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OFF LIMITS

Bush baby: In town last week to plug her book--as well as to push the Republican candidate for governor--Barbara Bush did an excellent job of ignoring former first son Neil Bush's tarnished ties to Denver, courtesy the board of Silverado. And the local media was apparently happy to help out, asking the former first lady such tough questions as whether her handwriting changes when she signs so many copies of Barbara Bush: A Memoir (a cream puff from KOA's Mike Rosen) and how she feels about Pat Schroeder (she doesn't approve of her, Bush told the Denver Post's Glenn Giffin). In fact, it took BB herself to mention Neil in a national interview. "We [she and President Bush] did a very selfish thing in running," she told Parade last Sunday. "It hurt our children. Marv, as you may know, developed colitis. We really hurt Neil Bush. That's the mean and ugly side of politics."

And it doesn't get much prettier once you're out of the running. BB was at the Tattered Cover Thursday to sell her book and promote literacy, one of her pet projects. It also happens to be a cause near and dear to the heart of Colorado First Lady Bea Romer, who was standing near Mrs. Bush in the receiving line until BB reportedly elbowed Bea aside, noting sharply that she was doing a fundraiser for the man "running against your husband."

Wed alert: All in all, it wasn't an easy week to be a political wife. Anyone who believed that Roy Romer's campaign leaked the contents of Bruce Benson's divorce files to the media clearly hadn't considered the ripple effect it would have on Romer's own campaign and earlier rumors of infidelity.

At least Benson's second wife, Marcy Head Benson, should be used to the rough-and-tumble of political life. Before moving to Colorado, she spent nearly twenty years in Washington's inner circles, working for George Bush's first presidential campaign, serving as executive assistant to Ed Rollins--then the White House political director (and now her husband's top strategist)--and ultimately administering the White House Fellows program. That's where she met Bruce.

And the rest is history. Or is that hysteria?

Fit to be tried: The Denver-based fu sisters enterprises, "dedicated to supporting women, children and the environment," has its first--and so far, only--product on the market. It's the "Remember NICOLE" T-shirt, which carries the up-front warning that "Acts of domestic violence occur every 18 seconds in the United States."

"We'll allow the presumption of innocence," say the anonymous fu sisters. "We don't know if O.J. murdered Nicole or not. But long before Nicole Brown Simpson had her throat cut, she was a battered woman."

Local investigator Pete Peterson knows that all too well. With a client list that already includes mogul Marvin Davis and the National Enquirer (he found the daughter that Roseanne gave up for adoption at birth), he recently was hired by four must-remain-confidential types, one a friend of Nicole's, to uncover "anything that will bolster the prosecution's case and counter the defense's dog-and-pony show," says Peterson. "Our clients think the prosecution is really capable; they're just trying to counter the media circus."

His clients' attempts have frequently sent Peterson himself into the limelight, including an appearance on Larry King Live to speak for prosecution witnesses who are prohibited from talking to the press. But Peterson still has time to hit the bricks; he'll be back in L.A. this week to continue digging. Latest finds? A lot of inside information on Al Cowlings.

 
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