axis of evil what for Tuesday in a Creative Coalition panel discussion about public funding for arts education.

What America really needs -- he told notables including Alfre Woodard, Ellen Burstyn, Jerry Stiller, Richard Schiff, Wes Craven, Billy Baldwin, Wendy Malick, Bianca Jagger, Andrew Cuomo and Arianna Huffington -- are some real celebrities, "your Tom Cruises," to get behind public arts money.

"Trust me," he said. "I know how your world works. I respect you. Not a lot, but I respect you."

Malick shrugged it off. "That's what he does," she said. "He's combative by nature. I have to give him credit for walking into the lion's den."

-- From Los Angeles Times staff reports

Learning the ways of the fishbowl: The sisters Kerry were up early Tuesday morning. At a press breakfast, Alexandra, 30, said: "I am desperate for some coffee. Otherwise I won't be able to conjugate a verb."

And Vanessa, 27, a Yale graduate who is on leave from Harvard Medical School and is headed to London to study foreign policy, among other things, said she could not grasp the nuances of economic policy, no matter how many times she was briefed.

The pair said some of the best advice about life in the fishbowl had come from those who went before -- Ron Reagan, Chelsea Clinton and the Gore girls. But no amount of talk can prepare you for the first time a woman you've never laid eyes on walks up and plants a big wet one on your cheek.

"What frightens me is that you want to retain your privacy, and you want to know that you can walk down the street and someone is not going to come up and kiss you because they think they can," Vanessa said. "This is baptism by fire."

-- From Los Angeles Times staff reports

Large minority is no longer silent: Many speakers this week have urged the preservation of "a woman's right to choose." Based on the cheers they've drawn, you'd think every Democrat at the convention supported abortion rights.

Not so, said the 50 men and women who rallied Tuesday morning outside Faneuil Hall. They wore pins with "43 percent" -- the share of Democrats who told Zogby pollsters in December that abortion was the equivalent of manslaughter.

"It's great to be here," Chris Rose, a Democratic candidate for state representative in Colorado, proclaimed from the podium. "I haven't seen so many pro-life Democrats since ... " A long pause. A smile. " ... Ever."

-- From Los Angeles Times staff reports

Warrior, lawyer, senator ... baker?: Yes, the nominee-in-waiting once made cookies, or at least owned a Quincy Market shop that did. Kilvert & Forbes -- taken from John F. Kerry's and his partner's mothers' maiden names -- has been baking for more than 20 years. Most of those have been since Kerry sold his interest. But this week, the dark chocolate chunk cookie has been selling at record rates -- about six dozen cookies a day, twice the normal figure. The big, chewy cookies cost $1.25 each.

-- From Los Angeles Times staff reports

Kennedy's history tour: After months of watching Howard Dean and Al Gore fire away at President Bush in front of national audiences, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy used his address tonight to strike out at President Bush and his administration.

The highlights:

"If each of us cared about the public interest, we wouldn't have had the excesses of Enron; we wouldn't have had the abuses of Halliburton. And Vice President Cheney would be retired to an undisclosed location."

Presidential historian Robert Caro introduced Kennedy, and the senator decided to work in a little presidential history of his own.

"In the White House, inscribed on a plaque above the fireplace in the State Dining Room is a prayer, a simple but powerful prayer of John Adams, the first president to live in that great house. It reads: 'I pray heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but the honest and wise ever rule under this roof.' In November we will make those words ring true again."

All aboard the historical references train.

"Our struggle is not with some monarch named George who inherited the crown, although it often seems that way."

And to wrap things up: "In the depths of the Depression, Franklin Roosevelt inspired the nation when he said, 'The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.' Today we say, the only thing we have to fear is four more years of George Bush."

-- Los Angeles Times staff writer Robert Schiff

Only the best for mom: Chris Heinz charmed the crowd from the beginning tonight, professing that only the best would be good enough for his Mom.

Teresa Heinz Kerry's son opened his remarks with the quip: "When my Mom first introduced me to John, I said to myself: Self, the only man good enough for your mother is the president of the United States. I think it's going to work out."

-- Los Angeles Times staff writer Robert Schiff

Obama showcases potential: While Ethel Barnett watched Barak Obama, she could not help but recall the faint memories of her great-grandmother, a former slave. Barnett, a delegate from Philadelphia, believes America still has a ways to go when it comes to matters of race. For Barnett, Obama is part of that progress.

