Rudy Giuliani's wife, actress Donna Hanover, is postponing her stage run in "The Vagina Monologues" because of "family circumstances," according to the New York Post. The decision comes less than a week after Senate hopeful Giuliani announced that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Hanover's initial decision to take the part brought considerable attention as a result of the play's graphic sexual content and author Eve Ensler's outspoken support of Hillary Rodham Clinton. The incident also revived talk about the strained Giuliani marriage, which has been rocky in the years since rumors surfaced of the New York mayor's infidelity.
Although Hanover vows to assume the role at a later, unspecified date, Giuliani himself won't have to exchange any tickets. He had previously announced that he would not attend the show.
State without pity
Some poll watchers expected Giuliani to get a bump in voter support thanks to his humanizing cancer diagnosis. But so far, no dice. As reported by Reuters, two surveys taken in the wake of Giuliani's cancer announcement show no sympathy effect in New York. The Quinnipiac College poll finds Clinton retaining a 46-to-44 lead against Giuliani, while a Zogby poll has the candidates in a dead heat at 43 percent each.
Searching for Sister Souljah
Giuliani's illness may have temporarily robbed Clinton of a suitable target for political attacks, but the Reform Party has supplied her with a replacement. New York Newsday reports that Lenora Fulani, perennial fringe candidate and Pat Buchanan's choice for vice president, has responded to charges Clinton made at New York's Independence Party Convention that Fulani and Buchanan have engaged in "hateful" and "divisive" rhetoric.
At a press conference, Fulani accused Clinton of making "slanderous attacks on me" to "score some political points by name-calling." She added, "The black community and black leaders have experienced a lifetime of efforts by professional politicians to manipulate and divide us."
Gore grasps at straws
Al Gore, despite his countless reinventions, remains locked in a fierce battle with George W. Bush, even in some solidly Democratic states, according to the Associated Press. Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin, all sure shots for the Democrats in the past three elections, are tossups this time around. Thus far, the vice president hasn't solidified his political base in the race, said political scientist Steve Schier, and Gore's flip-flops on Elian Gonzalez haven't helped. "He has created a lot of publicity for himself with a position that reinforces negative feelings people have about him -- that he shifts with the wind, panders, is not trustworthy," Schier said. Pollster Tim Hibbitts also credits Bush's leftward turn with weakening Gore. "Bush has been able to portray himself, despite a brutal primary, as a centrist Republican," Hibbitts said.
Austin ain't Bush country
Texas favorite son or not, Austin hasn't rolled out the welcome mat for Bush and his campaign. The Washington Post reports a cultural divide between the state capital's bohemians and new residents from the Bush team. The Bushies themselves don't dispute their fish-out-of-water status, according to campaign aide Joe Allbaugh. "I can't say [Bush] is a favorite son of Austin," Allbaugh admits. "He's sort of like a temporary resident in this government-funded house," says state Democratic Rep. Glen Maxey. "I think by and large most of the people who think of Austin wouldn't say this is a George Bush kind of town." Some residents go even further. Two Austin teens, Angela Robertson and Millie McGillie, came up with a novel way to get rid of their distinguished guest. Their slogan: "Support cannibalism. Eat George Bush."
Television's political prime time
The Washington Post reports that television stations are gobbling up money, thanks to the deluge of election year ads. Between candidates and lobbying groups, political spots have become a $600 million windfall for television, edging out fast food as the third highest sector in airtime consumption. Consequently, broadcasters aren't exactly leading the charge for campaign finance reform, especially because it could require free TV time for candidates. "The networks and the TV industry have been a huge roadblock in trying to fix the system because up pop the dollar signs," said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a nonprofit organization working for campaign finance reform. "The industry has a sweetheart deal and is not interested in making any moves to open the door to make it work better."
Lean, green labor machine
Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader wants organized labor working in his corner, the AP reports. The consumer advocate discussed his views with officials from the United Auto Workers, though he declined to ask directly for the union's endorsement. "I just tell people what we're doing," Nader said. The UAW has pledged to withhold its endorsement pending the outcome of a congressional vote on permanent normal trade relations with China. Nader shares labor's low opinion of the measure, unlike Gore, who has nonetheless secured the AFL-CIO's support.
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On the trail
Gore: Georgia and New Jersey.
7 a.m. -- Open phones.
8:15 a.m. -- Ambassador Michael Sheehan on counterterrorism.
9 a.m. -- Open phones.
9:15 a.m. -- Adriel Bettelheim, CQ Weekly.
10:15 a.m. -- President Clinton and Hillary Clinton, Ben Casey, the Dallas YMCA and others.
9:30 a.m. -- Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, with witness Charles LaBella.
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