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McCain's Base

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Hillary continues to get beat up over Bosnia by the right, the left and mainstream columnists such as Dick Polman:

"Maybe she was hoping that the toy companies would agree to market a Hillary Clinton Action Figure. More likely, she was probably hoping that she could inflate her meager foreign policy experience by goading the electorate into swallowing a lie. Now that Clinton has been exposed as a serial peddler of falsehoods, in her retelling of the 1996 visit she made to Bosnia as First Lady, it's worth noting why this campaign episode is important. She has based her increasingly desperate candidacy on the proposition that she is best qualified to be commander-in-chief at 3 a.m. on Day One, and that in turn hinges on the argument that she has passed some of the character tests that are requirements for command. Physical courage, for example.

"Hence, her desire to make people believe -- in direct contradiction to the facts, as captured on video -- that she braved sniper fire in Bosnia. And it's not actually the lie that was most telling. It's her attempt to lie about the lie."

The latest poll news: "The racially charged debate over Barack Obama's relationship with his longtime pastor hasn't much changed his close contest against Hillary Clinton, or hurt him against Republican nominee-in-waiting John McCain, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll."

Obama is tied with Clinton, 45-45, up a couple of points from two weeks ago. Plus, Obama beats McCain by a statistically insignificant 44-42, while Hillary loses to McCain by 2.

National Review's Byron York, noting that the Obamas' tax returns showed them making as much as $1.6 million a year, raises a question about Michelle:

"When I saw Mrs. Obama at an appearance in Zanesville, Ohio last month, she was telling a group of low-income women -- the median household income in the county in which Zanesville is located was $37,192 in 2004, well below the state and national medians -- about how hard it can be to keep things together. Her talk often touched on money. 'I know we're spending -- I added it up for the first time -- we spend between the two kids, on extracurriculars outside the classroom, we're spending about $10,000 a year on piano and dance and sports supplements and so on and so forth,' she told the women of her own household expenses. 'And summer programs. That's the other huge cost. Barack is saying, 'Whyyyyyy are we spending that?' And I'm saying, 'Do you know what summer camp costs?' ''

"The women nodded in agreement, although the Obamas were spending what amounted to nearly a third of a Zanesville resident's annual income on piano and dance lessons. Nevertheless, Michelle Obama portrayed herself and her husband as going through a lot of the same struggles as the women and their families. She conceded that she was doing fine financially, but only after Barack Obama hit it big with his books."

The L.A. Times is enmeshed in a case involving allegedly phony government documents that carries the aroma of the CBS/National Guard fiasco. I've got the details here. And the paper has now apologized.

Finally, today's New York sex-story installment:

"Disgraced former Gov. Eliot Spitzer has been identified as a long-standing client of a second high-priced call-girl ring, The New York Post has learned.

"The ex-governor regularly patronized Wicked Models, the Manhattan-based operation taken down Tuesday, according to financial documents and other evidence unearthed in a yearlong prostitution [investigation], law-enforcement sources said . . .

"At the center of the new ring is Kristin 'Billie' Davis, a busty bottle blonde who hails from a [r]ough-and-tumble California trailer park."

Yes, there's a photo.

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