'Still the One'? Not Any Longer

John Hall was watching CNN's coverage of a President Bush rally Thursday night when he heard a song with a familiar ring to it. It was "Still the One" by the '70s pop band Orleans, a tune the Bush campaign has been using to stoke the crowd at campaign events in recent days.

The song is familiar to Hall because he wrote it, with ex-wife Johanna Hall, and rode it up the charts as Orleans's lead singer in 1976. Hall was not flattered by the revival: Hall thinks Bush has been a disastrous president and is mortified that people might think that the campaign's embrace of "Still the One" constitutes an endorsement.

From his home in New York's Hudson Valley, he called John Kerry's national headquarters -- but couldn't get past the computerized operator. He then called Kerry's Ohio headquarters, figuring a real person would be working in the swing state. He got Jennifer Palmieri, who is running communications there for Kerry. As Hall's luck would have it, Palmieri was sitting next to a Washington Post reporter. Delighted at the chance to vent, the musician told The Post's John Harris that "my mouth dropped open" when he heard his song being used at the rally. "That's my composition, my guitar, my voice" -- all being used on behalf of a president he deplores. Hall said he's going to be in touch with his music publisher, EMI Music, to see if Bush-Cheney is violating the song's copyright. Even if it's not, Hall fumed, "it's in violation of the spirit of the law."

Bush-Cheney spokesman Reed Dickens told us yesterday: "We try to pick music that fits the atmosphere and venue. As soon as we found out about the complaint, we pulled the song."

Missed You, Too, Mr. Rumsfeld

Rummy's back! After disappearing to an undisclosed location around the time of the Abu Ghraib scandal, acerbic SecDef Donald Rumsfeld was seen prowling the Pentagon's fifth corridor on Thursday en route to do some radio interviews. When he passed a couple of reporters, including the New York Times' Thom Shanker, Rumsfeld quickly unsheathed his much-missed rapier wit.

"Thom, what are you doing here?" Rumsfeld asked.

A rather confused Shanker replied, "What do you mean, Mr. Secretary?"

With his sly smile, Rummy teased as he strolled on by: "I thought all the New York Times reporters were out working on the Kerry campaign."

Noted . . .

We hear LL Cool J will be offering his coin-tossing talents at Howard University's homecoming game today. He will not be rapping or singing the national anthem, however. That honor has gone to New Edition (you remember them, the R&B group that formerly featured Bobby Brown) . . . Well, well, well. Rush Limbaugh and CNN newsgal Daryn Kagan's hot and heavy (not to mention surprising) romance is escalating, says U.S. News & World Report's Paul Bedard. Whispers of happily ever after are in the air, and apparently Limbaugh has even talked to Kagan's fam about their future, which can start just as soon as the conservative radio king's third divorce is finalized.

. . . and Quoted

"I wouldn't go that far."

-- Hugh Grant, deadpanning to Oprah Winfrey's assessment that Julia Roberts is "one of the nicest people I ever met."

-- Compiled by Anne Schroeder

from staff and wire reports

John Hall cried foul after the Bush camp used his song "Still the One."Heating up: Kagan and Limbaugh.