Goes to show you: If you hang around long enough, you'll see everything. Taking a page from the Toni Morrison school of political analysis, former representative Robert K. Dornan (R-Calif.) is claiming that he is "the real Latino" in his bid to regain his seat from Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez.

He's been reported out in the barrios in the district, speaking some broken Spanish, praising family values, condemning President Clinton for Monicagate and denouncing abortion.

Dornan, whose attacks on "illegal" Latino voters made him as popular among Hispanics as Saddam Hussein at a Passover seder, figures he can use a traditional family values appeal to woo Latino Catholics.

This is not totally wacky. Dornan told the Los Angeles Times he only needs 5 percent of the Latino vote to get back his seat, which he lost by fewer than 1,000 votes. And a poll last week in the Orange County Register showed the race tightening, though only from a 21 percentage-point Sanchez lead to a 15-point Sanchez lead. Still, anyone who knows Dornan doesn't count him out.

But a few more Spanish lessons might be in order. After serving chicharrones at one event, he told supporters he planned to connect with Latinos "grande tiempo," the Times reported, noting that Latinos present chuckled at the mangled Spanish. Dornan wanted to say "big time," but the phrase doesn't translate literally.

Can you say Generalissimo Dornan? Another Week to Clothe the Gores

Important deadline extension for the Second Annual Gore Halloween Party Costume Contest. Some Loop Fans complained they needed more time to come up with a creative suggestion for the perfect costumes for Al and Tipper Gore to wear at their party for the press on Oct. 31. So we're moving the entry deadline from Oct. 15 to Oct. 21.

Send your suggestion -- one per person -- to: In the Loop, Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or e-mail to Loop@washpost.com. Top five winners will be announced here and will receive those prized In the Loop T-shirts. On Balmy Autumn Day, Democratic Defenses Fall

It was one of those gorgeous Washington fall days last Sunday and just about everyone working on the Hill who could manage it was trying to take a break from a grueling week of work.

But a lot of people didn't make it, including some Democratic aides on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and some labor union lobbyists. Seems the House GOP leadership sent around a list of bills to be considered on the House floor Monday morning. Included was S. 2349, the Hazardous Materials Transportation Reauthorization Act.

That was odd, the staffers thought, because both parties had failed for months to come to agreement on the bill and the Monday "suspension" calendar was for noncontroversial matters, hardly the Hazmat bill. Also, the bill was a Senate measure that had not passed the Senate or even been reported out of a Senate committee.

Still, the Democrats had to take the measure's inclusion on the calendar at face value. So aides began preparing "Dear Colleague" letters opposing the bill and working up talking points for members. (The GOP staffers just assumed it was a mistake.)

The Democrats were all set Monday, when they learned their work was all for naught. The list should have read H.R. 2349, a bill to rename a federal office building in Los Angeles as the Augustus F. Hawkins Post Office Building, in honor of the Democratic former California lawmaker.

As Emily Litella would say, "Never mind." In Map Room, Lonely Widow Under Oath

Jonathan Kopp, who worked in the first term in the Clinton White House counsel's office and is now a corporate communications consultant in New York City, thought it might be worth, literally, 2 cents, as advertised, to get a digital video disc (DVD) of President Clinton's grand jury testimony.

So he sent off that amount, plus $2 for shipping and handling, to NetFlix.com.

But there was a problem with the video. It sure didn't look like Clinton on it. NetFlix explained in a follow-up e-mail note to customers that there was "an error with some copies" and that some don't have the testimony but "rather material that could be deemed offensive."

Offensive? A classic X-rated Japanese-language porno video clip called "The Lonely Widow"?

"Now I understand what Ken Starr was watching when he did his report," Kopp quipped. Bill and Susan Go to Market

Still sifting job offers is former House Republican rising star Rep. Bill Paxon (N.Y) who's leaving the Hill at the end of this term. But he's not worried. He said the other day that he's dealing with "over 80 inquiries about jobs in various stages of seriousness."

There is a small problem, however. His wife, former representative Susan Molinari (R-N.Y.), who was, ever-so-briefly, a television host who's now teaching at Harvard, is also in the market. So "we have to be careful so I'm not representing the widget manufacturers and she's representing the widget laborers." Off the Trough

Moving around . . . Gregory R. Watchman, a labor lawyer who had been chief labor counsel to the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources and more recently deputy assistant secretary of labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, has become of counsel to the D.C. office of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker.

John Goodman, formerly on the National Economic Council staff and more recently deputy undersecretary of defense for industrial affairs and installations, is leaving the Pentagon to work for Andersen Consulting.