US election diary

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The Independent US

* Bill and Hillary Clinton's stage-managed enthusiasm for Barack Obama is becoming more than a little obvious. On The Late Show With David Letterman, Bill Clinton's fellow guest, the comedian Chris Rock asked: "Boy, is it me or didn't he want to say the name Barack Obama?" Hillary's endorsement was less than ringing on yesterday's morning shows: "Barack Obama is going to win.... Looking at the mess we are in today, why would we reward the Republicans? Barack Obama is being advised by the same people who got us out of the ditch in 1993." In other words his victory will be down to her husband's crack team of advisers. Even the town dogcatcher would win it for the Democrats, she seems to be saying.

* Sarah Palin, the vice presidential candidate, yesterday had her first meetings with world leaders. On the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York, the Alaska Governor, who made her first trip abroad only last year, held discussions with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan followed by Alvaro Uribe, the President of Columbia. Her handlers at first refused to allow reporters to witness proceedings but relented after CNN threatened to boycott the meetings altogether. At the first meeting with President Karzai, all media were nonetheless ejected after a few moments. For McCain campaign, the very fact that Mrs Palin sat opposite world leaders will be seen as a propaganda success given her lack of foreign policy experience.

* Joe Biden is an accident waiting to happen, as the control freaks running Mr Obama's campaign know too well. Now he has embarrassed his running mate by describing as "terrible" an Obama ad that mocks John McCain's inability to use a computer. It didn't take long before he was back-tracking. "I was asked about an ad I'd never seen, reacting merely to press reports," he said. McCain's campaign crowed: "Barack Obama has brought the sleazy gutter politics of Chicago to our national stage."

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