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Bob Dole desperately wants to take California. The University of Southern California, meanwhile, honored Bozo at its homecoming game Saturday. OK, so those are separate thoughts. USC, though, did honor Larry Harmon, one-time drum major and the fabled TV clown. But Bill C shouldn't get too cocky. A new presidential preference poll finds Clinton, Dole and Perot scraping in at the bottom. Top pick in the poll for prez and veep went to The Brain & Pinky, a variation of WB's cartoon about a power-grabbing mouse and his half-wit sidekick. Our unbiased source: a survey on Warner Bros. Online.

Lowe Direct is suing Lieber, Levett, Koenig, Farese & Babcock, quite in a huff that the five execs walked away, allegedly, with some business. So what was the title of an Oct. 28 Direct Marketing Assoc. seminar led by Lowe Direct Exec VP Lois Geller? "How to Create an Effective Personality to Keep Customers."

Is IBM going back into "Intel inside"? IBM quit the co-op ad program a couple years ago, contending the Intel logo got in the way of IBM's brand-building efforts. But relations are warming, and one close watcher says Big Blue's return is "imminent." An IBM spokesman insists: "There's no plan right now to have that happen." Since Compaq made up with Intel, IBM has been the lone big PC maker to buy Intel chips but not take the cash.

American Honda's official media evaluation is on hold, but the marketer will be unofficially evaluating Western International, media buyer for new Acura shop Suissa Miller. Ad boss Eric Conn jokes Honda is getting "a free peek" at how a media service works before it formally looks at media next year. Also ahead: Honda plans to ramp up ethnic marketing to Asian-Americans, via Muse Cordero Chen/LA. Honda's ethnic work to date has focused on Hispanics and African-Americans.

The Wall St. Journal, feuding with California Journal magazine over the newspaper's use of that name, is temporarily calling its new weekly state supplement "The Wall Street Journal/California." So what does the WSJ think about the L.A. Times' new weekly money section, "Wall Street, California"? And what does the LAT think about the WSJ's invasion? One clue: LAT last week started a daily business page dubbed "California."

Goodby Silverstein/SF, project shop for Polaroid for the past year, now is officially agency of record on the $40 million global account. . . . Grown-up Brooke Shields, accepting Cosmo's first "Fun, Fearless, Female" award from Helen Gurley Brown, noted, "It gives a whole new meaning to the `F' word." . . . "The Great Shoe Sale," trumpeted signs we spotted at a Macy's store. Where were the ads? On all the toilet stalls.

Compiled by Bradley Johnson with news from Alice Z. Cuneo, Keith J. Kelly, Chuck Ross and Michael Wilke.

Got an Adage? Tell Brad by phone, (213) 651-3710, ext. 111; fax, (213) 655-8157; or e-mail, [email protected]

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