US election diary

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* A sliver of good news for John McCain. A survey of Americans who live in Israel and cast absentee ballots suggests they are opting for the Republican candidate by a margin of three to one. According to pollster Mitchell Barak, the findings – which were challenged by some Obama supporters in Israel – reflect the fact that most of the 40,000 American voters there are observant Jews with hawkish and socially conservative views. But there could be another hidden factor: The main Israeli cable company Hot carries only right-leaning Fox – leaving only the half of Israeli viewers who subscribe to satellite rival Yes accessing the less partisan CNN. Hebrew University director of education Edna Ullman-Margalit has protested that it was leading to an unbalanced picture of the US election for serious Israeli viewers, and complained that Fox's output was "tainted by vulgar presentation and lacks a basic respect for facts".

* John McCain and Sarah Palin's war on the "liberal elite" media has a new focus: The Los Angeles Times. Both Republican candidates criticised the paper for "suppressing" a video it recently obtained showing Barack Obama attending a dinner party in Chicago for Rashid Khalidi, a Palestinian-American professor and outspoken critic of Israel. In a speech in Florida, Mr McCain described Mr Khalidi as a PLO spokesman and said Bill Ayers had also attended the event in 2003. Mrs Palin, for her part, told reporters the Times was acting like Mr Obama's "pet paper". The newspaper's editor, Russ Stanton insists the videotape: "was provided to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it".

* In Beverly Hills, the show-business elite can wax lyrical about their affection for Barack Obama without fear of upsetting their neighbours. Not so in Cincinnati, Ohio, where British-born 1970s rock superstar Peter Frampton has suffered repeated vandalism and theft of a collection of Obama signs on his front lawn. The Grammy-winning guitarist, who lives in Indian Hill, a solidly Republican suburb, angrily telephoned The Cincinnati Enquirer this week to announce he has installed video surveillance. "They are frustrating my attempt to use my First Amendment right to speech and political speech is supposedly the most protected," Frampton told the newspaper.

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