By
March 08, 1999 12:00 PM

In politics, as in show business, it pays to have a gimmick. Winston Churchill had his cigars, Bella Abzug her outlandish hats. Now comes a candidate for Congress from Louisiana with a name that truly bears repeating: Monica Monica.

No, not that Monica. This Ms. Monica, at age 48, predates the world’s most famous intern by a comfortable margin and has had her peculiar double-barreled name since birth. “My father”—retired barber Elihu (Lou) Root Monica, 82—”told me, ‘I love you so much I named you twice,’ ” she explains. To which Lou, a proud Italian-American now living in Florida, adds somewhat defensively, “Of course, I didn’t know then it would mean what it does now.”

Monica’s moniker has always been an attention grabber. “On the first day of school the teacher would know my name right away, then spend the rest of the week trying to figure out who everybody else was,” says Monica, an ophthalmologist who lives in Metairie, La., with her husband, Daniel Long, 48, also an ophthalmologist, and daughters Danielle, 16, and Lisa, 12.

Monica Squared, as friends call her, plans to run as a Republican in a special May 1 election to select a replacement for Rep. Bob Livingston, who announced plans to resign his seat before March 1 after admitting in December that he had been unfaithful to his wife. Monica hopes to make health-care reform the cornerstone of her campaign—on which she is willing to spend $500,000 of her savings. “Life is here,” she says. “You’ve got to grab it.”

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