BEFORE a marriage, there must be courtship. Before a "dream ticket," there must be joint campaigning.
And while the smart money says there's no way that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama will choose Hillary Clinton as his running mate - creating the dream ticket - you never know how a courtship will turn out.
Clinton will endorse Obama tomorrow.
Supporters on both sides want to see a unity event - Obama and Clinton side-by-side - within a week.
And Obama will make the first of many Pennsylvania stops right here in Philadelphia within 10 days, for a fundraiser.
But back to the dream ticket. Why is it so dreamy?
"You'd have a landslide," gushed Clinton's national finance co-chairman Mark Aronchick. "[Democrats] would take over the Senate conclusively, add to the lead in the House and impact the [state legislatures] where they deal with redistricting.
"That might not happen if she's not on ticket," he said. "The passion levels are huge [with them together]. I'm not sure you'd see the same level of intensity if they're not on there together."
Mark Alderman, who's on Obama's national finance committee, said: "I would love to see him with her and all of the leaders of the party. But the circumstances are Barack's to choose. This is his campaign."
Alderman wasn't about to set the odds of Obama picking Clinton for vice president, but said: "The two of them will figure out a way to get along just fine. They are the only two people in the history of the world who have gone through what they just went through. It gives them a singular and unique bond to experience that."
Sort of like tornado survivors.
Brady: Blue-collar issues
U.S. Rep. Bob Brady also wants to see Clinton and Obama campaign together across the country.
For one thing, it will help shore up Obama's weakness with white, blue-collar voters, a key voting bloc in crucial swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Brady knows white, blue-collar voters because he grew up one. He thinks the solution for Obama lies in the issues.
In the primaries, those voters had a choice between two candidates who were close on the issues, so it was a popularity contest.
"But now the choice is Obama or McCain, and they are far apart on the issues," Brady said. "Obama has a lot more to offer than McCain does - he's Bush III. He supported Bush's economy and he supported the war. Those are the two big issues, and [blue-collar voters] will be with Obama on them."
Peruto teams with Flavia
Lisa Peruto is the daughter of businessman James Peruto (of Keenan Motors), grandaughter of legendary lawyer A. Charles Peruto Sr. and niece of defense attorney Chuck Peruto.
She is a graduate of Mount St. Joseph's Academy and Widener Law School.
She could've landed a cushy job with one of the city's big-name law firms. Instead, she chose Hollywood. And Clout-created celebrity Flavia Colgan.
"Some people think I'm crazy, but others are like, 'OK, I get it,' " she told us yesterday.
Her family, including the lawyers, "were very supportive. They were apprehensive to see me go across the country, but excited to see me explore my passion and my options."
Peruto, 27, will help Colgan and agent Kenny Lindner develop TV projects and juggle her many other duties (which include being a member of the Daily News editorial board.)
Not that there isn't fun, too. Colgan hosted a "Sex and the City" party last weekend in Hollywood that included actor Rudolph Martin (whose movie credits include "Swordfish" and whose TV credits include the CSI shows "24," "Dexter" and "Moonlight").
CBS' "The Early Show," meanwhile, either can't count or it has increased the number of Colgan's stories on ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
Her contract called for one segment a month, but she's been on weekly.
We tried to get Colgan to clarify it for us, but she'd promised voice coach Priscilla Shanks to spend one day a week in total silence and yesterday was the day.
Balaban: No "Recount"
Campaigns & Elections' Politics magazine, a trade journal for political consultants, has named Philadelphia's J.J. Balaban one of its rising stars of 2008.
Balaban, who works for Neil Oxman at The Campaign Group, wrote the words for the killer ad that featured Mayor Nutter's daughter, Olivia, in last year's Democratic mayoral primary.
Balaban is not related to actor Bob Balaban, who recently starred in the HBO movie "Recount," about the messed up 2000 presidential election.
But the name did cause him distress.
"There was no way I was going to watch that," Balaban said, noting that anger about the hijacked election would return "and probably send me out into the streets."
But whenever he'd click to Comcast's "On Demand" to check movie selections, he'd see "Recount: Balaban."
"It's like HBO is taunting me," he said. "But I'm still not gonna watch it."
"If they try to make something out of that, I'll kill them." - Gov. Rendell, responding to reports that Republicans will use his criticism of Obama during the primary against him in the general election.
To Democratic Party secretary and former Councilwoman Carol Campbell, back home recuperating after a bout of ill health. *
Staff writers Gar Joseph and Catherine Lucey contributed to this report.