Jerry Springer hints at running for the Senate

Jerry Springer knows all about running a human circus in the full glare of the media, which might explain why he is now considering a run at the US Senate.

The bottom-of-the-barrel television host, synonymous with white-trash couples screaming before a blood-baying live audience, announced this week that he was thinking seriously of seeking the Democratic Party nomination for the 2004 Senate race in Ohio, his home state.

"I want to be helpful in rebuilding the party," he told sceptical reporters at a meeting of the Ohio Democratic Party Chairs Association. That said, nobody is more keenly aware of Mr Springer's potential image problem as a political candidate than the man himself. "There are pluses and minuses," he conceded. "The plus is that I'm known by everybody. The minus is that I'm known by everybody."

This would not be his first foray into politics. Despite his image, he served as mayor of Cincinnati in the late 1970s and entered show business only after making a failed bid for the Ohio state governorship in 1982.

At the Democratic Party meeting, he proved he still had considerable political chops. An initially sceptical audience lapped up his speech denouncing President George Bush for squandering America's goodwill around the world.

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