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Throwing His Chair in the Ring?

By Richard Leiby
The Washington Post
Thursday, April 7, 2005; Page C03

The nutty professor: TV host Jerry Springer will address students at the University of Maryland tonight, but it won't be a lecture on how to incite chair-throwing riots among tattooed guests arguing over their trailer park three-ways.

No, the leaders of tomorrow will hear from a serious Springer, who is pondering a renewed political career and whose issues-based radio show just went national on the liberal network Air America. "I don't give speeches about the TV show," the former Cincinnati mayor told The Post's John Maynard yesterday. He says he'll open with a joke about the show but prefers to hew to "the politics of the day." (Indeed: Next week he addresses Yale Law School.)

Springer On His Talk Radio Show
Springer On His Talk Radio Show
Jerry Springer will get serious about politics tonight at the University of Maryland. (Glenn Hartong - Cincinnati Enquirer via AP File Photo)

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The Democratic entertainer predicts turmoil in the Republican Party despite last November's triumph. "Last week we were talking [on the radio show] about the Terri Schiavo case and how elements of the Christian right have taken over the Republican Party," he said. "It may in fact be the Republican Party that's in trouble because of the civil war that will take place within it."

Springer, 61, hasn't ruled out a Senate or gubernatorial bid in Ohio but told us he's focused on his radio gig. It's hard for him to shake his association with the daily rough-and-tumble of the syndicated "Jerry Springer Show." Even during campus visits he can't escape the occasional "Jerry, Jerry, Jerry" chant.

"There's some of that," he confessed. "But when you're dealing with college students you're dealing with pretty smart people. They move along with what the subject is as long as I keep it entertaining." But of course, no lesbian dwarfs.

Wynonna, Doing Her Country Proud

• It has been a whirlwind few days for country superstar Wynonna Judd, who met with wounded troops at military hospitals here and accepted an award from the USO of Metropolitan Washington. "If you want a mood elevator, you go talk to a 20-year-old who had just lost both limbs," she told The Post's Jose Antonio Vargas Tuesday at the Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City. "I'm not gonna complain if my room service is a little late tomorrow."

The USO honored the singer that night at its annual dinner; the more than 600 guests included Jane Pauley, Connie Stevens, Miss America 2005 Deidre Downs, New York City cop-turned-"America's Favorite Tenor" Daniel Rodriguez, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard Myers and wife Mary Joe, and Lt. Gen. Richard Cody, an Army deputy chief of staff and former commanding general of the 101st Airborne. Judd, who met Cody in 1991, called him "the father I never had." The night raised over $400,000 -- each table, mind you, cost $8,000.

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(Kelly Landis - Alliance for Justice)
Last week it was Bill Frist with "Sesame Street's" Elmo and Rosita. Now, in our continuing series of photos of senators and cause-advocating characters, we bring you Ted Kennedy posing yesterday with Phil A. Buster (the megaphone-headed guy) and his cohorts Checks and Balanz from the Alliance for Justice, which is urging lawmakers to preserve the Senate filibuster. (See nifty cartoon at www.savephil.com.)


• First lady Laura Bush rose with the rest of the National Theatre audience Tuesday night in a standing ovation for Jefferson Mays's performance in the one-man play "I Am My Own Wife," which tells the story of an East German transvestite cunning enough to survive first the Nazis and then the communists.

• Crooner Paul Anka, honored at a gala put on Tuesday night by the American Task Force for Lebanon, told the crowd about meeting former president Bill Clinton at a recent private dinner in Washington. "He was really nice to me. He told me how he used to make out to my songs. That was, until Hillary ripped the stereo system out of the White House." (Yes, folks, it was a joke.)

• "I'm Antonio Banderas and I want to rock your boat." That's the public service message the actor is broadcasting on behalf of Oceana, a Washington-based conservation group that works to protect sea life and habitats. Banderas, born in the seaside town of Malaga, Spain, recorded the radio spots, released this week in English and Spanish, at the request of Oceana board member Ted Danson.

• Good timing: Redskins QB Tim Hasselbeck and wife Elisabeth, who co-hosts on ABC's "The View," welcomed their first child yesterday. The baby girl and her father have the same birthday.

With Anne Schroeder

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