Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., is looking more like a presidential candidate each day. He even heads back to Iowa today, and it’s not just the cotton candy or The Super Bull Contest for livestock luring him to the midway at the Iowa State Fair, “America’s Favorite Fair,” this weekend. This is his second trip to the key state in the past few months – the first was to flog his book. His recent alliance with Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., on health-care reform signals to insiders a move to attract a broader and more moderate base of voters. Gingrich was successful in rallying a GOP majority in Congress with his Contract with America in 1994, so we’ll see if his appeal has waned by 2008.
Dogging a later story
While lunching on the wharf at Dockside in the Portland, Maine, harbor, an attractive lady with an adorable and well-dressed small dog, a Maltese named Lucky, befriended my pocket pup, Campari. She told me she was doing a book for Doubleday called “Doggie in the Bag” and asked if her photographer could shoot him. She introduced herself as Tina Diamond from New York. After engaging in conversation beyond the canines, she then told me she was the stepdaughter of actress Debbie Reynolds (Broadway’s darling in “Irene”) and decided to sell out for the money and write an unauthorized memoir of her stepmother. She got writer’s block on chapter 5 – whatever could that be? So her publisher gave her the go-ahead on the doggie photo book in the meantime. Her birth mother was actress Marie McDonald, but Diamond lived with Reynolds and her father, Harry Karl, as a youngster after McDonald’s death in 1965. Karl was the shoe magnate – Karls Shoe Stores was the nation’s largest privately held retail shoe chain – who gambled away his fortune and Reynolds’ jewelry, and died leaving her millions of dollars in debt. So, yes, Tina has a story.
Arnold’s bigger bang
It’ll set you back $100,000 if you want to sit with Rolling Stones fan Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif., at the Stones concert on Aug. 21 at Fenway Park in Boston. What a way to kick off the governator’s re-election campaign when the Stones launch their “A Bigger Bang” tour. Price too steep? Then shell out $10,000 for a pre-concert reception and handshake with Schwarzenegger and seats close to the field. That should wow fans and help him build a war chest of $50 million for the Nov. 8 special election in California. The results are crucial to his future political agenda and his re-election in 2006 – that is, as long as his supporters don’t listen too closely to the supposedly anti-Bush lyrics in such songs as the Stones’ latest, “Sweet Neo Con,” which Mick Jagger has stated does not directly refer to “W.”
Creative choice in Arianna
Dana Reeve, the brave young widow of actor Christopher Reeve, who this week announced she is battling lung cancer, will present the Creative Coalition’s First Amendment Award to Arianna Huffington. The Nov. 10 event in New York is sponsored by Esquire magazine. “Sex and the City’s” Mario Cantone will host. No question that both Huffington and Cantone exercise free speech. She’s in impressive company, since past recipients include Walter Cronkite, Christy Hefner and Phil Donahue.