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Andre stalks Hillary; Ben defends Teresa

DOCU-DRAMA "Eggplant," Andre 3000 said after a long pause. "When there's something around it, I can deal with it, but when it's alone, no." Waiting backstage for Hillary Rodham Clinton at yesterday's Revolutionary Women event at the new convention center, the OutKast singer was talkin' food and music with the kids covering the convention for Time. Andre hoped to talk to the New York senator for the documentary he's making about voting. (At 29, the Georgia native has never voted, but he plans to this year.) Finally, Bill's better half emerged, and as she made her way to a long black car, Andre ambushed her. "She seemed pretty cool," he said.

THE DOLLAR AND SENSE OF ARTS You've got to give credit to talk show host Bill O'Reilly, the only conservative participating in the Creative Coalition-sponsored forum on arts and education yesterday afternoon at the Sports Club/LA. But when he challenged the actors and activists on the panel and in the audience to use their celebrity to raise money and awareness for arts education, it was just too much for actress Alfre Woodard. "There's no such place as Hollywood" where everyone agrees on all issues and can just band together and raise money, she said. At the forum, MC'd by former HUD secretary Andrew Cuomo, it was Arianna Huffington who got all the laughs and Tennessee congressman Harold Ford Jr. who was left to debate O'Reilly. Most of the questions from the audience came from recognizable names. Actor Jason Bateman quizzed O'Reilly on using his show as a platform to raise awareness, and Jerry Stiller and Bianca Jagger asked questions, too. Also spotted: Richard Schiff, William Baldwin, Alan Cumming (whom Triumph the Insult Comic Dog interviewed afterward), Wendie Malick, Christopher Lawford, Giancarlo Esposito, Anna Deavere Smith, Ellen Burstyn, and Coalition copresident Tony Goldwyn.

ROCK MOM When Hillary and the other heavyweights left yesterday's Revolutionary Women event, so did most of the crowd. But not Liz Phair's mom, Nancy, who hung around to hear her daughter play. So what was it like watching her daughter follow Madeleine Albright? "If you're asking if I think she's wonderful," she said, "I do."

BEN THERE If the movie thing doesn't work out -- and judging from recent box office numbers, it may not -- Ben Affleck has a future as a policy wonk. At a bizarre press conference at Jillian's behind Fenway Park, the Cambridge-bred actor held forth yesterday on issues ranging from international monetary policy to middle-class tax cuts. ("People can use that money to buy dishwashers.") Of his own considerable tax cut, Affleck said, "I don't think I deserve it." (On that, at least, we can all probably agree.) He did not rule out a run for public office, but he acknowledged that sitting poolside in Hollywood is preferable to "eating stale danish in a VFW hall hustling people for money." And asked about Teresa Heinz Kerry's much-publicized "shove it" comment, Affleck said the prospective first lady is just a straight shooter. "You're not going to get platitudes," he said, "and you're not going to get a Stepford wife."

HEY THANKS, BREAUX When the Creative Coalition and Congressional Quarterly honored Louisiana senator John Breaux yesterday at blu, Breaux took the moment to thank the celebrities and performers gathered and remind them that they need to fight for their work. Breaux said not everyone understands that art is a "work product" and that by not fighting for that recognition artists are allowing their work to be stolen.

FILLING IN FOR YO-YO By midday yesterday he was already returning to Tanglewood, but Gabriel Lefkowitz of Newton left quite an impression before leaving town. He stirred the convention crowd during Monday night's remembrance of 9/11 with a violin solo of "Amazing Grace." The 16-year-old honor student was a last-minute replacement for Yo-Yo Ma.

SPOTTED At the Oak Bar at the Fairmont Copley Plaza, Christine Baranski enjoyed a late afternoon martini yesterday, and Maria Shriver gobbled a late lunch. Meanwhile, working out at the Sports Club/LA were Katie Couric and Caroline Kennedy. . . . Robert F. Kennedy Jr. took a late afternoon break yesterday at the Union Oyster House's oyster bar.

WATCHING THE CLINTONS It was a mob scene outside Alpha Omega Jewelers in Harvard Square yesterday when Bill Clinton stopped by to pick up a watch the owners had picked out for him. And, yes, he got the watch for free.

LATE-NIGHT NOIR We were craving a cheeseburger around 2 a.m. yesterday, but we feared Bill Clinton might steal our fries. Arriving after 1 a.m. through the bead curtain at Noir in the Charles Hotel, Clinton worked the room as Hillary and Chelsea sat down to eat dinner. Chelsea opted for the seabass and salad, while dad, whose order was called in ahead, had a burger and fries. Also spotted at the bar were Ben Affleck, Glenn Close, John Cusack, Vernon Jordan, Chris Dodd, hotel owner Dick Friedman and his wife, Nancy. After her glorious performance at the FleetCenter Patti LaBelle repaired to Noir for a nosh.

HITHER AND YAWN You gotta hand it to some of these celebs and speakers -- they stay out late and they're up first thing in the morning. Before making his way to the City Year event, Bono stopped by Cheers on Beacon Street to address a gathering of Vermonters organized by Senator Patrick Leahy. . . . John Cusack spoke to the Nevada delegation yesterday at the Lenox Hotel.

Globe correspondent Elise Castelli contributed. Names can be reached at names@globe.com or at 617-929-8253.  

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