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City of Angles

Consultants Like the Sound of President Cusak

July 31, 2001|ANN O'NEILL

We know what he can do at the box office, but how would John Cusack perform in the Oval Office? Yes, there is such a thing as a John Cusack for President campaign.

We encountered the grass-roots effort recently while googling Cusack on the Internet. Actual Democratic political consultants--the Carol/Trevelyan Strategy Group--are behind the fledgling attempt to draft Cusack for the highest office.

Dan Carol and his partner Stuart Trevelyan, who both worked with the Clinton administration, hope to motivate Democrats to find an unbeatable presidential candidate for 2004. "We figure that if Ronald Reagan can be president, and Warren Beatty thinks he can, then why not a guy like John Cusack?" asked Carol.

"Our plan is to demonstrate a grass-roots support and get to a point where he can't ignore it anymore," Carol added. Cusack is smart, cool and has strong opinions. Best of all, the consultant says, he's from the Midwest. (Cusack is from Chicago, and still has a house there.)

"You need the flyover states to win 270 [electoral] votes. Just ask Al Gore," Carol said.

The political consulting company, based in Eugene, Ore., and Washington, D.C., represents dozens of progressive groups, including Planned Parenthood and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Since the Cusack for President site went up three months ago, more than 200 people have signed up as block captains. (Check out http://www.junction-city.com/billboard/cusack/theword.asp.)

Cusack turned 35 on June 28, so he's eligible to run. We don't know how he feels about a future in politics, but he hasn't had anything good to say about the Bush administration. His publicist says Cusack is on vacation after promoting "America's Sweethearts" and can't be reached. Compared to Hollywood press junkets, how hard can a presidential campaign be?

John, baby, destiny calls. Not interested? Not to worry. The consultants say, "We like his sister, Joan, a bunch."

The Name Game

It's always fun and informative to run into Tea Leoni and David Duchovny. A week after they goofed about their adventures in butt painting at the "Jurassic Park III" premiere, we encountered them again at a screening of Davis Guggenheim's PBS documentary "The First Year."

Leoni informed us that she's considering changing her name to Tea Duchovny. She thought about hyphenating, but Leoni-Duchovny is such a mouthful. Besides, she pointed out, "Leoni isn't even my real name." (She was born Elizabeth Tea Pantaleoni.) And since the birth of daughter Madeline West two years ago, those Mama Leoni jokes have gotten old.

"I think she should do it," Duchovny said. "It's the only way my name will ever be on an Oscar."

Meanwhile, environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his architect wife, Mary Richardson, have settled on a name for their sixth child. The baby was born July 13, while Kennedy was locked up in Puerto Rico in connection with protests of Navy bombing exercises on Vieques. And so, the boy shall be known as Aidan Caohman Vieques Kennedy.

His dad is due to be sprung Wednesday from a federal detention center in suburban San Juan, where he's serving a 30-day sentence for trespassing on Navy property. Meanwhile, in a largely symbolic gesture, residents of the island off Puerto Rico voted Friday for a halt to the bombing maneuvers.

Love Bites

Pop music siren Willa Ford, who used to date Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys, offers pointers on hickeys in August's Blender magazine. "Hickeys on the neck are so cheesy," she says. "If I tag someone, I'm going to leave my mark. I think the stomach would be kind of hot."

As for hiding hickeys, Ford, whose single "I Wanna Be Bad" has been riding high on the pop charts, recommends a four-step process: Apply ice, add moist heat, cover with concealer and, if all else fails, accessorize.

"You should embrace the hickey," Ford says. "Accept it and go around proud and say, 'This is my hickey."'

Whither Woody?

Woody Harrelson was happy to ring us on his cell phone (when he remembered) during his 1,500-mile bike trek along the Pacific Coast promoting organic living. Now the former "Cheers" star is incommunicado.

Actually, he's in Costa Rica. We're told that Harrelson is not available to talk about his latest film, "Scorched," which finished shooting in Los Angeles earlier this month.

The movie, which also stars John Cleese and Alicia Silverstone, tracks the lives of several bank tellers and their separate, bumbling schemes to rob their employer.

Bob Mazza, publicist for Danny Sherman, one of the producers, reports that Harrelson is living in a lean-to, unburdened by modern conveniences.

"He doesn't even have a cell phone out there," Mazza said.

Sightings

Barbra Streisand, dining with friends at Tampa Bay Buccaneer Keyshawn Johnson's restaurant, Reign ... Sharon Stone and dragon-bitten hubby Phil Bronstein were spotted there on another night ... Sidney Poitier, lunching at Morton's, where Ben Affleck also was seen recently at dinner

*

Times staff writers Gina Piccalo and Louise Roug contributed to this column. City of Angles runs Tuesday-Friday. E-mail: angles@latimes.com.

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