Terry McAuliffe, Fundraising Client

Terry McAuliffe, former Democratic National Committee chairman and fundraiser extraordinaire, is raking in some serious money for himself: He has signed a seven-figure advance with St. Martin's Press for his inside look at Democratic politics.

The book -- tentatively titled "Bring It On!" -- is McAuliffe's exuberant, in-your-face take on 25 years with the Democrats, starting with Jimmy Carter's failed presidential reelection campaign and ending as DNC chairman, a position he held from 2001 until February. The deal was based on a three-page proposal that launched a bidding war among five publishers for "great, funny, inside stories that no one else has heard," McAuliffe said yesterday in his trademark low-key manner.

Like what? He wouldn't tell us, of course. We'll have to shell out to read behind-the-scene tales about Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and big-bucks Democratic donors. The man who once wrestled an alligator for a $15,000 contribution raised a record $578 million as DNC chairman and more than $1 billion total for his party. He has been collecting material for two months and was lunching around town this week with DNC staffers to fill in the blanks.

The book is scheduled to come out shortly after the 2006 midterm elections -- as the presidential race heats up. "It's going to jump-start the '08 election cycle, " he says. Just in time for Hillary '08.

Straight Out of Left Field: Condi Rice's Cousin Connie

We've all got our little family secrets, and Condoleezza Rice's swept in this week from the West Coast (hey, same place we keep ours!): her second cousin, prominent Los Angeles activist-lawyer Constance Rice.

She's brilliant, she's driven -- and she's a total lefty! Wednesday, she had plenty of unsolicited workplace advice for her cuz from the dais of the Institute for Policy Studies' Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Awards.

"She needs to get another set of those stiletto boots and tell Dick Cheney, 'These boots were made for walkin' and they're gonna walk all over you,' " Rice said.

The tireless counsel-for-the-oppressed -- co-founder of the Advancement Project and formerly with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund -- presented an award to Barrios Unidos, a California-based group that works to reform gang members. (Judge Juan Guzman Tapia of Chile, who pursued former dictator Augusto Pinochet, was also honored.)

Our colleague David Montgomery reports that Connie Rice emphasized how much she loves and admires Condi but admitted that "family reunions are interesting."

"She has a Chevron oil tanker named after her. I'm working on getting a Greenpeace trawler."

Ludacris, Putting Howard on His Map?

For anyone who didn't already know what kind of frenzy sets in on Georgia Avenue in mid-October, rapper Ludacris explained it to the world this summer in his hit song "Pimpin' All Over the World." *

Jump in the car and just ride for hours

Makin' sure I don't miss the Homecoming at Howard!

Not only will throngs of Howard University alumni come to town this weekend (along with swarms of students from other schools bypassing their own homecomings), so will a dizzying array of hip-hop celebs: baby-faced crooner Usher, raspy-voiced rapper Jadakiss and everybody's favorite Howard-dropout-turned-all-media-magnate, Diddy.

Most of the big names will perform at the pricey nightclub parties not sanctioned by the university. But the campus will host a number of stars, including Method Man and actor Larenz Tate as parade marshals -- and model-actor Tyson Beckford as "surprise" guest judge, sources tell us. (We think there might be a football game somewhere in the middle of all of this, but we're not sure.)

And Luda? Will he walk the talk, drive the rap, join the party? "He's trying to put it in his schedule," his rep told us. "He wants to stop by."

* Note to parental units: Pimpin' doesn't mean that anymore.


More than friends: Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston -- who spent the last few months insisting they were just pals -- are a couple, according to the Celebrity Romance Investigative Squad at People magazine. True, the ink is barely dry on Aniston's divorce from Brad Pitt, but this affair is more than just a revenge shot at Brangelina: "The Break Up" co-stars have been locking lips all over Chicago and lunched with Vaughn's mom. "She was all wrapped up with that guy she's supposedly not dating," one onlooker told People. Denials have given way to "no comments," so gentlemen, start your nicknaming. Vinnifer has the lead, Jence and V.J. are possibilities, but personally, we think Vaughniston has a nice ring.