Watch What You Say

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SAN DIEGO: New Yorker Writer Sydney Blumenthal was detained by the Secret Service for 45 minutes Wednesday afternoon after an alternate delegate from Alaska overheard what he thought was a threat on Bob Dole's life. Blumenthal and journalist Gary Wills were having a drink in the lobby bar of the Marriott Hotel at the Convention Center when Blumenthal joked that Dole could really help the Republican Party if, moments before accepting his party's nomination Thursday night, he were "to expire". Hearing this, and imagining mayhem, the patriotic delegate summoned the police, who called in the Secret Service. "I guess the alternate delegate didn't realize he was joking," says TIME's Jay Carney, who came upon the scene just as Blumenthal was being released. Come to think of it, Blumenthal probably doesn't think it was too funny, either. -->