People: Mr Empty Suit and Mr Bell-bottoms

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MUCH light has been shone on the lightweight US Senate candidate Michael Huffington, 'the man in the empty suit', who is being spurred on by his better-known wife, Arianna Stassinopoulos. Should Mr Huffington be elected as a senator from California, he may be joined on Capitol Hill by the man in the empty bell-bottoms, Sonny Bono, who once played second-fiddle to Cher.

The two Republican candidates appear to share a lack of political savvy. Mr Bono, who is running for a seat in the House of Representatives, claims to have learnt a lot since his failed Senate primary campaign in 1992. When asked then about world trade issues, he responded: 'That's a tricky one.'

But Mr Bono found a mentor in the man who defeated him, Bruce Herschensohn, who helped him with foreign policy and economics and taught him 'who's important and how to play the game, just like in show business'.

Mr Herschensohn said he liked Mr Bono from the moment in their first debate when the former singer was asked about illegal immigration. 'He said, 'What's to talk about? It's illegal'.'

Will the former mayor of Palm Springs become Senator Salvatore Bono? In a close race against Steve Clute, a Democrat, the beat goes on. . .

'I HATE him,' Rosario Ames says of her husband, Aldrich Ames, the former CIA officer who is serving a life sentence for spying. Mrs Ames is to be sentenced today for being his accomplice. She faces 63 months in prison.

Mrs Ames told the Washington Post her life ended over dinner in a Vietnamese restaurant in Washington in the summer of 1992 when Ames told her, 'I'm working for the Russians'. Before then, she said, she had no idea she was married to a traitor and pleaded with him to stop.

The FBI says taped conversations suggested she knew what was going on. In one, she was heard telling her husband about a mission: 'I hope you didn't screw it up.'

EXPECTING a Christmas gift from Cardinal John O'Connor of New York? Expect the little white book destined to be the hit of Christmas season, Crossing the Threshold of Hope by Pope John Paul. The book of reflections went on sale this week and the cardinal sees Catholics, non-believers, the curious and the critical all reading it. 'Undoubtedly, a number of those who disagree in advance with everything this Pope says will read it to find fault with it,' he said.