US election diary

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The Independent US

* The magazine Vanity Fair has begun a legal battle against the US Navy over documents reported to show that a young John McCain may have been responsible for a fatal car accident. The magazine is suing under America's Freedom of Information Act to obtain records from a Virginia naval base for 1964. Specifically, they want to see the duty assignment log from Portsmouth Naval Hospital, where Lt John S McCain III and the other victims of the accident were supposedly brought. The Navy claims such information is exempt from release, since it is personal in nature and would apparently jeopardise national security. Funnily, the Republican-leaning military isn't so churlish about releasing material that might show the former Vietnam war hero in a good light.

* Michelle Obama was careful to play up her frugality in the fashion stakes when she went on NBC's The Tonight Show with comedian Jay Leno. Mrs Obama steered clear of criticising Sarah Palin's $150,000 splurge at high-end department stores, but couldn't avoid a question about the provenance of her own yellow sweater, skirt and blouse. Had she spent "sixty grand" on it, Leno inquired? "Actually, this is a J Crew ensemble," she replied to cheers and applause, going on to say she also likes to shop online. "You get some good stuff online... When you don't have time, you've got to click." "That sounds dangerous, for guys, just clicking and buying stuff, that sounds way too easy," Leno told the prospective First Lady. "It's like free drinks."

* Paris Hilton made yet another effort to lower the tone of the election yesterday, releasing a music video outlining policies for her satirical White House bid. The hotel heiress sings about how she wants to "incentivise nuclear non-proliferation and ratify Kyoto today," make sure that "you can get married if you're straight or if you're gay". Hilton (who wears a silver bikini throughout) also expresses a wish to "trade in the cabinet for a walk-in closet" and adds "if you're going to put lipstick on a pig, make sure that it matches your skin-tone".

* The house in Jakarta where Barack Obama lived as a child with his mother Ann and stepfather in the late 1960s is for sale. Potential buyers touring the two-bedroom house, valued at $3m, include a Dutch businessman who wants to turn part of it into a cafe called the "Sweet Home Obama Bar". Owner Tata Aboe Bakar recalled how the nine-year-old Obama had a poodle, who unfortunately ran off and was never found. "Oh, he cried for two days," Mr Bakar said yesterday.

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