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That's Entertainment -- or Is It?

Hip-hop giant Kanye West will perform for Democrats in Denver -- in an educational capacity, of course.
Hip-hop giant Kanye West will perform for Democrats in Denver -- in an educational capacity, of course. (By Matt Sayles -- Associated Press)
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Take the still-fresh conflict between Russia and Georgia.

Reporters have been bombarded with quotations from top Russian officials and briefing notes straight from the Kremlin thanks to Ketchum, the public relations firm.

Ketchum has been to working for the Russian government since 2006, when the Group of Eight summit was held in St. Petersburg. "Our role from the outset with the executive branch of the Russian Federation has been to facilitate communication between Russian government officials and international journalists on key issues affecting Russia with the primary goal to increase its openness, transparency and accessibility to the world's media," Ketchum said by e-mail.

Georgians have their own and very different PR operation. Computer hackers, presumably Russian, have blocked many Georgian Web sites, compelling a group of Georgian exiles now living in New York to set up their own pro-Georgia site.

George Shengelaia, a 46-year-old radiologist and neurosurgeon, has created with two other doctors native to that country the Georgian Daily ( http://www.georgiandaily.com), which is trying to get the government's message out.

The government is paying the Georgian Daily nothing, Shengelaia said in an interview last week. "We created a Web site to inform the public what's really going on in Georgia," he said.

The trio (Shengelaia does not practice now; the other two are practicing psychiatrists) will convert their company back into the real estate development firm it once was after the market picks up and, presumably, when the violence in their country abates, Shengelaia said.

Hillarycare Redux?

Harry and Louise are making a comeback.

The iconic couple, who starred in the 1993-1994 television ads credited with defeating President Bill Clinton's health-care plan, will appear in new commercials soon.

The famous couple at the kitchen table will remind America that they are still waiting "for a better way" during commercials to air during the Democratic and Republican conventions. But this time they will not be trying to kill a proposal; they will be urging congressional action. They will plead with the new president, whoever he is, to promote an overhaul of the health-care system as his top domestic priority.

Odd bedfellows including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Hospital Association, the Catholic Health Association, Families USA and the National Federation of Independent Business (the small-business lobby) are paying for the commercials, which are being produced once again by the legendary adman-lobbyist Ben Goddard.

Goddard, by the way, is married to the actress who plays Louise ( Louise Clark).


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