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US Election Diary: Truly awful waffles; The near Russia house; The woman they had to gag

Truly awful waffles

Who says the Christian right doesn't have a sense of humour? At the Values Voters summit in Washington, a wag inside the convention hall was doing a roaring trade with Obama Waffles, a $10 breakfast mix whose box was emblazoned with a caricature of the Democrat presidential candidate in Muslim clothes. "Point towards Mecca for tastier waffles," it says on the front, recalling the persistent rumour Barack Obama is a Muslim. "Feeds 4 or more illegal aliens," it says on the back. Organisers pointed out that some people might find the boxes offensive, and asked for them to be withdrawn from sale.

The near Russia house

Barack Obama pulled his appearance on Saturday Night Live, US television's comedy institution, fearing it might look inappropriate with Hurricane Ike bearing down. But the comedian Tina Fey, below, who bears a striking resemblance to Sarah Palin, did return to the show. In a "non-partisan message with Hillary Clinton" (played by Amy Poehler), "Diplomacy should be the cornerstone of any foreign policy," said Poehler. "And I can see Russia from my house," the pretend Palin replied. "I believe global warming is caused by man," said Poehler. "And I believe it's just God hugging it closer," said Fey.

The woman they had to gag

Faye Palin was refreshingly off-message last month when she admitted she was not sure what her daughter-in-law Sarah could bring to the Republican presidential ticket. Worse, mother of First Dude Todd Palin confided she liked the sound of Barack Obama and hadn't decided who to vote for. Sadly, it seems that Faye, along with other members of the extended family, has been barred by the McCain team from speaking to reporters again, The New York Times has reported.