US Election Diary

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The Independent US

* In what might be a case of life imitating art imitating life, Sarah Palin is rumoured to be on track to appear on NBC to impersonate Tina Fey, the comedian whose stock has gone into the stratosphere after three weeks of impersonating the Republican running mate on Saturday Night Live. Ms Fey has done a gosh-darned good job at making Mrs Palin look daft, so it is a little hard to imagine the Governor making Ms Fey look even dafter. But apparently she and her team have come to the conclusion that some kind of humorous riposte to the Fey skits is now in order. It might even come as early as tomorrow night when NBC will broadcast 'Weekend Update' – an SNL fake-news spin-off – slap-bang in primetime. Ms Fey moved on from SNL long ago and has her own hit show 30 Rock. But since being recruited back to SNL to do her Palin thing, ratings have soared by 49 per cent. She has also just signed a book contract reportedly worth millions. No one will say what the book is about. Will it be set in Alaska by chance?

* And what of Al Franken, by the way, the candidate for a US Senate seat in his home state of Minnesota who was himself once a star writer and performer for Saturday Night Live? Three weeks ago, his campaign was all in knots after it emerged that he had helped create a new skit for the show poking fun at John McCain and his stomach for negative advertising. All year, meanwhile, it has looked as if Mr Franken would have a tough time toppling Republican incumbent Norm Coleman. Well, the latest news from Minnesota looks more cheery for Democrats. A newspaper poll released over the weekend showed Mr Franken vaulting into a nine-point lead. A month ago, the same poll, for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, had Mr Coleman ahead by four points. Republicans insist their man is still on course to win. But it does not seem beyond the realms of possibility that the improving fortunes of Barack Obama are beginning to have a positive effect on Democrats generally. It also helps that Mr Coleman happens to be a Republican closely identified with George Bush and his policies.

* "Governor of Texas? You must be joking!" That's a line spoken by Ellen Burstyn playing Barbara Bush in the about-to-be-released film W by Oliver Stone at the moment a newly ambitious George decides he wants to take charge of the Lone Star State. It's one of the film's funniest moments, according to a review in Variety, which is generally positive. "Oliver Stone's unusual and inescapably interesting W feels like a rough draft of a film it might behove him to remake in 10 or 15 years," it begins. Josh Brolin plays the current president and other stars include Toby Jones (Karl Rove), Richard Dreyfuss (Dick Cheney) and Thandie Newton (Condi Rice). The film is set to be released in the US ahead of election day, but Brits will have to wait until 7 November, three days after the vote.

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