Rudy for President at JohnMcCain.com

Rudy Giuliani (R), the former New York City mayor and 2008 presidential candidate, apparently has some supporters in strange places.

If you use the Google search engine and type “Giuliani for president,” you’ll find that one of the sponsored links leads you right to … Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) presidential exploratory committee.

Is this a clever advertising trick from the McCain camp, breaking news of a Republican unity ticket in 2008 or a Google foul-up?

Well, at press time, Google came to the rescue.

“After reviewing this particular ad, we determined the ad did not meet our policies, and we are taking appropriate action,” Google spokesman Adam Kovacevich said, adding the company is committed to helping campaigns develop “high-quality ads to reach their targeted audience.”

While the “Giuliani for president” headline to the McCain link is the most blatant example of a campaign trying to divert Web traffic from its competitors, Giuliani is just as guilty of the practice.

A search for either McCain or former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) features a link from JoinRudy2008, the website of Giuliani’s exploratory committee.



Daddy, how come we’re vacationing in Iowa?

As Washington insiders are all abuzz about the first salvos that Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) fired at each other last week, it’s good to know that not everyone is tracking the back-and-forth.

During a campaign event Friday, Obama pointed out that his daughters, 8-year-old Malia and 5-year-old Sasha, accompanied him to Iowa recently: “We went to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and we had 2,500 people. And we went to Waterloo, Iowa, and there were 2,000 people. We went to Ames, Iowa, and there were 7,000 people.”

Curious to find out how his kids were holding up, Obama asked them how they were doing.

Malia, who was drawing and playing games, responded, “Oh, Daddy, I’m having a great time. Thanks for bringing me.”

Obama said, “And then after a few minutes, she looked up, and she said, ‘Now, what are we doing here, again?’”



Best in show, or pretty close

Under the Dome gives a big shout-out to Senate Republican aide Diann Howland and an even bigger shout-out to her dog Hampton, who nabbed an Award of Merit at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show earlier this month.

Howland, a staffer on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, was understandably excited that her 2-year-old English Cocker Spaniel was formally recognized at such a prestigious event.

Hailing from “a family of dog-crazy people,” an unbiased Howland described Hampton as possessing the unusual combination of being “stunning” and “having a great personality.”

More awards may be looming for Hampton as he is eyeing another major show this May in Wisconsin.

But as with any winner in Washington, Hampton’s got his critics.

Craig Orfield, GOP spokesman on the HELP panel, attempted to get out ahead of an apparent controversy swirling around Hampton. He disputed “those scandalous rumors” that Hampton is taking a BALCO supplement.

In response to the intensifying scandal, Howland showed her years of experience in the nation’s capital by simply asking, “What is BALCO?”

Well played.



Hey, we’ve got star power, too

The battle for Hollywood entertainers isn’t just confined to the Democratic front-runners for president. While Clinton and Obama battle for big names on the West Coast, the dark horses also have their connections.

Actor Richard Lewis contributed $1,000 to Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) late last year. And Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) collected $4,100 from legendary singer Jimmy Buffett. Dodd also has a “Saturday Night Live” connection in producer Lorne Michaels, who contributed $5,000 to his political action committee (PAC).

Michaels is playing both sides of the aisle, having given $1,000 to McCain’s PAC last cycle. Al Franken, a former “SNL” star who is running for the Senate, got $2,000 from Michaels in 2006.



Condolences to the Speaker

Franklin D. Roosevelt D’Alesandro, a retired city courthouse clerk and brother of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), died of cancer last week at the age of 73.

D’Alesandro was the brother of former Baltimore Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro III and the son of the late Thomas D’Alesandro Jr., who served in the House.

In addition to Pelosi and two brothers, D’Alesandro is survived by his wife Mary Ann, two daughters and two granddaughters.


 — Klaus Marre contributed to this page.