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THE RACE TO THE WHITE HOUSE | CAMPAIGN 2004 / TRAIL
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Sharpton's Got a Brand New Bag

June 06, 2004

The Rev. Al Sharpton is coming to a TV screen near you.

The erstwhile Democratic presidential candidate, known for spicing up dull debates with one-liners, has a new gig: political commentator for CNBC, covering this summer's national conventions.

Sharpton will appear on "Capital Report" and "Dennis Miller," among other shows.

"Having run for the Democratic nomination, Rev. Sharpton brings to our viewers an insider's perspective on presidential politics," Cheryl Gould, supervisor of CNBC's political coverage, told Associated Press.

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'Babs' Kerry

John F. Kerry, nightclub singer?

The Republican National Committee's newest Internet send-up of the Democratic presidential candidate, called "Kerryoke Lounge," features a cartoon version of him smoking onstage, wearing a vintage tuxedo. Playing on the soundtrack is the Barbra Streisand ballad, "The Way We Were," complete with modified GOP lyrics.

One verse goes: "Scattered issues / At John Kerry photo-ops / Sort of all blend all together / With the flips he flopped."

The spoof is being released Monday, timed to coincide with a Democratic fundraising gala that night at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Kerry will give a speech, and Streisand, Neil Diamond and others will perform.

"As performers like Barbra Streisand sing John Kerry's praises, we wanted to provide some more realistic lyrics reflecting John Kerry's voting record," said RNC spokeswoman Christine Iverson.

The Democratic National Committee launched a tongue-in-cheek Internet parody of its own last week -- a Cosmopolitan magazine-style "relationship quiz" that asks, "Is your man lying to you?"

A sample multiple-choice answer: Your man "tells you he's working late, but comes home smelling like Big Oil."

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Wanted: Gay Delegates

The Democratic Party wants the voices of gay and lesbian Democrats heard.

So much so that more than a dozen states and Puerto Rico are aiming to include set numbers of gay and lesbian delegates at the national convention this July in Boston.

California's goal is 22 gays and 22 lesbians among a 440-member delegation. Colorado is looking for three gay or lesbian delegates out of 64; Rhode Island hopes that one of its 32 delegates will be gay or lesbian. The numerical targets are not required, but are an attempt to diversify the views represented at the convention, officials say.

The Republican Party has not set similar, specific goals. But the GOP, which will convene its national convention in late August in New York, encourages the "broadest possible participation" from all groups, party officials say.

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The Wrong Word

Shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, President Bush compared the fight against terrorism to a "crusade," a word that swiftly sparked criticism for evoking the Christian holy wars against Muslims during the Middle Ages.

Since then, Bush has been careful to not cast the terrorism war as a fight against Islam. In a speech last week, he seemed to signal that he has learned to step around the cultural sensitivities of the Muslim world -- even if it meant editing U.S. history.

"On this day in 1944," Bush told graduating cadets Wednesday at the U.S. Air Force Academy, "Gen. Eisenhower sat down in his headquarters in the English countryside and wrote out a message to the troops who would soon invade Normandy. 'Soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force,' he wrote, 'the eyes of the world are upon you.' "

But Bush omitted a bit of Eisenhower's famous message in advance of D-day:

"You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you."

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Duly Quoted

"Working on it. I'm working on it." -- Sen. John Kerry, when asked during a conference call with supporters this week who will be his vice presidential running mate.

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Compiled from staff, Web and wire reports by Times staff researcher Susannah Rosenblatt.

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