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The News Of the Weird

By Mary LOUISE Kelly, The Asspcoated Press

Nixon for President, Again?

WASHINGTON--For Nixon-haters, it was the moment they'd been dreading for 18 years. For fans of the former president, it was a dream come true.

Thousands of listeners of National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" program Wednesday tuned in to hear Richard Nixon--as played by impersonator Rich Little--announce his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.

As with Orson Welles' Halloween 1938 broadcast of "War of The Worlds," panic erupted in some quarters before listeners realized it was all an April Fool's Day joke.

"People rushed out to tell their mailmen, some were crying, they were really emotional," program host John Hockenberry said of people who called in after the program ended.

Little read an "announcement" speech:

"I would not boast of a career in which so many tragedies and setbacks have occurred," Little, playing Nixon, said. "I would only say that it is the true leader who stands alone...having marched up this hard road and won back your confidence, I ask you once again, my fellow Americans, to make me your president."

Hockenberry later opened the phone lines. Before callers went on the air, they were let in on the joke-- and played right along.

"They were giving serious analyses of how it would be easier for the Democratic Party if Nixon were the nominee. Someone else thought Nixon was too liberal," he said.

Pass the Pizza

LAKE ORION, Mich.--Speedy Pizza workers tossed as fast as they could but came up 9900 pies short on an order by lead singer Bono of the Irish rock band U2.

Bono ordered 10,000 pizzas March 27 for his midconcert pizza party at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Three Speedy employees delivered 100 hot pies to the stage.

"It was my most unforgettable delivery of all time," said Tim Wieczerza. "They cleared a place on the stage for the pizzas and shined a spotlight on us and people started screaming 'Pi-zza, Pi-zza.' "

Wieczerza obliged, tossing boxes like Frisbees into the crowd.

Each deliverer received a $50 tip.

Don't Be Cruel

NEW YORK--Elvis Presley has been sighted again, and he's in New York, running for president.

If Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton had any inclinations towards an identity crisis, he probably would have jetted out of New York Thursday for Las Vegas and an unlimited engagement as a lounge crooner.

Clinton, whose nickname is Elvis, was asked by two talk show hosts to sing "Don't Be Cruel." Later, television interviewer Charlie Rose asked Clinton to do his best Elvis Presley impersonation.

Clinton burst into song and when he got to the chorus, added, "My message to the New York press--Don't Be Cruel."

The local media in New York City have been giving the Arkansas governor a tough time ever since he arrived in the Big Apple.

Dee Myers, Clinton's press secretary, didn't say whether the candidate would start growing sideburns, comb his hair into a pompadour, or don the white leather fringed jackets or aviator shades favored by The King during his Las Vegas days of the early '70s.

Barbie Meets Russia

MOSCOW--She's short on clothes, lacks a beau and doesn't know what a surfboard is, but Veronika is something America's Barbie doll isn't: inexpensive for Russians.

"Veronika disappears as soon as soon as she hits the shelves," said Dmitri Arkhangelsky, the chief engineer of Russia's hottest new doll.

Slightly taller and wider than Barbie, she is the Russian response to growing demand for Western-style goods.

Barbie's big edge on Veronika is boyfriend Ken.

Krugozor designers have been working to come up with an acceptable design for Veronika's "young man," as Arkhangelsky calls him.

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