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Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012, 8:59 p.m.

How hot a race is the presidential campaign?

It's as hot as your taste buds can tolerate.

Dave's Gourmet, a San Francisco specialty foods company, has stepped into politics by peddling bottles of Barack Obama Adjustable Origin Hot Sauce and Mitt Romney Adjustable Opinion Hot Sauce.

The bottles allow you to adjust the sauce heat by turning the cap to one of Obama's purported birthplaces (Hawaii, Indonesia, Kenya, the Bermuda Triangle, Area 51) or one of Romney's various opinions (“absomaybe,” “forgainst,” “definotly,” “yesno”).

Sale proceeds from the hot sauces, which cost $14.99 and are available at , benefit the Cancer Research Institute. The website allows you to vote for your preferred hot sauce; at press time, Romney held a sizable lead in that balloting.

Perhaps that's a sign of things to come.

LUKE FOE PEDUTO'S TREASURER. There's no love lost between Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Debbie Lestitian, former Pittsburgh Stadium Authority board chairwoman.

Perhaps that's why city Councilman Bill Peduto named her treasurer for his all-but-officially announced mayoral campaign.

Lestitian was appointed to the panel that oversees development of the former Three Rivers Stadium site by the late Mayor Bob O'Connor in 2006. Ravenstahl unceremoniously dumped her from the board in 2009 after she complained about the low price at which two properties were sold, to Continental Real Estate and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Hyatt Place hotel and Stage AE eventually were developed on those parcels.

Peduto is expected to formally declare his latest attempt to unseat Ravenstahl shortly after the Nov. 6 election.

KERRY TO PAY PRICE FOR POOR PROXY PERFORMANCE? U.S. Sen.John Kerry, D-Mass., has gotten caught up in the fallout from President Barack Obama's disastrous performance in the first presidential debate.

As The Boston Globe noted, Obama's uninspired showing against Mitt Romney could prove deadly to the career aspirations of Kerry, husband of Pittsburgh ketchup heiress Teresa Heinz.

“Just as the stars looked like they might be aligning for Kerry and his quest to become the next secretary of state, fate intervened yet again,“ The Globe's Joan Vennochi wrote. “Suddenly, a second Obama term, and Kerry's chance for a starring role in it, seem(s) less certain.”

Ironically, Kerry played the part of Romney as Obama prepared — or, as Vennochi put it, failed to prepare — for the first debate. Ultraliberal filmmaker Michael Moore summed up the wisdom of Obama's decision to make Kerry his sparring partner when he stated on his Twitter feed, “This is what happens when (you) pick John Kerry as your debate coach.”

COULDN'T SHE AFFORD A STAMP? Marianne Anzovino just wanted to thank U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy for his efforts to preserve Medicare — or so it seemed.

Anzovino, the owner of The Aerobic Center in Greensburg, recently wrote to the Trib, relating how she personally expressed her gratitude when Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, visited a SilverSneakers senior fitness class at her gym.

Not that we doubt her sincerity, but Anzovino chose an atypical way to distribute her message. It came to us via an email from the Bravo Group, a Harrisburg-based public relations and lobbying firm.

Made us wonder if we would have received this communiqué if it weren't so close to Election Day and Murphy weren't facing such a tough re-election battle against Democrat Washington County Commissioner Larry Maggi.

— compiled by Tribune-Review staff

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