U.S. REP. Bob Brady, a politician known for his swagger when it comes to wayward ward leaders, has met his match in the city's more liberal corners, where even the threat of withheld street money doesn't resonate.

As Clout reported earlier this month, city Democratic chairman Brady is cracking the knuckles of ward leaders accustomed to straying from the party's endorsed judicial slate and making side deals to support other candidates.

Brady told ward leaders that their committeepeople would carry the party's endorsed candidates this year or they could forget about Election Day street money.

There's just one problem: Some ward leaders can't tell their committeepeople what to do.

"In our ward, committeepeople want to meet the candidates and make a decision after we discuss it," said Mike Boyle, who heads the 5th Ward, in Center City.

Boyle and four other ward leaders - in Center City, University City and Chestnut Hill - have independent-minded committeepeople who make their own judgments about candidate support.

Brady told Clout that his move for party discipline wasn't aimed at them.

"They don't cut deals," Brady said. "Those are mostly liberal wards, and they're tough wards [to sell the party ticket]."

Brady said he hopes the independent wards will support the party's slate. It won't help that two of the party's Common Pleas Court candidates, Roxanne Covington and Sharon Williams Losier, were rated "not recommended" by the Philadelphia Bar Association.

Council's private dancer

Among her many good deeds, Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown is hosting an "Empowerment for Women Forum" May 1.

The forum raises money for worthy causes like Philadanco and Girls Inc., but, beyond the seminars and forums, what caught our eye is the "Ultimate Girls Night Out" on May 2.

Events that night include sessions on how to belly dance and pole dance. Oh, and a panel discussion on "What a Man Wants."

So Clout asked Brown: What does a man want?

"Probably somebody that's highly intelligent, in great shape physically, has a heart and is up to speed on what is happening in terms of the city's financial crisis," she told us.

A little pole dancing would be nice, too.

A potential deal undone?

Was one of the five Democratic district attorney candidates considering an early exit? State Sen. Anthony Williams, who's supporting Seth Williams [no relation] for D.A., met privately a week ago with rival D.A. candidate Michael Turner.

The senator says that some of Turner's advisers told him earlier that Turner was prepared to get out of the race if Seth was able to secure his spot on the Democratic ballot. Seth Williams had been knocked off the ballot in a petition challenge, but was restored on appeal. Anthony Williams set up the meeting with Turner, hoping to close that deal and win Turner's endorsement.

Williams says that Turner confirmed that while Seth's ballot-status was up in the air, he'd asked a couple of his people to approach the senator about a potential withdrawal. But by Friday, Turner was cooling on the idea. A follow-up meeting for Easter Sunday was canceled. "I was told the meeting was not necessary, because he [Turner] was going to remain in the race," Williams said.

Turner confirmed that he'd met with Sen. Williams, but declined comment on Williams' account of the session. "It was a private meeting and I don't intend to talk about any aspect of it," Turner said. "Seth Williams spent a lot of money trying to knock me off the ballot and now he's trying, through rumor and innuendo, to accomplish what he couldn't do in court. . . . I suggest he focus on his own candidacy."

He's no sacrificial lamb

We have a soft spot for underdogs, so we took notice this week when Republican City Controller candidate Al Schmidt kicked off his campaign on tax day, blanketing KYW's airwaves with a radio spot and a running full page ad on the cover of Metro.

Schmidt said the entire buy cost him upwards of $10,000. Adman Elliot Curson crafted the "tough on corruption" pitch.

Running for the GOP is an uphill climb in Philly, but Schmidt vows: "This sacrificial lamb is not going down without a fight."

Nice work if you can get it

Former U. S. Sen. Rick Santorum is collecting $1,750 a shot for the columns that appear every other week in the Inquirer, according to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The checks are sent to a post office box in Great Falls, Va. - close to a Starbucks, we figure.

Quotable

"I can tell you, first of all, that it's not alleged. I did it. I punched the other attorney out, I punched him out and sent him to the hospital."

- District attorney candidate Brian Grady, when asked about a 1997 incident in which he was accused of punching out a defense attorney. *

Staff writers Dave Davies, Bob Warner & Gar Joseph contributed to this report

Have tips or suggestions? Call Chris Brennan at 215-854-5973 or Catherine Lucey at 215-854-4712. Or e-mail

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Have a news tip? Gossip? Suggestion? Call Chris Brennan at 215-854-5973 or Catherine Lucey at 215-854-4712. Or e-mail phillyclout@phillynews.com.