US election diary

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The Independent US

* Some Democrats were already having fits over Bill Clinton not ripping into John McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin, and – even worse – actually saying nice things about them. How does that help Barack Obama, if you please? Then yesterday, Mr Clinton took his apparent treachery one level higher, telling ABC news that as far as he is concerned Mr McCain had requested the postponement of today's presidential debate "in good faith". He also disagreed with Democrats who say Mr McCain is afraid to debate with Mr Obama. We know he didn't do it because he's afraid because Senator McCain wanted more debates," said Mr Clinton.

The remarks came days after he paid tribute to Mr McCain for choosing Ms Palin. "I come from Arkansas, I get why she's hot out there," he said. It was during an interview with Larry King on Wednesday that Mr Clinton admitted that he rather likes Mr McCain even if he disagrees with him on some issues. He added: "I just don't believe that getting up here and hyperventilating about Governor Palin, or Senator McCain for that matter, is a productive use of a former president's time."

* John McCain's decision to suspend his campaign has invoked the wrath of the TV host David Letterman. The Arizona senator may have announced his run for the presidency on Letterman's show, but he dropped out of Wednesday night's show because of the financial crisis, with his campaign claiming it "wasn't a night for comedy". "This doesn't smell right," Letterman said. "This is not the way a tested hero behaves. I think somebody's putting something in his Metamucil [dietary supplement]." Instead of suspending a campaign, he said, a presidential candidate should go to Washington to deal with a crisis and let his running mate do the politicking. He later asked: "Are we suspending it because there's an economic crisis or because the poll numbers are sliding?"

* What is Sarah Palin for, Americans are asking? Even CNN, which can be overly deferential, seems to have lost patience with Mrs Palin. Campbell Brown, host of Election Centre, laid into the McCain-Palin campaign for sequestering Mrs Palin from the media in New York. "I call upon the campaign to stop treating Sarah Palin like she is a delicate flower who will wilt at any moment; this woman is from Alaska, for crying out loud".

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