* "In fact," Gail Sheehy writes in "Hillary's Choice," her just-published psychobiography of the first lady, "she told Tony Podesta, an Illinois Democratic Party official, that she might have saved Senator Carol Moseley-Braun 'if my team had gotten to Chicago a month earlier.' "

"I am not now, nor have I ever been, an Illinois Democratic Party official," Washington lobbyist Podesta told us yesterday. "I was the president of the College Young Democrats of Illinois in 1964. Sheehy once made an appointment to interview me and then she canceled it." Hmmm. Maybe she mistakenly showed up to interview Podesta at party headquarters in Springfield, Ill.

The President Talks Tofurky

Cause Celeb Martin Sheen-- President Josiah Bartlet on NBC's "The West Wing"--is teaming up with PETA to give the homeless a special holiday treat: Tofurky--a meatless alternative to turkey. "I have to confess that I'm not a vegetarian. I used to be. I think it's a great idea, and I'm trying to get back to it," the 59-year-old actor told us from Los Angeles, and then suddenly burst into a rendition of an old Frankie Valli hit: "I'm working my way back to you, babe!" Sheen added: "You know that song? It's a great song."

Sheen and his wife of 38 years, Janet, were vegetarians throughout the '70s and early '80s, but gradually grew out of the practice. "It's a laziness. With the fast-food restaurants, you can just grab a bite. I think that's the biggest reason why people are not vegetarians. It's so simple," said the longtime yoga devotee who suffered a heart attack in the late '70s during the filming of "Apocalypse Now."

Sheen touted a couple of other causes: Vice President Gore's White House bid and his own campaign against nuclear testing. Sheen, who has been arrested 60 times during protests, said he'll ring in the millennium making trouble at the Nevada Test Site. "I'm thinking maybe I'll start the year in jail," he said, urging us to join him. "You want to do something you can talk about to your grandkids: Be there or be square!" We hope he gets out in time to come to Washington Jan. 28 for more "West Wing" filming.

Call 911!

* Georgetown neighbors of C. Boyden Gray--President Bush's White House counsel and a possible attorney general in a George W. Bush administration-- ratted him out yesterday for not cleaning up after his dogs. "He's the scofflaw-in-chief," one enraged neighbor told us, claiming that the blue-chip lawyer habitually risks a $100 fine by leaving his Italianate villa without the required poop paraphernalia to walk a French bulldog named Daisy in nearby Rose Park. (Gray's springer spaniel, Dickens, often came along before dying of old age two months ago.)

"Oh, my goodness. Give me a chance to mend my ways," Gray said. "I'm chastened. But if my neighbors are so exercised, I wish they would speak to me rather than speak to you. Sometimes I get very distracted and I forget to bring something, like a plastic sandwich bag." Never again, he promised.


* Rep. John Dingell checked out of the hospital yesterday, saying he feels fine after his fainting spell at Tuesday's Peace Links gala. "On Tuesday I got up at 6 a.m., swam half a mile and had a light workout in the House gym, went to six meetings around town, did a full day's work, gave a pint of blood, and then had one martini--shaken, not stirred," the 73-year-old Michigan Democrat told us, conceding he overdid it.

* Celebrity Tips: Vice President Gore dropped by D.C.'s cyberStop Cafe yesterday morning, paid $8.65 for a cup of medium-roast coffee and a half-hour of computer time--during which he e-mailed presidential rival Bill Bradley about alleged flaws in his Medicare plan--and left a $20 (or 231 percent) tip. And Motown legends Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson dined with friends Tuesday night at the Savoy, tipping 37.5 percent on a $600 check.

* An unhappy Patricia Duff reacted yesterday to a New York judge's decision to dismiss her $1.6 million child-support claim against billionaire ex-husband Ronald Perelman. "This wasn't about what's good for a child. This was about what's good for a billionaire," Duff told us the day after the court ordered Perelman to pay just $12,825 a month to support 4-year-old daughter Caleigh, not the $132,000 a month Duff asked for.

* The White House scoffed at a New York Daily News report that Chelsea Clinton will be playing first lady during her mother's Senate race. "She won't be," spokesman Marsha Berry told us. "She's a full-time student, and that's where her energy is going to be."

* George Executive Editor Richard Blow--passed over for the top post at the magazine founded by John F. Kennedy Jr.--resigned as expected yesterday, hoping to "decompress."

CAPTION: Sheehy: Three strikes . . .

CAPTION: Sheen, in character on "The West Wing."

CAPTION: For Gray, maybe D.C. should post dispensers like this New York one, below.

CAPTION: Gore drops into cyberStop; a judge disses Duff's lawsuit.