When Washington moviegoers see the upcoming movie "Mr. and Mrs. Bridge" and recognize a familiar Kansas twang to the voice of star Paul Newman, it's because he's had training from an expert: Sen. Robert Dole. Newman and his wife, Joanne Woodward, are starring in the film in which Newman portrays a 1930s Kansas lawyer. Aware he would need help sounding like a Jayhawk, Newman wrote to the Kansas Republican in late July, pointing out that he knew they were on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but asking for his help.

In the film, Newman explained, the lawyer is asked by his daughter for help in learning her lines for a high school production of "Romeo and Juliet." "Would you do a little Romeo and Juliet for me on tape, Kansas style," Newman wrote to Dole. The Senate minority leader dictated a bit of the balcony scene into a tape recorder and sent it to Newman. The tape must have been helpful since Newman wrote the senator a letter of thanks, pointing out he will be listed as "Shakespearean Tutor to Mr. Newman" in the film's credits. When word gets out, Dole may be so busy giving Shakespeare readings he won't have time for the Senate's budget problems. Out and About The frustration over Capitol Hill's budget morass manifested itself last weekend in the vandalizing of Rep. Robert Michel's Peoria, Ill., home. It is the second time in nine months that someone has spray-painted the House minority leader's house with anti-tax messages. In green paint on the front of the white frame house was written: "Cut Taxes, Deficit" and "Repeal -- Stolen Pay Raise" ...

Effi Barry attracted considerable attention Tuesday, all dressed up and shopping with a security guard and son Christopher at the Safeway at 14th and G streets SE. The city's First Lady, in a jade silk dress and pearls, made efficient use of her security guard by leaving him with the shopping cart in the long checkout line while she made forays into the aisles doing comparison shopping and bringing items back. She patiently waited some 20 minutes in line, and although she was recognized, no one approached her ...

Naomi Judd, the senior, sexier half of the mother-daughter country music team the Judds, announced yesterday that she will retire at the end of the current tour. The 44-year-old singer-songwriter said declining health prompted the decision. She was diagnosed with hepatitis 10 months ago. Her daughter, Wynonna, will continue her career as a solo act ...

Sixty-five prominent actors, writers and directors, including Edward Albee, Colleen Dewhurst, Stephen Sondheim, James Earl Jones, Jerome Robbins and Robert Wilson, are filing friend-of-the-court briefs supporting two lawsuits attacking the constitutionality of the National Endowment for the Arts' anti-obscenity pledge. The suits against the NEA were brought by the Bella Lewitzky Dance Company in Los Angeles and the New School for Social Research in New York, which were awarded 1990 NEA grants, but refused to comply with the anti-obscenity provisions enacted by Congress ...

Now things are so bad that American Express's new slogan is "Don't leave home. Period." ... and things are so bad that Perpetual Bank just changed its name to Temporary ...