Off Limits

Party on, dude: When Republican National Committee chair Jim Nicholson isn't writing bossy letters to former Colorado governor and still Democratic National Committee chair Roy Romer, urging him to tell Bill Clinton to call off the sleazehounds, he's fighting to keep his job at the RNC. Although Nicholson is still expected to win the January 22 vote, the weeks since the November elections have been rough for the Englewood developer, a surprise pick for the post two years ago. And on New Year's Day, at a conservative confab in Phoenix designed to offset the Clinton crew's Renaissance weekend, Nicholson was booed when he encouraged his fellow panelists--including Ariana Huffington and Pat Caddell--to be "positive." That many in the audience were hung over didn't help, says one participant: "It was a very angry crowd, and Ariana killed him on rebuttal." Nicholson was also castigated by top GOP financial backers at meetings in Florida last week.

Which could be why he came out swinging at Clinton, blasting the president for encouraging Hustler publisher Larry Flynt's continuing campaign to out adulterers (with a million-buck bounty per confession). "There's no room in this democracy for the kind of extortion, intimidation and blackmail that the president's lieutenants have delivered," Nicholson pronounced, pointing a finger at Clinton henchman James Carville, who's denied any responsibility.

It's enough to give a sensitive soul indigestion. Fortunately, Carville and wife Mary Matalin now have unlimited access to Alka-Seltzer, a product the two are hawking on an insufferable TV commercial that pops up almost as often as they do on Sunday-morning talk shows. Still, if you'd like to shell out fifty bucks to see them in person, Carville and Matalin will be in town January 26 as part of the Denver Distinguished (clearly, the term is used loosely) Lecture Series.

Also coming to town, Tennessee tornadoes willing, is Vice President Al Gore, set to speak at the January 23 anniversary gala of the Latin American Educational Foundation--and maybe, just maybe, to pick up some Hispanic support for his presidential campaign. But Gore isn't the only Democrat with an eye on the White House and a toehold in Denver. After he retired from the Senate in 1996, Bill Bradley became chairman of the Denver-based National Civics League, on whose board he still sits. As a result, Bradley's been in town a number of times, says NCL director Chris Gates, a Democratic National committeeman who's taking a run at the Democratic Party's state chairmanship. That contest, set for late next month, should be a hot one, since incumbent Phil Perington wants to keep the job, and lobbyist Tim Knaus, Jeffco's party chief, is also running (and in the lead, according to a release from his pollsters Tuesday). Gates is quick to point out that his candidacy is "not a stalking horse" for a Bradley presidential run, however. "I have a long history of service with the party," he says, starting with his first run for state chair 25 years ago--when he was sixteen.

The face of adversity: So nice of Wayne Huizenga to buy a full-page ad congratulating the Broncos for their January 9 victory over the Dolphins. But Huizenga has reason to make nice with John Elway, since Huizenga's Republic Industries bought Elway's seventeen car dealerships, turned them into "John Elway AutoNation USA" and still relies on the quarterback as the pitchman in the stilted commercials that replaced Elway's goofier, more enjoyable efforts. Also roping itself to the Broncos is the Denver Museum of Natural History, which is offering special admission deals this month for people wearing Broncos colors or logos. Too bad the museum couldn't come up with a campaign capitalizing on its famous recent visitors: Concerned Christian cultists, who took a five-hour break there last week.

So far, the only group in Colorado not cozying up to the Super Bowl-bound Broncos are the Denver Nuggets, who prove they're still losers with a full-page ad touting "Operation Issel." Alongside a picture of Dan the Man and offers of free tickets to pre-season games was this inexplicable copy: "Part 1: Mission Preparation. The package has arrived. Great personal sacrifice has precluded (sic) it's (sic) arrival. Never has a mission started with such attention to detail."

If not a dictionary.

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