"I think he's very talented, he's very intellectual. He is compassionate. And he is dedicated and committed to making this a better America."

And she ended with a prediction that many in the hall seemed to share. "I predict that someday this man will be president of the United States."

-- Los Angeles Times staff writer Robert Schiff

Kerry bashes Republicans . . . in 1988: The Kerry campaign is trying to keep the message positive in 2004, but at the 1988 Democratic convention, the Massachusetts senator wasn't pulling any punches: "A Republican president once reminded us, 'There is absolutely nothing to be said for a government of powerful men with the ideals of pawnbrokers.' That president's name was Theodore Roosevelt. And today Theodore Roosevelt would be ashamed to be a Republican." It is time we once again had a government of laws and not of lawbreakers."

-- Los Angeles Times staff writer Stephen W. Stromberg

A somber antiwar protest: Boston's historical Copley Square played stage to the most dramatic convention week antiwar protest tonight as peace activists rallied around an exhibit of 907 Army boots representing the 907 American soldiers killed in Iraq since the American-led invasion.

In neat rows on the Copley Square green, the combat boots, donated by an army-navy surplus store in Chicago, had tags with the name of fallen U.S. soldiers attached to their laces. By the early evening, the families of some of the killed had put flowers, pictures, rosaries and American flags in the boots representing their loved ones.

Tomorrow, the demonstration's organizers -- from the American Friends Service Committee, associated with the Quakers -- will pull a large tombstone that reads "Unknown Civilians Killed in War" from central Boston to Brookline, a western suburb, on a large wooden cart, beginning their month-long journey south to New York for the Republican National Convention.

"Our government refuses to even count the number of civilians killed" in Iraq, Terry Rockefeller, a demonstration speaker whose sister died on Sept. 11, 2001, said. "More killing will only fuel the fire of terrorism."

-- Los Angeles Times staff writer Stephen W. Stromberg

Forecast: Attack ad ahead: If they were bored with the convention, delegates and reporters surfing Boston television could catch a new 30-second spot critical of Kerry. The ad, funded by the antitax Club for Growth, depicts the Democrat as a spinning weather vane - a motif for political attack ads that goes back decades.

"John Kerry has a little problem making up his mind," the narrator says, citing various positions on the death penalty and taxes. Its conclusion: Kerry is "blowing in the wind." The ad appeared on the Fox affiliate WFXT.

-- Los Angeles Times staff writer Nick Anderson

Discipline, Democrat-style: "I was talking with a Democratic congressman the other day and he told me the word is out: If you're in Congress and you say something negative [about the Democratic ticket], you're going to get primaried. This ain't the time for carping ... No Democratic politician dares say anything, because they'll get primaried." James Carville on discipline among Democrats.

-- Los Angeles Times staff writer Doyle McManus

Art imitating art, in turn imitating ...: Director Robert Altman and "Doonesbury" cartoonist Garry Trudeau are at the convention shooting "Tanner on Tanner," a Sundance Channel series for October that will look at the intersection of media and politics in the campaign environment.

What happened when the series booked Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt for this morning's filming made their point exactly, and it couldn't have happened better if it had been scripted.

The series' conceit is to work real personalities into a fictional storyline, and Gephardt agreed to a last-minute appearance after Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio canceled. Gephardt showed up on the convention floor to talk about his role with Altman, the 79-year-old director, only to be whisked away for an interview with the real life Bill Hemmer of CNN.

That interview over, Gephardt was mobbed by passing news crews until the TV series was able to pry him away to shoot his scene talking to the fictional Jack Tanner (actor Michael Murphy), a former Democratic presidential candidate, and his fictional daughter Alex (Cynthia Nixon), a documentary filmmaker seeking a Gephardt interview.

After just one take, Gephardt was off -- to be nabbed for an interview by Ed Helms, a real-life correspondent with the fake news "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," on Comedy Central. He wanted to know if calling it the Democratic National Convention was exclusionary to Republicans.

"We welcome everyone into this party," Gephardt said, without missing a beat. But Helms was quickly edged out by a trade policy question from a very serious reporter for Japan's NHK network. Or at least she said she was a real reporter. Gephardt appeared amenable to talking to everyone.

