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[The Insider]

Tinkering With His Prose

SAN DIEGO: Mark Helprin, the writer who drafted Bob Dole's eloquent speech when he resigned from the Senate, has left San Diego, sources have told CNN. Helprin was irritated at last-minute tinkering with the acceptance speech he wrote for Dole to deliver Thursday night, the sources said.

Darden Gets Bumped

SAN DIEGO: A "surprise" speaker, former O.J. Simpson prosecutor Chris Darden, was set to talk to the convention Wednesday night, but his five-minute speech was scrubbed when it appeared it and others might push Elizabeth Dole out of prime time. It's still unknown whether Darden will speak during the final convention session Thursday night.

Blumenthal detained

SAN DIEGO: New Yorker Writer Sidney Blumenthal was detained by the Secret Service for 45 minutes this afternoon after an alternate delegate from Alaska overheard what he thought was a threat on Bob Dole's life. Blumenthal and journalist Gary Wills were having a drink in the lobby bar of the Marriott Hotel at the Convention Center when Blumenthal joked that Dole could really help the Republican Party if, moments before accepting his party's nomination Thursday night, he were "to expire". Hearing this, and imagining mayhem, the patriotic delegate summoned the police, who called in the Secret Service. "I guess the alternate delegate didn't realize he was joking," says TIME's Jay Carney, who came upon the scene just as Blumenthal was being released. Come to think of it, Blumenthal probably doesn't think it was too funny, either.

-- Janice Castro

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