US election diary

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The Independent US

* Barack Obama's extravagant 30-min-ute "infomercial" may have been seen by millions of Americans last night, but his two young daughters made it clear in advance they would not be clearing their diaries to catch their dad on the small screen. Michelle Obama revealed when she appeared on Jay Leno's talk show earlier this week that the couple's 10-year-old daughter, Malia, had looked alarmed when she heard her parents discussing the matter at the kitchen table. "You're going to be on all the TV?," she asked her father. "Are you going to interrupt my TV?" Luckily for Malia, as the Illinois senator explained, the Obama camp hadn't bought airtime on Disney or Nickelodeon.

* The backlash against Sarah Palin has reached such a level that even the Obama camp feels comfortable publicly attacking her. In their latest ad, entitled: "His Choice", various quotes from McCain admitting his lack of experience on the economy are shown on screen. One reads: "I might have to rely on a vice president that I select [for expertise on economic issues]." This is followed by the question "His choice?" flashing on the screen, followed by slow motion footage of Sarah Palin giving one of her cringe-inducing winks.

* Robert De Niro has joined forces with a galaxy of Hollywood celebs including Whoopi Goldberg, Samuel L Jackson and Angela Bassett in an effort to get American voters, especially the young, off their sofas and into the polling stations next Tuesday. The stars have lent their faces and voices to a series of television and radio public service announcements reminding citizens of their rights – and in particular urging them to immediately report any Florida 2000-style difficulties with voting on the day. "Look, I don't care who you vote for," says tough guy De Niro in his message, "I just want you to vote. If you're registered to vote, you get to vote, period. If you're turned away at the polls, if anyone tries to mess with your rights, call. This is America, we look out for each other."

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