The Boss is hot and he's steaming up the town.

"Wanna dance with The Boss?" an ad in Sunday's Washington Post invited, "Front row dead center, $2,500 pair."

This is no joke. Springsteenmania has descended on the nation's capital like another layer of budget anxiety. T minus six days and even the power elite is counting.

Don't be fooled by Sen. Bill Bradley's (D-N.J.) low-key nature, for instance. It's said that he's a true rock 'n' roller underneath those pin stripes, and will be found next week among those sandwiched into RFK stadium for Bruce's careening and caroming. Of course, Springsteen is one of his constituents.

"He's a big fan," says Bradley's spokeswoman Liz Pettengill. "Bill's interest goes back quite some time. He's in the process of writing an essay on what Bruce Springsteen means to New Jersey. In fact, he was listening to 'Born in the USA' on the plane the other day while he was writing the essay."

According to this week's Legal Times, the local law firm of Sutherland Asbill and Brennan assigned staffers and interns to wait in line from Monday through Thursday for tickets. About 27 employes took turns in shifts that lasted anywhere from four to 10 hours. The firm secured 68 tickets, which will be raffled off on Monday, concert day. Partners have no privileged claim to the tickets.

Unlike last summer's Michael Jackson Victory Tour, where cosponsor Pepsi-Cola provided members of Congress and White House staff with tickets and transportation, VIPs have been left to fend for themselves this year.

"No one in this office is going," says John Buckley, spokesman for Rep. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.). "But if you hear of any extra tickets, let us know."

"We have been trying desperately to get some tickets," says Kevin Sweeney, spokesman for Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), "for days."

"I got a call from an administrative assistant on the Hill who said The Boss wanted tickets to see The Boss," says Jeff Trammell, a senior vice president for Gray & Co. "Well, we have secured some but our sources are under close wraps. Now everyone in my office will read this and want the tickets."

Some of those driven by the beat have had to put their desires on hold.

"Rick Burt and Gahl Hodges and I were dying to go," says Carolyn Peachey, a Washington public relations executive, "and we tried to get tickets before realizing that Rick's swearing in as ambassador to West Germany was on the same night as the concert."

"I had promised people I'd get tickets and I just couldn't get enough and now people are mad at me," says restaurateur Mo Sussman. "I have been getting tickets for people for 12 years and this is the hardest it's ever been. Normally, I can get them for anybody."

"I have made a general sweep of the White House and though I found considerable interest in tickets, I haven't found anyone actually going," says White House spokesman Pete Roussel. "Big ticket issues like the budget take precedence here. I didn't find anyone who would turn any down, though."

The beat goes on.