WILD ABOUT BILL: A perfect political storm converged on the American Magazine Conference in Boca Raton, Fla., this week as Vice President Dick Cheney, who was campaigning in Palm Beach County, spent Monday night at the hotel where former president Bill Clinton was set to speak the following morning. “Does that mean the last swing voter is somewhere in this county?” asked Newsweek editor Mark Whitaker, who interviewed CNN’s Jeff Greenfield and “Primary Colors” author Joe Klein at Monday’s luncheon. Klein had some pithy advice for undecided voters: “If you’re too lazy to have thought about this thing by this point, stay home, because your vote is going to be like a contaminant.”
On Tuesday, Russell Simmons, clad in a “Vote or Die!” T-shirt, offered some unvarnished insight of his own, criticizing the media for categorizing people by skin color. “You’ve got two black people on this stage, and I’ve never met this man before today,” he said. (The other was Sports Illustrated’s assistant managing editor Roy S. Johnson.) Asked afterward about his confrontational remarks, Simmons said, “That’s what they brought me here for.” Then came the main event. In an hour-long chat with Time managing editor Jim Kelly, Clinton praised his successor’s emotional intelligence, defended his pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich and said he questioned Martha Stewart’s conviction. “They didn’t even charge her with what seemed to be the main offense — they charged her with something else,” he said. “I’m always a little queasy when that happens.” Understandably so.
The response was predictably ecstatic. Chris Napolitano, Playboy’s editorial director, said he was struck by Clinton’s lack of partisan rancor. “I’m a Democrat, but you almost begin to think maybe the Republicans aren’t so bad when you see it through Clinton’s eyes,” he said. “I’ve never seen anybody in public life with the ability to be so expository,” said Meredith publishing group president Jack Griffin. Mary Murcko, publisher of Best Life, had a unique perspective: She’s one of the few Americans who has read “My Life” from cover to cover. “It reminded me how smart he was, how much he knew,” she said of the talk. “He’s so engaging and inclusive, and I’ve missed that.” — Jeff Bercovici
WOMEN OF GLAMOUR: “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, White House correspondent Helen Thomas and actress Katie Holmes will appear onstage together at the American Museum of Natural History on Nov. 8. And, no, it’s not for an anthropological experiment. It’s Glamour’s 15th annual Woman of the Year awards (like WWD, Glamour is part of Advance Publications Inc.). ABC’s Sam Donaldson will be there to present the Lifetime Achievement award to Thomas; Stewart will honor MTV Network chairman and chief executive officer Judy McGrath, and Holmes will present an award to designer Carolina Herrera. “In terms of people who’ve made an impact this year, Mrs. Herrera is basically a goddess,” said Glamour’s editor in chief Cindi Leive. “If I could wear her clothing every day for the rest of my life, I’d be happy.” Enumerating Thomas’ many merits, Leive said, “She not only got a lot of scoops but persuaded a lot of world leaders to boycott the male-only press clubs….A lot of women owe her a huge debt of gratitude.” — Sara James
NO MOORE: Just like baseball, there’s no crying in fashion. Evidently, though, no one passed on that gem of wisdom to some of the designers showing during fashion week in Los Angeles. Jenni Kayne, apparently upset over the review for her sophomore effort in April, has banned Los Angeles Times fashion critic Booth Moore from her show tonight. This is a first for Moore, who covers fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris for the newspaper. But that wasn’t the only potential shutout delivered Monday. Moore also received a call from a publicist on behalf of her successful dress client showing later this week. The “request”? If Moore wasn’t planning on writing a “nice” review, could she bother not mentioning the designer at all — or even attending? — Rose Apodaca Jones
CIAO BELLA: Harper’s Bazaar is boning up on its Italian. In addition to the magazine’s Paris office, run by Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni, Bazaar now has a full-time presence in Milan. J.J. Martin, most recently a contributor to Fashion Week Daily and T: The New York Times’ Style Magazine, joins the publication as a Milan-based contributing editor. According to a Hearst spokeswoman, Martin will be “covering the Italian fashion scene for the magazine.” Loosely translated, that means “shopping and schmoozing with Milanese elite.” — S.J.