Love. Politics. Money. And Your Cowboys.

IRVING, Texas -- Love. Politics. Money. No team in sports is more qualified to make headlines in those three foundation-block areas of modern culture than your Dallas Cowboys stories.

LOVE: Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is obviously in a "committed relationship'' (whatever that means to the kids nowadays). He and starlet Jessica Simpson seem well beyond the "publicity gimmick'' stage; you "canoodle'' for fun and profit, and you let her come to games wearing a pink No. 9 for fun and profit, but do you take the girl on a bye-week vacation and to the Pro Bowl and to LA and now to her favorite Dallas hotel, ZaZa, as a gimmick?

On the elbow where she once she carried a Louis Vuitton bag, she now carries Tony. On the elbow where he once carried Jason Witten, he now carries Jessica.

And now comes gossip that they are "pre-engaged.''

From a report in US Weekly magazine: "I think they're going to get married," Romo's close friend of three years, Michael Starr.

Added actress Sophie Bush (another brief Romo squeeze) : "I think they could go the distance. … They're perfect for each other. They're both funny and wonderful and kind. I'm rooting for them."

I guess I'm rooting for them, too. They were at Hotel ZaZa the other day, noshing on chocolate potato chips (blecch) with her sister Ashlee and her famous sweetheart, singer Pete Wentz. They are all Hollywood and they've been a Romessica now for, what, six months? What are they waiting for? Go ahead and get married, Tony. Get her pregnant.

Then she'll be less likely to show up for games.

POLITICS: I've been a harsh critic of the TV work of old friend Emmitt Smith – and that is on a stage where he's only asked by Chris Berman to discuss football, the single issue in the world he ought to be able to be eloquent about. So I was shocked to learn that Barack Obama's Dallas rally was highlighted by a speech by. … our Emmitt?!

But guess what? Smith, who appears on ESPN every week to invent new ways to pronounce words and conjugate verbs ("Blowned out''), was actually quite effective. His introduction of the leading presidential candidate was short (four minutes), emotional and seemed close to off-the-cuff. And outside of some verbal style issues ("We're all here to support him! And if we're not. … I know I am!'') , Emmitt was actually pretty effective.

On the surface, Emmitt was a sensible choice for Obama. This is Football Country. We mostly love our QBs, but they all seem to turn out to be Republicans. Emmitt is a local hero whose All-Time-Leading-Rusher appeal blurs racial lines. And thanks to "Dancing With The Stars,'' he is a nationall-hugable teddy bear.

"I knew he could play football and I knew he could dance,'' Obama told the huge audience at Reunion Arena. "But I didn't know he could fire up a crowd. Emmitt, what can't you do? You haven't found anything yet. … Unbelievable! … I'm just glad he's not running for president.''

"Unbelievable'' is indeed the word. Emmitt Smith, who used to hang out at our "White House,'' is now thisclose to THE White House. Emmitt Smith, who can't talk football with Boomer, is now talking presidency with Barack. Unbelievable.

MONEY: The Cowboys are dealing with dollars and sense in their approaches to a trio of key players, running back Marion Barber, safety Ken Hamlin and left tackle Flozell Adams. As we suggested earlier this week, Adams' switch to agent Jordan Woy –a Dallas-based representative with an excellent track record in dealing with the Cowboys – figures to smooth Adams' future here. … and seems to likely allow Dallas to get something done without the use of the franchise tag. The tag is instead being used on Hamlin, hardly a penalty given that Hamlin, after just one season in a Cowboys uniform, will in a worst-case scenario play in Dallas under the terms of a one-year tender of $4.396 million.

That leaves MB3 as the most intense free-agent decision to be made by Dallas. If all goes according to plan, by the evening of Feb 28, the Cowboys will have sealed a long-term deal with their now starting running back. That would allow for smooth sailing in the critical area of "signing your own,'' freeing the Cowboys to examine ways to spend their remaining cap money, making hay with their pair of first-round picks in the April draft, and of course, leaving time for other cultural foundation blocks.

Like love. And politics.

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