Campaign Diary

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The outpouring of national pride in Kenya for its native son knows no bounds but now officials are worried about the welcome they can lay on for Barack Obama if he becomes the first black US president. MPs in Nyanza, from where Obama's father hails, have called for the local airport to be upgraded so it can accommodate Air Force One. No matter that the Democratic nominee has only ever visited Kenya three times. Worried Kenyan MPs told the Nairobi Star newspaper it was clear Obama was going to clinch the presidency, and that the expansion of Kisumu airport should be a top priority.

A constant complaint from the Republicans has been media bias towards Obama, although they probably didn't think the rot extended as far as eighth-grade textbooks. Students in Wisconsin were found to be studying from a book with a section on the Democratic nominee. It is not so much the Obama chapter – entitled "Dreams from My Father" – that has raised the right's ire as much as the absence of a "Faith of my Fathers" section on McCain. "Deciding to use the textbook was, at best, very poor judgement and, at worst, intentional indoctrination of students in Democratic politics," said a party official.



Times are tough in the McCain camp and it might all be getting a bit too much for his running-mate Sarah Palin. In North Carolina on Thursday, Palin admitted it's easy to get discouraged. "When you happen to turn on the news when your campaign staffers will let you turn on the news... Usually they're like 'Oh my gosh, don't watch. You're going to, you know, you're going to get depressed'." Next week, those aides may be shielding her from re-runs of her appearance on Saturday Night Live tonight.



The other must-see election TV of this weekend is Colin Powell's appearance on NBC tomorrow. The first black man to serve as Secretary of State, Powell has been coy until now about whether he will back Obama or McCain. But speculation is swirling that he will break his silence this weekend. Having advised the last three Republican presidents, will it be party loyalty that prevails? Or will the prospect of a black man in the White House prove too tempting?



He may not have blinked first during the presidential debates, but John McCain definitely blinked more often – and that's bad news, according to psychology experts. The presidential candidate who blinked more than his opponent during debates has lost every election since 1976 – with the exception of blink-happy George W Bush in 2000. McCain blinked 109 times per minute during the first debate, compared to Obama's 73 times per minute. "People are saying, 'There's something about him that's awfully twitchy and nervous and I don't think I want to vote for that guy'," a Boston College psychology professor, J J Tecce, told AP.

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