The 2004 political ad with perhaps the most unusual opening will air Friday night for the first time: Carmela Soprano, standing in the kitchen, asking viewers to join the mob.

"No, not that mob," says actress Edie Falco, who plays a New Jersey mafia wife on the HBO series "The Sopranos." She's talking about MOB, or Mothers Opposing Bush, a political action committee started by an Annapolis writer and homemaker.

The anti-Bush PAC unveiled the spot in a New York screening room this week as part of its effort to mobilize mothers across the country to help unseat President Bush. It is scheduled to air Friday night on CNN and will appear a total of 10 times in a three-night run.

Founder Iris Krasnow said mothers have not been so energized since Housewives for Humphrey hit the stump in 1968.

This time, she said, they are hoping for a better outcome.

"I think our movement can be huge," said Krasnow, who has four sons. "Our mission is to get the voters out and get this president out."

The group claims 11,000 members in 155 cities who are opposed to the war in Iraq and Bush's handling of the economy, among other concerns. It has raised $175,000 and will spend $80,000 of that on the commercial, which was produced by Main Street Communications.

Falco said she welcomed the opportunity, even though she has never been involved in politics.

"I'm in a funny position, because I'm not used to people listening to what I have to say," she said. "I feel funny about actors being so politically loud. But I will speak my mind, as I have been asked to do, as one citizen with an opinion."

Conventional Confusion

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele delivered a big speech at the Republican convention, but it didn't save him from having a Samuel Pierce moment.

The late Pierce, also an African American, was secretary of housing and urban development under President Ronald Reagan. At a 1981 White House reception, Reagan saw Pierce and said, "How are you, Mr. Mayor? I'm glad to meet you. How are things in your city?"

Immediately after his speech Tuesday night, a passerby cheered Steele: "Great job, Mr. Secretary," apparently confusing him with Education Secretary Roderick R. Paige, another African American who spoke Tuesday night.

The good news for Steele was that he was invited to sit in Vice President Cheney's box for the Wednesday evening session. His boss, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., sat with delegates on the convention floor.

A Low-Key Davis

At the 2000 Republican convention in Philadelphia, Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (Va.) was at the center of the action as head of the House Republican campaign committee. New York has been a bit quieter.

Davis, traveling with his new wife, state Sen. Jeannemarie A. Devolites (R-Fairfax), has kept a low profile. He was honored at a lunch by Time Warner (he is chairman of the Government Reform Committee) and watched the New York Yankees' 22-0 drubbing at the hands of the Cleveland Indians.

Davis got a bit busier when Rep. Edward L. Schrock (R-Va.) decided this week to not run for reelection after a Washington gay activist claimed on his Web site that Schrock was secretly gay.

Davis said that Schrock sought his guidance at a committee hearing Aug. 20 in Hampton Roads and that the pair discussed the issue again Saturday. House GOP leaders were unaware of Schrock's dilemma, Davis said.

Schrock was not pressured, Davis said, and was "facing other issues," including an illness in his family. He said the second-term congressman's decision ultimately was forced by Friday's deadline for finalizing nominees on the November ballot. Davis added that Republicans knew of no other facts that would emerge.

"What's out there is out there. There is nobody else who will come forward, no evidence," Davis said. "Ed was a good member. . . . It's a tough business."

King for a Day

Between speeches and rallies, Maryland delegates have gotten in some stargazing at Madison Square Garden.

Boxing promoter Don King came down the aisle Wednesday night. He was shaking hands and posing for photos with Marylanders when a man from the neighboring Nevada delegation approached.

Joe Cortez, 60, of Las Vegas had a pair of boxing gloves draped over his shoulders. One red glove was painted with a portrait of President Bush, the other with one of Vice President Cheney.

But Cortez backed away quickly when he recognized the fight promoter with the famous high-flying coiffure. Turns out Cortez is a boxing referee.

"As an official, I have to keep my distance," Cortez said gravely, to chuckles from the Maryland group.

Boxing promoter Don King embraces a friend at Madison Square Garden, where he also shook hands and posed for photos with members of the Maryland delegation.