Dr. Laura, Down From the Mountain

* Is there a word for "chutzpah" in Latin? Radio talk show yenta Laura Schlessinger somehow got close enough to Pope John Paul II to present him with her latest book, "The Ten Commandments: The Significance of God's Laws in Everyday Life," during a July 7 visit to the Vatican. "I gave him a copy of my book because I wanted him to know we share respect and reverence for God's laws," Dr. Laura told us. (Actually, her quote was relayed to us by a press rep, who got it from one of Dr. Laura's staffers, who apparently got it from Dr. Laura.) She added that "the pope stands for right or wrong no matter what the calendar year." We'd like to believe the Holy Father doesn't know about all those X-rated snapshots of Schlessinger--the ones from a disgruntled ex-boyfriend that were posted on the Internet.

WARREN WATCH

Beatty? Warren Beatty? Liberal philanthropist Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream--who'll address federal budget priorities at the National Press Club today--just got off a Windjammer schooner cruising the Maine coast and was completely ignorant of the presidential fuss until we told him yesterday afternoon.

"Wasn't he the guy that did 'Bulworth'?" Cohen asked. "I loved that movie, especially those rap songs." And then, over the phone from a roadside somewhere in Maine, Cohen performed his own hip-hop number, "The Move Our Money Rap"--with which he intends to entertain today's press club crowd. To wit:

Spend MORE on education--well THERE'S a good idea

but WHEN they gonna do it? AIN'T exactly clear.

Over HERE you got the schools with one-NINTH of the spending

Of the PENT-agon that's over there with MO-ney that's unending

Hey, little bunny, we just gotta move the money . . .

"I've got some good moves," Cohen told us. "With all due respect, I think I'm a little better than Warren."

(To hear a free Sound Bite from Cohen's rap song, call Post-Haste at 202-334-9000 and press 8154.)

Former ladies' man Beatty wouldn't tell us his presidential plans this week, but ex-Brat Packer Molly Ringwald was happy to oblige. She doesn't have any, alas.

"I think that our political system needs help," said the 31-year-old Ringwald, who last month married French novelist Valery Lameignere and tomorrow opens in the movie "Teaching Mrs. Tingle," playing a substitute teacher. "Now it's not something that young people look up to or aspire to, and that's a shame. . . . Politicians have gotten so out of touch with what people want."

On the other hand, she wants Beatty to go for it, if only for the principle of the thing. "I agree with him in a large part politically," said Ringwald, though she doubts he'll take the plunge. "It seems like to be president these days, you really have to have your private life under the microscope." In any case, she's supporting Vice President Gore. "I think he would make a really fine president. I think he has really good values. I wish that he was more exciting."

THIS JUST IN . . .

* Transplanted New Yorker Art Buchwald has sold his fabulous Washington condo to fellow syndicated columnists James J. Kilpatrick and Marianne Means--and it better be fabulous for the $750,000 they paid. "It has great sentimental value for me," Buchwald wrote in a note he left for the couple at the 2,163-square-foot apartment in the 2500 block of Pennsylvania Avenue NW. "Robert E. Lee stayed there after the Civil War and John F. Kennedy used it to meet with friends. Bill Clinton has a key, though I doubt he will use it anymore. . . . If you have a fight, one of you can walk to Georgetown."

* Feathers are still flying in the Smithsonian's foie gras flap. Yesterday one actress--Beatrice Arthur of "The Golden Girls"--and two groups--the Fund for Animals and Compassion Over Killing--joined protests over a Sept. 21 panel discussion and tasting of the pate delicacy, made by force-feeding ducks and geese to swell their livers. "I am not a vegetarian, but the extent of suffering of the birds . . . would be shocking to any meat-eater," Arthur wrote to Smithsonian Secretary Michael Heyman. "A macabre celebration of animal cruelty," the Fund's Michael Markarian called the event in another letter. Heyman's spokesman, David Umansky, told us the event will be held as scheduled: "It's sold out."

* Andre Agassi has entered our exciting Celebrity Tip Challenge, leaving 30 percent extra at Washington's Acapulco restaurant Monday night after downing margaritas and dining on chicken burritos with coach Brad Gilbert and Gilbert's son Zach. Agassi's in town for the Legg Mason Tennis Classic.