Jewish World Review August 25, 2004 / 8 Elul, 5764
GOP glamour?; twins on the march!; Nick Berg's is PO-ed
Celeb-starved Republicans are desperate to pump up the glitz in next week's national convention.
So a GOP celebrity wrangler is burning up the phone lines to dozens of reps in an effort to book some genuine A-listers for President Bush's nominating party.
That, in any case, is the premise of "Calling All Stars!", a feature in New York magazine's soon-to-be-published Convention Special.
In it, MTV "Boiling Points" personality Eric Wippo, pretending to be a Republican booker, hoaxes reps for the likes of Star Jones (who didn't respond to his suggestion that she sing "Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves," accompanied by Condoleezza Rice on keyboard), Joan and Melissa Rivers (who turned down a pitch to do red-carpet critiques of GOP heavyweights outside Madison Square Garden), Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, Cindy Adams, Lionel Richie and Robbie Knievel.
With the Olsen Twins' rep.
Wippo: "Hi, I left you a message about the Olsens presenting the Bush twins?"
Publicist: "Yes, I got it. Let me say how flattering it is to be asked. The problem is, they aren't really doing anything right now. Mary-Kate just got out of a treatment facility a few days ago . . . "
Wippo: "What was Mary-Kate in for?"
Publicist: "She was being treated for an eating-related disorder, but she's managing it very successfully."
Wippo: "You know, we'll have all kinds of free food at the convention."
With Lionel Richie's rep.
Wippo: "The concept is that Lionel would perform a duet with Nick Lachey, Mr. Jessica Simpson. We'd love them to sing a duet of 'Ebony and Ivory.'"
Publicist: "What? But that's not even his song."
Wippo: "I know, but we thought in the spirit of unity and racial "
Wippo: "Like 'Dancing on the Ceiling'?"
Publicist: "Maybe not that."
With Cindy Adams' assistant.
Wippo: "We want a diverse parade of New Yorkers . . . I know that Cindy was once crowned Miss Bagel. We thought maybe she could put on her Miss Bagel outfit and "
Assistant: "That ain't gonna happen."
With Robbie Knievel's rep.
Wippo: "Has he ever jumped elephants before?"
Publicist: (Long pause.) "No."
Wippo: "Because elephants are the symbol of the Republican Party. We're thinking 20 elephants. You know, prime time, outside Madison Square Garden."
The father of murdered American Nick Berg, who was beheaded in Iraq by al Qaeda-connected militants, is still seething over his alleged treatment during a June 21 appearance on "Good Morning America."
West Chester, Pa., resident Michael Berg who plans to be in New York next week to protest the Republican Convention on Tuesday told Lowdown and the "Democracy Now!" radio show that ABC producers booked him to discuss Saudi Arabia beheading victim Paul Johnson but then reneged on a promise to let him criticize the U.S. war in Iraq.
"The thing was, they wanted to ask me questions about Nick and his illegal detention. I said, 'I'll only go on if I can express my views against the war.' And they agreed," Berg told this column, adding that after he declined to remove a T-shirt reading "Bring the troops home now," ABC wouldn't show it on the air. "It was Charles Gibson who interviewed me," Berg said. "I think Charles Gibson is part of the corporate-controlled media that doesn't want the public to know what the war is all about.
"Look at the way they report the news every day: '41 Iraqis killed, 3 Americans.' What is that, a football score?"
An ABC spokeswoman pointed out that Berg did indeed express his anti-war views during the segment, and said: "While our hearts go out to the Berg family, Mr. Berg's claims are unfounded. Mr. Berg was treated fairly and with respect throughout the entire interview process. 'GMA' aired the segment prominently, and the transcript speaks for itself."
TWINS ON THE MARCH!: The Republican Convention is a political coming-out party for presidential daughters Jenna and Barbara Bush who until now have steadfastly refused to participate in their father's campaigns. But Tuesday they put their names on a mass e-mail to the youth demographic, urging support for Dear Old Dad. "You should also know that we would be voting for our dad in this election even if he had not raised us, loved us, tutored us, coached us, and even listened to a few excuses from us for late curfews," write the 22-year-old twins. "Our dad has qualities that are needed in a good president loyalty, humor (embarrassing as it sometimes may be), compassion, and, most importantly, integrity." On Tuesday, the daughters' spokeswoman, Susan Whitson, told me "the language is largely their own." Whitson left open the possibility that Jenna and Barbara might have a cameo speaking role in Madison Square Garden.
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© 2003, Creators Syndicate