US election diary

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The Independent US

Lost in Spain

John McCain's strong suit is meant to be foreign affairs and national security but he has given a bizarre interview (in English) with a Spanish radio station, in which he appeared not to know who Spain's Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, was. Mr McCain assumed he was a left-wing, anti-American demagogue from Latin America.

"Would you be willing to meet with the head of our government, Mr Zapatero?" the Spanish journalist asked several times. Mr McCain then spoke about Mexico and Latin America – but not Spain – promising to stand up to world leaders who intend to harm the US. The reporter repeated the question two more times, but Mr McCain, 72, referred again to Latin America. Finally, the questioner said: "OK, but I'm talking about Europe – the Prime Minister of Spain – would you meet with him?" McCain offered a slight twist to his initial comment: "I will reunite with any leader that has the same principles and philosophy that we do... And I will confront those that don't [have them]." A predictably outraged Spanish media is suggesting that McCain doesn't even know where Spain is. But the encounter may point to a bit of declining mental acuity. Perhaps Mr McCain was thinking of the Zapatista rebels. Or was he confused between Zapatero and Emiliano Zapata, the hero of the Mexican revolution? That was only in 1910.

Palin hacked off

The hackers broke into Sarah Palin's Yahoo email account and posted screenshots of the Alaska governor's emails on Wikileaks (a sister of Wikipedia) as well as her contact list, and her inbox list. Some of the emails on the account gov.sarah@ yahoo.com deal with state business and had subject lines that include, "Memorandum of Law", and "CONFIDENTIAL Ethics Matter". Another seems to deal with the sacking of Alaska's de facto police chief Walt Monegan for refusing to fire the governor's ex-brother-in law, Trooper Mike Wooten. The governor has been accused of operating in secrecy through an unsecured Yahoo account in order to get around Freedom of Information requests.

Clinton's revenge?

One bright spot for Mr McCain is the shocking idea that the Republican ticket might win New York State, which has long been a bastion for Democrats. The rejection of New York's Senator Hillary Clinton has damaged Barack Obama, pollsters note. They also detect "a pronounced swing among Jewish voters... 12 per cent of the state-wide vote". McCain's allies may be clutching at straws but they want him to campaign heavily in the state.

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