A Sober Request

Now here's a worthy cause. The family of Robert Downey Jr. has launched a Web site, www.freerobertdowneyjr.com, dedicated to springing the sobriety-challenged actor from jail. The family is urging Downey's fans to join a letter-writing campaign to President Clinton and California Gov. Gray Davis, asking them to allow the 34-year-old actor to "serve his sentence in a lock-down drug rehab facility, instead of a California state prison." Downey, who has flunked half a dozen treatment programs, is serving a three-year sentence for violating his parole from a 1996 drug conviction. The Web site includes a handy form letter for folks to send, as well as an August column by The Post's Richard Cohen, titled "Free Robert Downey Jr."

No Bills for Bill's Bills

Talk about Presidential Nerve. Bernard Lewinsky--the dad of that famous former intern--received a letter from President Clinton's Legal Expense Trust asking him for a donation toward the prez's monumental legal bills. Lewinsky, a Los Angeles physician, marked the letter "return to sender" and added a note: "You must be morons to send me this letter." Then he sent a photocopy of the envelope to the Los Angeles Times, which published it yesterday. Lewinsky told the paper that was the second such plea he's received from the president's legal expense fund people, who are trying to raise $5 million.

In other Lewinsky family news, Monica Lewinsky announced yesterday that she has joined Jenny Craig. "I want to clarify rumors and news reports by saying that I'm on the Jenny Craig program, and I love it," said the ex-intern, who signed on with the diet company in early summer. Lewinsky isn't being paid by Jenny Craig, a company spokesman says.

The War on Haig

Alexander M. Haig Jr., the former NATO commander and "I am in control" secretary of state, was once the very definition of power. So it was a bit surprising Tuesday evening to see a visibly shaken Haig rushing to escape 10 women who'd blocked his path screaming "murderer" in protest of the war in Yugoslavia.

"Ladies, ladies--you're all nice ladies," Haig managed before pushing his way inside the American Enterprise Institute on 17th Street NW, where he was attending a speech by current NATO commander Gen. Wesley K. Clark. Haig, 74, regained his composure once inside the elevator, reports Post special correspondent Greg Seigle. "They don't even realize I was against the war" in Yugoslavia, he said. Once upstairs, Haig seemed tickled by the pushy protesters, laughing as he relived the verbal assault with former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Jeane J. Kirkpatrick.

End Notes

Vice President Gore and wife Tipper had a grand old time at Bruce Springsteen's show Tuesday night at MCI Center. The Gores, about four rows back from the stage, stood and danced the night away. "They thoroughly enjoyed themselves," said Tipper Gore's spokeswoman. "They stayed to the very last minute" . . . And the latest poll says: The Brits approve of Prince Charles's relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles and think he's doing a good job raising his sons, Princes William and Harry . . . Mona Lisa's secretive smile was due to her compulsive gnashing of teeth, says an Italian doc. The claim is that the noblewoman in Leonardo da Vinci's renowned portrait suffered from bruxism, an unconscious habit of grinding teeth during sleep or stressful periods, and that the strain of posing for the painting probably triggered an attack . . . Here's the latest from Skaneateles: The Clintons, touring various historical spots yesterday, stopped at the Women's Rights National Historical Park in Seneca Falls, N.Y. (where, history buffs will recall, the women's movement was born). The Post's Jennifer Frey reports that a park employee was so impressed with President Clinton's knowledge that he suggested the president take a job there once he leaves office. To which Clinton replied: "I can work cheap. I've got a good pension."

Lloyd Grove is on vacation. The Reliable Source will resume when he returns.

CAPTION: The Free Robert Downey Jr. Web site was created "to bring awareness to his plight."