-- Los Angeles Times staff writer Elizabeth Jensen

Where do Reagans fit in?: With presidential son Ron Reagan set to address the Democratic National Convention with harsh words concerning President Bush's decision to limit embryonic stem cell research, Republican officials are forced to tip-toe around the decision by the newly widowed former first lady, Nancy Reagan, to skip the GOP show in New York next month.

Asked repeatedly by reporters today whether Mrs. Reagan's decision is related to her own disagreements with the White House in the wake of her late husband's Parkinson's disease, Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie chose to duck the question -- sounding almost testy with his questioners.

"If all of you might just keep in mind for a moment the year that Mrs. Reagan has had and be a little understanding, I think that would be appreciated by the public, and I would appreciate that as well," he said.

Asked if Nancy Reagan was definitely skipping the GOP gathering, Gillespie said: "I do not expect her at our convention, but she knows she's welcome."

Then pressed on whether she had "rejected" the invitation, Gillespie replied: "I'm comfortable with my characterization."

-- Los Angeles Times staff writer Peter Wallsten

On message with gay rights: Bill Lann Lee, President Bill Clinton's assistant attorney general for civil rights, clarified the Democratic Party's position on gay rights Monday when he presented a portion of the Party platform at the Democratic National Convention.

Lee said the party was committed to protecting the "right of gay and lesbian families to live in our communities." Directly following Lee at the Podium was San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President Roberta Achtenberg, who began her speech with, "I am a lawyer, a mother and a lesbian."

-- Los Angeles Times staff writer Stephen W. Stromberg



Where's Dukakis? Busy, busy: Missing man Michael S. Dukakis strolled into the FleetCenter on Monday night with his wife, Kitty, just as Al Gore was wowing them on the convention floor.

Michael Dukakis, who is not speaking in prime time -- or at all -- hasn't exactly been kept under wraps, but having lost the 1988 presidential election, he's not the donkey that Democrats like to trot out for a national audience.

Still, he said Sunday night at a tribute to George S. McGovern (remember him?) that they're keeping him busy:

"I begin at 8:15 tomorrow welcoming the Montana delegation to the Northeastern [University] campus. Then I talk to four youth groups, then I go to a literacy event. Then Kitty and I host a party at our house for Greek American Democrats. That's just Day One."

Flying under the radar is OK with him.

"We don't have speaking places, us guys who didn't make it," he said cheerfully. "They introduce us, that's it."

-- Los Angeles Times staff writers Robin Abcarian and James Rainey

Killing us softly with(out) his song: At a club called Avalon near Fenway Park, a throbbing crowd of twentysomethings waited into the wee hours for a glimpse of the most sought-after couple in America this week: the Clintons.

It was a long, long night. Some of the entertainment, provided by Rock the Vote and Democratic GAIN, was cross-generationally cool (DJ Biz Markie hauled out hits from the '70s and '80s).

It was endearing to watch Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe swoop in to rescue poor Cate Edwards (daughter of the would-be V.P.), who ran out of things to say after 30 seconds onstage.

Later -- much, much later -- sulky pop star Lauryn Hill showed up and performed a song that had something to do with politicians impaling people with lances.

She felt her song was important. So important that she stopped the music and ordered her audience to "Listen. Listen. Listen to the lyrics." Then she said she had to go.

A source told Floor Notes: "And she got paid $25,000."

It was 2:15 a.m. Monday before about 2,000 people left disappointed. Despite numerous "We want Bill!" chants, it was clear that Clinton had better things to do.

-- Los Angeles Times staff writers Robin Abcarian and James Rainey

Pretty nails, and pile drivers: There's something in the Boston air besides a cool breeze and Democratic promises to smack "Dubya" upside the head: voter registration. A group called 1,000 Flowers rolled in from the Bay Area, its organizers saying they were determined to put their hot pink and yellow counter displays in 1,000 beauty salons in eight states.

Co-founder Francesca Vietor, an environmental activist, said she was alarmed that an estimated 22 million single women didn't vote in 2000. She'll be handing out tens of thousands of emery boards with the message: "Hey girlfriend, don't let this election be a nail biter. Register here to vote."

World Wrestling Entertainment, meanwhile, sent Big Show, a 7-foot-2-inch, 500-pound former champion -- and a few of his friends -- to urge young people to vote.

