Ross Perot seems to have picked up the campaign basics right quick. The vending machine at his petition headquarters in Dallas spits out free sodas for one and all. He also offers burrito fixins. Bride-to-be Doro LeBlond and her mom, Barbara Bush, dropped by Arnold Scaasi's showroom in New York this week. A final wedding dress fitting for LeBlond's marriage to Bobby Koch later this month, perhaps?

Tony Award-winning entertainer Ben Vereen is in critical condition at UCLA Medical Center after being hit at 2:45 a.m. yesterday by a pickup truck while walking across Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, Calif. A spokesman said Vereen, 45, sustained major internal and head injuries and a fractured leg, but there appears to be no brain damage.

Hotelier Marshall Coyne filed suit in U.S. District Court in Alexandria against Laws Auction and Antiques Inc. for $1.5 million, charging that the company auctioned off furniture and art stolen from the Madison Hotel and other properties. Coyne alleges that a former employee brought truckloads of antiques to Laws over a four-year period. Troy Laws, general manager, calls the suit "meritless."

New York Post society columnist Billy Norwich and David Breul, former editor of European Travel & Life, are being mentioned as candidates for the recently vacated editorship of the blueblood monthly Town & Country. Euro Life, with its pages of foreign aristocracy, is considered the perfect steppingstone toward the snooty T&C.

Paramount Pictures has purchased former deputy secretary of state Steve Pieczenik's novel "Maximum Vigilance," a political thriller with coups, more coups and an unstable president. Pieczenik served as deputy secretary during the Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush administrations. No ideology there.

Modest Maryland Rep. Tom McMillen has been boasting to friends that "Out of Bounds," his new book on corruption in sports, is the first ever to have three Rhodes scholars on the cover -- McMillen, his coauthor, Paul Coggins, and the writer of the foreword, Sen. Bill Bradley.

Ken, It's Not!

Now how's that for gratitude! The Patagonia Trading Co., which got worldwide free publicity when a pixilated Dan Quayle bought its anatomically correct South American Indian doll in front of the international press corps in Chile two years ago, has turned around and made, at the request of a mischievous American businessman, 1,000 "anatomically correct" Dan Quayle dolls. The obscene wooden trinket -- complete with blue eyes, blond hair and a red tie -- sells for $15.

How Much for a Double?

Secret Service agents and White House reporters used to upscale accommodations when traveling with the leader of the free world are in for a bit of culture shock when they arrive at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro tomorrow.

Seems that all that's available are so-called "love motels" -- where rooms rent the hour due to the high, shall we say, romantic turnover.

George Bush's Secret Service has booked all 39 rooms at the VIP's motel, where the Presidential Suite goes for $65 for 12 fun-filled hours. The Associated Press in Rio reports that VIP's is top-rated, with four hearts in a local guidebook and five bunnies in the Brazilian edition of Playboy. Agents staying there will be able to relax in the motel's hot tub, view porn films or keep an eye on themselves in the mirrored ceiling.

The White House press corps is bunking at the more modest Dunas motel, which merited only two hearts and five bunnies. But Playboy insists the rooms are "impeccably clean and well decorated." The magazine also praised the motel's food, highly recommending the shrimp stroganoff.

The 'Born' Again Player: It's Her Choice

As word gets around that National Theatre veep Alma Viator has been tapped to cast four minor speaking roles for Disney's remake of "Born Yesterday" to be filmed here, she's becoming an increasingly popular person. The starring spots for the flick about influence peddling have already been assigned to hot couple Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith. The cameras roll at the Willard in July. And even though Viator has already approached WUSA anchor Gordon Peterson to play a reporter, still available are roles for: a street vendor, a flirt (to hit on Griffith) and a hunk cabdriver.

"By the end of the month I figure it'll be impossible to tell my real friends from all my new, theatrical friends," says Viator.

Tongue in cheek, of course.