In Blue or Red, Party Dress for Fall '04

Politics is generally not the realm of trend-setting fashion mavens (exhibit A: former congressman Jim Traficant), but partisan-minded gals are going Manolo-a-Manolo to add some "Sex and the City" panache to the presidential race. At the Democratic convention, some wore spaghetti-strapped tanks emblazoned with "Kerry Me." Then in New York, glam young Republicans donned tops saying, "Pro-Manolo, Pro-Bush" and "Carrie doesn't speak for me. Neither does Kerry." (A reference, of course, to Carrie Bradshaw, the fashion plate on the HBO series played by Sarah Jessica Parker.)

But the pop-culture politicking didn't end there. A couple of weeks ago, Washington twenty-somethings Eve Fox and Jessica Alpert launched CarrieForKerry.com, where they've turned the famous "Carrie" nameplate necklace into "Kerry." Their pitch: "Bling bling has never been more patriotic." A portion of profits go to the MoveOn PAC. Sales so far have been "disappointingly slow," Fox, 27, told us Friday.

Business seems better for the Bushies: "This has become a cult craze," says Jessica Boulanger, 27, one of five Hill staffers marketing shirts on the just-launched Web site independentcouture.com. "The Bush twins are in love with these T-shirts." Proceeds go to charity.

Boulanger called the Kerry necklaces "predictable," but Fox shot back, "They're trying to bait us liberals. I know how that works. . . . Sounds to me like they're just [peeved] because everyone knows Carrie Bradshaw would be a Democrat if she were an actual person."

Maybe it's time to turn off the television -- and the Internet.

The Running Mate Runs Alone

* Vogue got famed photog Annie Leibovitz to take classy portraits of John Edwards and his family for its new issue, but Runner's World strikes back with a cover shot revealing the veep contender's well-muscled legs. The editor-in-chief, David Willey, had hoped to tag along with Edwards on a run but his request was nixed. "He's just very private about his running," Willey quotes an aide as telling him. "Asking to run with him is like asking to take a shower with him." (Really?)

But the five-time marathoner didn't mind talking about his passion: "I'm very much addicted to running," Edwards confesses in the interview, headlined, yes, "The Running Mate." The editors did not approach Vice President Dick Cheney for his views on the topic. "We knew that he was more partial to fly-fishing than running, so we didn't ask," a spokesman told us. Two years ago the magazine featured then-avid runner President Bush's legs on its cover. (Because of his bad knee, the prez has switched to an elliptical trainer and mountain biking for exercise.)

As for the burning question of why politicians run, Rep. Zack Wamp, R-Tenn., provides some insight. "Our jobs are filled with passion, and the debates we have could bring you to fisticuffs," he told the mag. "Running for me is a way to keep my temperament in check."

And if you haven't had your fill of Edwards profiles, Elle magazine is out soon with a piece on Elizabeth Edwards that includes photos shot by Tipper Gore.

Lorne Michaels, Catching the Twain in Washington

* Live from Washington, it's . . .

Chevy Chase, Dan Aykroyd and a slew of other stars who owe their careers to "Saturday Night Live" creator Lorne Michaels are lining up to salute him next month here. Michaels, the show's executive producer, is this year's recipient of the Mark Twain Prize, given by the Kennedy Center to those who keep us in stitches -- in the past that's meant Richard Pryor, Jonathan Winters, Carl Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Newhart and Lily Tomlin.

Michaels has been running a grooming school for comedians for 29 years through "SNL" and other projects. Joining the early cast members at the PBS-televised tribute Oct. 25 will be Darrell Hammond, Tina Fey, Tim Meadows, Molly Shannon and David Spade, reports The Post's Jacqueline Trescott. Add to the glitzy list some of the show's frequent hosts: Steve Martin, Christopher Walken and singer-songwriter Paul Simon, a close friend of Michaels's. And don't forget those knee-slappers from Capitol Hill, Sens. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) It's going to be a hoot -- and a hot ticket.

SQUIBS

* "How Bad Do You Want It?" That's the question facing the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field Monday night, and it's also the title of country star Tim McGraw's next big single. He'll be performing it at halftime as part of a video shoot in a collaboration with ABC Sports and NFL Films -- said to be the first on-the-field halftime performance on "Monday Night Football." Furthermore: McGraw, son of baseball legend Tug McGraw, makes his big-screen acting debut next month starring opposite Billy Bob Thornton in the football-focused movie "Friday Night Lights."

With Anne Schroeder