With TV lights beating down and sweat dripping from his forehead, the mountainous Mr. Show proclaimed, "Smack down your vote!" before retreating to cooler climes.

-- Los Angeles Times staff writers Robin Abcarian and James Rainey

How will GOP treat Al Jazeera?: Al Jazeera reporters received credentials to the convention, but the Arab television network that has often aired tapes from hostage takers and Osama bin Laden was forced to remove its sign overlooking the FleetCenter hall.

Asked whether the same rule will apply in New York at the Republican convention - where President Bush hopes to tout his record fighting terror - GOP Chairman Ed Gillespie was flummoxed by the question.

"That's a good question," Gillespie said. "I need to think about that."

-- Los Angeles Times staff writer Peter Wallsten

Hey, no chair-throwing onstage!: Jerry Springer is taking a short reprieve from his TV show to play the real-life role of an Ohio delegate to the Democratic convention this week. Springer hasn't missed a Democratic convention since 1972, he said, and had no intention of sitting out this one. As he stood in the Sheraton Hotel lobby Monday, being interviewed by CNN about the prospect of running for Ohio governor in 2006, Springer spoke seriously about the vision of the Democratic Party.

Until, that is, the crowd came. "Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!" a group of women shouted, edging closer. With disposable cameras in hand, more fans approached; Springer signed autographs, shook hands and basked in the attention. As for running for governor, the former Cincinnati mayor said, "It's disrespectful during a presidential race to say anything. There will be a time for that. But if I decide to run, I will stop the show this season."

The crowd became so animated at one point that it interrupted Springer's interview with CNN's Bill Hemmer. The TV anchor didn't seem to mind, saying he has known Springer for almost 20 years, since working as a sports producer at the Cincinnati station that made Springer famous.

-- Chicago Tribune correspondent Jeff Zeleny

Focus on disabilities: Addressing delegates from her wheelchair, Chicagoan Marca Bristo said Monday that more laws are needed to protect disabled Americans and give them greater opportunities to pursue happiness on their own terms.

Paralyzed in a diving accident about 30 years ago, when she was in her 20s, Bristo now chairs the non-profit Chicago-based Access Living. She said her children have been around people with disabilities all of their lives and that has taught them tolerance as well as activism.

Since the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, she said, progress has slowed and once again people with disabilities are being relegated to second-class citizenship. "John Kerry and John Edwards will restore progress and put an end to bigotry," Bristo said.

-- Chicago Tribune editor Dawn Turner Trice

Abortion foes outnumbered: At a Dunkin' Donuts on Boston's Commonwealth Avenue, a small group of revolutionaries gathered Monday to plot strategy. They were members of Democrats for Life of America, who are pushing for greater acceptance of an anti-abortion position within the Democratic Party.

They acknowledged they have a tough fight at a convention where scores of delegates sport buttons saying "Pro-Kerry, pro-Edwards, pro-choice," but they insisted they would not be cowed. "It is an uphill battle," said Jay Ware of Rockford, Ill. "Desegregation was an uphill battle." Added Eva Ritchey of Hendersonville, N.C., "We're going to bring the Democratic Party to a higher ethical plane."

The group is holding a rally Tuesday featuring Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) at Faneuil Hall. They say the party hurts itself in the South and elsewhere with its abortion rights stance. But so far, Ritchey said, the reaction of party leaders has been, "Thank you, but couldn't you stand over there in the corner, a little quieter?"

-- Chicago Tribune editor Naftali Bendavid

This show is a complete joke: Given the throngs of so-called real journalists in Boston for the convention, it was refreshing to find one who proudly proclaims himself a fake--Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show," whose network, Comedy Central, promises he will provide "sporadically accurate and rarely fact-checked" coverage.

At a breakfast with reporters Monday, Stewart asked that he be identified only as "a highly placed comedic source."

He rejected the idea that his show has great influence with young viewers.

"Here's the thing about influence: I have none. And I think world events bear me out," Stewart said. "I'm more concerned about the enormous amount of people who get their news from you guys." In a wide-ranging critique--OK, rant--on the media, Stewart leveled this zinger at Fox News: "Fox is an interesting network, but they're not doing anybody any favors with a narrative that says Kwanzaa is the reason your life sucks."

