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Why isn’t Diddy at the convention?

Contrary to rumors floating around the Democratic National Convention, Diddy was not asked to stay away. “That’s completely untrue,” was Diddy’s response.

During the 2004 presidential election, Diddy and his Citizen Change campaign, known best for its “Vote or Die” slogan, figured prominently in headlines about celebrities and politics. So where is Diddy this time around?

Here in Denver, there was some chatter among DNC organizers that led some to believe that Diddy had been asked specifically not to come.

“That’s completely untrue” was Diddy’s response when asked about being un-invited to the convention. A rep for Diddy confirms: “An Obama advisor invited Diddy to the convention, but he was unable to attend because he was supposed to be in L.A. on vacation with his family.”

Diddy and Obama share what his rep characterized as a “close relationship.” Indeed, Diddy posted a video on his Web site just after Obama won enough votes to get the nomination, and those in Diddy’s inner circle confirm that he’s been consistently supportive of the senator.

So why the backlash? One person who worked with Diddy in 2004 said, “He didn’t do the Democrats any favors with that Vote or Die campaign. It became more about getting the shirts out than people registered. He didn’t seem totally aware of the big picture — that there was a presidency involved.”

One publicist with close ties to a celebrity involved in the Obama campaign says that the McCain ad featuring Britney Spears and Paris Hilton has had an impact on celebrity involvement. “That ad took on a life of its own. No one wants to actually hurt the campaign, and I mean, really, it’s not hard for celebrities to steal the spotlight at times.”

There’s still a good bit of time before November. I think there’s good reason to believe there might be room for Diddy to contribute to the campaign effort before election time.

Oprah’s whereabouts clarifiedThe first day of the convention was rife with rumors of Oprah Winfey’s arrival, but alas, they were false. Her reps confirmed that Winfrey had not yet arrived on Aug. 25, despite Where’s Waldonian claims of sightings from photographers and fans alike.

Her reps wouldn’t comment on her exact arrival and departure dates (she’s due to speak at the convention Aug. 28), but they did clear up misinformation about her planned Denver accommodations. “She has not rented a house to stay in while she’s there,” the rep said. Earlier reports had the talk-show host paying $50,000 for her Denver digs.

Lindsay Lohan’s dad engaged?
Lindsay Lohan’s dad, Michael, attended the Mercedes-Benz Bridgehampton Polo Tournament Aug. 23 with girlfriend Erin Muller by his side. Onlookers at the match claim Muller was wearing what appeared to be an engagement ring. Michael Lohan’s response? He says, “Yes, she does have a ring, but nothing is official yet!”

Nadal upset with NY mag coverTennis champ Rafael Nadal, who recently appeared on the cover of New York magazine, is said to be upset with how the cover turned out.

“He is fine with being a sex symbol,” says a source close to Nadal, “but New York took it a bit further than he was comfortable with.”

There’s a trickle-down effect to the Nadal cover that he probably never anticipated: Other celebrity athletes are rethinking their commitments to appearing prominently in magazines outside of their niche. One editor of a celebrity weekly said, “Roger (Federer) was supposed to do our magazine, but he pulled out after the Nadal cover. Athletes aren’t used to getting the celebrity treatment when it comes to their bodies. It can be a bit of a gamble if you don’t have control over the images.”

Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on