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Papa Don’t Preach

Democrats are shouting hypocrisy over Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) hosting a fundraiser next Monday night at Madonna’s “Reinvention World Tour” concert at the MCI Center, seeing as the conservative Congressman openly decried what he called “obscene, indecent and profane” material on television following the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident. [IMGCAP(1)]

“Come take a ‘Holiday’ with Rep. Lee Terry and Madonna,” reads the invitation. Admission to boogie with Terry (from far away in a sky box) to the “Like a Virgin” pop star is $2,500 per couple, $1,500 per person. The National Republican Congressional Committee even lists the event on its official Web site, with an entreaty to “come ‘Celebrate’ with Congressman Lee and Madonna.”

“I’m sure Congressman Terry’s supporters back in Omaha will be just as surprised as Madonna to see that this so-called conservative is using the Material Girl’s concert and her copyrighted image to raise money for his campaign,” said Greg Speed, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has pinned high hopes on capturing Terry’s seat this fall.

“He’s railing against the Janet Jacksons of the world and then embracing Madonna to raise money for his campaign,” smirked Barry Rubin, executive director of the Nebraska Democratic Party.

But Nebraska Democrats got a little carried away with their Terry bashing and now the Republican’s camp has something to rail back against. Before blast faxing the official “Terry Hypocrisy” press release, Rubin wrote up another release on Nebraska Democrats letterhead in which he wryly claimed that Washington has changed Lee Terry, since he’s now hanging around “a performer who led the movement to degrade our modern culture.” The never-meant-to-be-released release also accused Terry of violating McCain-Feingold campaign finance laws, although it offered no evidence to back up the claim.

And the line that really irked the Terry campaign? “Porn hotlines and bisexual erotica. Who knew Terry was so kinky?” — a reference to Madonna kissing Britney Spears, and to Terry’s mixup last year when he thought he was listing a toll-free Medicare hotline for his constituents but instead listed the number for a sex chat line. Rubin says he never intended to publish the racier press release. “It was a joke,” he insisted.

But the Terry campaign isn’t laughing. “Calling a Congressman kinky is way over the line,” Terry spokesman David Boomer said.

As for Terry’s interest in Madonna, Boomer said the Republican only opposes vulgarity on television, on the public airwaves. “At concerts people are free to do as the please,” he said.

Norquist on “Hot Chicks.” Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, in an online interview with The Washington Post last Sunday, was contacted by his former neighbor (and apparent political polar opposite) Gene Weingarten, the Washington Post humorist who wrote in to take issue with Norquist’s remembrance of the late President Ronald Reagan — and to inquire about Norquist’s knack for finding beautiful women to accompany him places. Here are excerpts of the Post online chat:

Gene Weingarten: “Hey, Groves. Your erstwhile neighbor Weingarten here. The old ’hood is a less interesting place without you. I very much miss the well-dressed, eager young plutocrats with cell phones on your lawn.

“Listen, I don’t want to throw a wet blanket over the Reagan weepfest … But what about having inaugurated an era in which unbridled greed was celebrated by the commander-in-chief, where the give-of-yourself idealism of the Kennedy years was finally supplanted by the politics of naked self-interest, greed-is-good, I-got-mine, screw-the-desenfranchised [sic], let-em-die-of-AIDS, kleptocratic mindset that, one might argue, led to the Enron mentality? What of the zillion-dollar deficits? What of the DARK SIDE of the Reagan sunnysmile optimism?

“Just wondering. Hey, how come you are always in the company of hot chix?”

Norquist: “Hi Gene. Great to hear from you … We miss you terribly.

“Your first point that the Reagan years were periods of unbridled greed and periods of Democratic presidencies are ones of self sacrifice and civic mindedness is a cliched cliche about the Left … Periods of inflation and unemployment like those under Jimmy Carter were not ennobling. They sucked …

“… As to ‘the company of hot chix,’ it flows directly from my being a loyal Reaganite. We each get three. I don’t know if that is supposed to be a secret, but that is why our numbers have been increasing.”

Second Chance for Gephardt? No, not Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.). This time it’s daughter Chrissy. She kicked off her surprise campaign last night at the Phoenix Park Hotel, announcing that she is a contender on “American Candidate,” Showtime’s new reality series focusing on young aspiring politicians, which just began filming last week.

Chrissy Gephardt is one of 12 finalists, all of whom were slated to announce their candidacies in cities across the country last night on what was to be the first elimination round of the show. The candidate with the fewest number of supporters present is doomed after this round.

Gephardt, who turned 31 in April, appeared to be in good shape. House Democratic heavyweights — including her father and Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) — were fanning out across Capitol Hill yesterday to make sure she had a packed room for the campaign launch so she could move on to the next round. The contestant still standing at the end of five weeks of filming will become the official American Candidate. The winner gets $200,000 and a “nationwide media appearance after the show so the ‘American Candidate’ can make his or her address to the nation,” according to the official American Candidate Web site. (Showtime can’t say its reality candidates are running for president, because of Federal Election Commission rules, but Gephardt says that’s basically what she and the other candidates are pretending to run for.)

But none of them seems to be pretending. Gephardt and another competitor we spoke to are taking the show very, very seriously.

Lisa Witter, 30, who is taking five weeks off (she hopes) from her job as vice president at Fenton Communications for the taping of the series, says she has a real interest in running for office and “American Candidate” is giving her broad exposure, the ability to amass an even bigger rolodex and access to “bankrolls of huge donors.” In a shot at Gephardt, she said she’s running as an outsider, the daughter of a mill worker and a diesel mechanic.

Gephardt, who is a lesbian, is running on three-tiered platform to improve health care and education and create fairness for women, racial and ethnic minorities and gays and lesbians.

She’s optimistic that the country is ready for an openly gay (pretend) president. Asked about her father’s views, she said, “He’s 70. It’s a challenge,” But she added, “I think my father would say, ‘you can do it, but it’s a challenge. Its not going to be easy. I mean we don’t even have a woman president, let alone a gay president.’”

Gephardt, who worked on her father’s 2004 presidential-primary bid, says her role models in politics, she says, are Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and her father.

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