-- Chicago Tribune editor Naftali Bendavid

In 'loo' of better speaking venues: Nothing is more coveted at a national political convention than a prime-time speaking spot, especially in this age of curtailed television coverage. But Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich indicated that Democratic officials in Boston this week are flush with speaking engagements.

"The Democratic National Committee ... invited me to speak at 4:30 in the morning in the men's room at Faneuil Hall," Blagojevich told members of the Illinois delegation at their opening breakfast on Monday. "We learned in 2000 every vote counts. The Democratic National Committee is taking nothing for chance, so some of us [who] couldn't make it on the national stage are going to be doing our part toiling in the wee hours of the morning."

-- Chicago Tribune staff writer Rick Pearson

Boston doesn't know beans: Arriving convention delegates were greeted in their hotel rooms with copies of Panorama: The official guide to Boston, a magazine that contains some typical Beantown braggadocio. In a feature on the "hidden secrets" of Fenway Park, the home of the Boston Red Sox, the magazine touts the ballpark's manually operated scoreboard as "the only one left in the Majors." Of course, the scoreboard at Chicago's Wrigley Field is operated by hand. That raises the question of whether the magazine believes the National League is not part of "the Majors," or just the Cubs.

-- Chicago Tribune staff writer Rick Pearson

Election 2000: The last word: Although many Democrats are trying to get the 2000 election debacle off their minds, the copy editors at the Washington Post are still living in the past. The front page of their special section on the Democratic National Convention featured a giant photo of Sen. John F. Kerry and running mate Sen. John Edwards--under the heading "Election 2000."

-- Los Angeles Times researcher Susannah Rosenblatt

Eggs with a side order of Bush bashing: At a California delegation breakfast today, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco said: "George Bush's war of choice in going to Iraq has cost us many more lives than it should have, hundreds of billions of dollars more than it should have. And it cost us our reputation in the world. George Bush has got to go." The crowd erupted in cheers.

Rep. Bob Matsui of California also struck a harsh tone, calling Bush "clueless or incompetent-or maybe both."

-- Los Angeles Times staff writer Michael Finnegan

Real, not rah-rah: "John Kerry is a better man than George Bush. My guy is like a real, real tested guy. America needs a real leader, not an Andover cheerleader this time."

-- Democratic strategist James Carville, emceeing the first-ever Democratic veterans' caucus at a Boston hotel this afternoon.

Reality doesn't come cheap: Kerry campaign strategists Mary Beth Cahill and Tad Devine poked fun at talk show host Jerry Springer's efforts to become an at-large Democratic delegate from Ohio. Springer, former Cincinnati mayor, has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for large and small Democratic campaigns this year.

Joked Cahill: "It cost him $500,000 to become a delegate, I read."

Devine responded, "He should have hired us ... It would have been cheaper."

-- Los Angeles Times staff writer Doyle McManus

Showcasing Latino outreach: While John F. Kerry was throwing out the first pitch Sunday evening at the Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway Park, backers of a major Latino outreach initiative to help put him in the White House were partying nearby.

The Washington-based group known as the New Democrat Network has showcased New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Rep. Robert J. Menendez of New Jersey and Rep. Loretta Sanchez of Anaheim in the most extensive Spanish-language advertising campaign so far this year--spending more than $3 million in Florida, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona to promote Democrats and attack Bush.

While the network's financial backers ate hors d'oeuvres like tuna ceviche on taro root chips and Dungeness crab cakes with cumin aioli, Sanchez thanked them for "working with our community and making sure that Latinos understand we are the party with principles, with values and policies that are going to move our community to the future."

Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano told the crowd: "This ad campaign is one of the shrewdest I have ever seen." Noting that 7 million to 8 million Latino voters are expected to turn out in November, Miami-based pollster Sergio Bendixen said: "In 2000, the Republicans did a terrific job of Latino outreach. How the world has changed in four years. The Democrats have realized they're going to have to fight for the Hispanic vote."

-- Los Angeles Times staff writer Nick Anderson

Ohio cache: "We're here right now in Columbus, a place which has always been heartland America, the birthplace of eight United States presidents. May I today find somebody to adopt me, quickly? I want a little bit of that pedigree."

-- John Kerry speaking to Columbus residents during a "front porch visit" Sunday.