De Niro gets chummy with Clinton

GOOD MORNING: “Don’t shoot him–” Harvey Weinstein alerted the Secret Service — as Robert De Niro reached for President Clinton’s jaw! The scene was in the back hallway of Roseland, the site of Hillary Clinton’s birthday bash (53rd) Wednesday night. Clinton and De Niro were cooking up a skit in which the thesp instructed the president in the proper (New Yawk) pronunciation of “forget about it” — “fuhgeddaboudit!” while “adjusting” Clinton’s cheeks. Looking on in amazement were Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz and Ben Affleck. Later, onstage, the president followed with glowing remarks about his wife in an evening that raised $2 million for her senatorial campaign. Hillary ad libbed, along with m.c. Nathan Lane as Cher’s arrival at Roseland was delayed. De Niro had made it on time even though he had come from a memorial for his late mother. Harvey Weinstein and Jane Rosenthal produced the birthday fund-raiser. Harvey also continues his hefty support for the Gore-Lieberman ticket and had some strong words decrying Ralph Nader. “Enough is enough!” Weinstein said of Nader daring to equalize Gore and Bush … On the campaign trail and aboard the Joe Lieberman plane, filmmaker Ron Frank (“The Eternal Road”) confirms he is shooting a 90 min. theatrical behind-the-scenes, “private and public” docu on the vice presidential candidate. Ann Benjamin and Charles Rohn are teamed with Frank for the film tentatively titled, “What a Country.” Producer Frank tells me of Lieberman, “He’s an unbelievably nice guy — a real mensch!” … This weekend, Rob Reiner spearheads a Gore-Lieberman celeb vote-getting plane to Washington, Oregon and Wisconsin. On board and campaigning will also be “West Wing’s” Martin Sheen and Dule Hill and Alfre Woodard … More than $500,000 was raised at the People for the American Way’s Spirit of Liberty Awards honoring “West Wing’s ” Aaron Sorkin and David and Sheri Mount Wednesday at the BevHilton.

THANKS BUT NO THANKS: Stanley Donen tells me, “I am moved by the credit, ‘Special thanks to Stanley Donen’ (director-co-screenwriter) Harold Ramis gives me on screen in ‘Bedazzled,’ but I want to make it clear that I had nothing to do with making this version.” Which, in case you don’t get it — Donen didn’t dig. He says he was never sent a script (of the new version) nor was he invited to a screening. Donen’s 1967 “Bedazzled,” scripted by Dudley Moore and Peter Cook, has become a cult film through the years. But Daily Variety‘s review of the current “Bedazzled,” by Joe Leydon allows, “This latest comic update of the Faust legend is pretty damn funny on its own terms” … Starting Nov. 2, the trial against Alois Bruner will be in the hands of the president of the Criminal Court of Paris — with the trial in absentia expected to take place in February. And, “Alois Bruner: The Last Nazi” bows Oct. 27 at the Laemmle Five on Sunset. Bruner, the most notorious Nazi war criminal responsible for sending more than 128,000 Jews to death camps, is believed to be living in Damascus, Syria. The docu, eight years in the making, is produced by J&L Prods. and Cinevision, USA … Wednesday, in N.Y., the Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbi Marvin Hier met privately with U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. Hier says he pointed out to Annan that while the U.N. Assembly has condemned Israel for violence, howcum the U.N. hasn’t enforced one of its charter paragraphs by failing to recognize the fact, since Oct. 1, there have been 203 anti-Semitic attacks worldwide and 93 synagogues torched or defiled — and not a single statement from the U.N. Hier asked Annan to condemn these actions from the pulpit of the UN and to decry those responsible for this violence.

JACK VALENTI, SPEAKING AT the 150th anni celebration of the U. of Rochester, was picketed by some 100 supporters of code-crackers — students who support a program allowing free DVD viewing. Valenti surprised the protesters by not having ’em thrown out of the celebration, but instead invited ’em to talk — in a hallway where they sat on the floor. After two hours of talk (Jack can handle that easily) the students actually applauded him — and some asked to have pix taken with Valenti … And Bob Barker got a standing ovation after addressing the Harvard Law Forum on the impact gameshows have had on American pop culture … Before departing Thursday night for the Oz site of “Survivors 2” to tape a one-hour E! Entertainment special, Linda Grasso says she had to sign a half-dozen legal docus including clearance of CBS and “Survivors” of any liabilities for bodily injury! Among suggested items to bring with her Down Under: a flashlight that will fit on her head — to allow freedom of her hands — to fight off alligators. Linda and the other vidcrews will sleep in tents during their brief stay. And viewing of their tapes is not permitted until after Jan. 3 … Susan Dubow, a partner in the Bragman Nyman Cafarelli praisery is departing the biz to devote her life to raising Shira Rose Dubow whom she adopted July 13, 2000. Susan is moving to her family’s home in Jacksonville, Fla. — where she plans to work in the field of adoption. Hollywood’s loss is some child’s gain … PEN Center USA West’s 10th annual literary awards at the Biltmore included David O’Russell’s “Three Kings” and teleplay award for Jacob Epstein’s “Strange Justice” (Showtime). Universal sponsored and $100,000 was raised to support PEN’S anti-censorship efforts and “PEN in the Classroom” program.

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