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Tim Russert

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They Waterboarded Christopher Hitchens

Finally, right? Plus, David Brooks thinks Goldman Sachs may be on the cusp of a coup, and the "summer of legal vindication" kicks off in our hump-day roundup of media, finance, law, and real-estate news.

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Some Claiming Hussein- and Race-Baiting Strengthen Obama

Obama church
The last few days have brought back discussion of Barack Obama's race and heritage in a way not seen since South Carolina. On Monday, of course, a photo of Obama trying on traditional Somali clothing circulated. Then, in the Cleveland debate two days ago, Tim Russert grilled Obama over the endorsement of Louis Farrakhan and the praise lavished on Farrakhan by Obama’s pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright Jr. Finally, John McCain has been trying to disassociate himself from the fearmongering tactic of dropping Obama’s Muslim-sounding middle name, Hussein, carried out separately by talk-radio host Bill Cunningham and, in a press release yesterday, the Tennessee Republican Party. Into this burgeoning mess wade our pundits.

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Kate Middleton Quits Fashion — Soon to Be Engaged?

FASHION • Princely girlfriend Kate Middleton quit her job at fashion chain Jigsaw, sparking rumors of an imminent engagement! [British Vogue] • Daria Werbowy is doing a line of makeup for Lancôme that benefits a Brazilian children’s charity. Hot and philanthropic? Sigh. [Fashionista] • Surprise, surprise: This holiday shopping season is gonna suck for retailers. [NYT]

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Stephen Colbert Collides With Reality, Drops Campaign

Colbert
Comedian Stephen Colbert, after having been rejected by the South Carolina Democratic machine, has decided to let us all off the hook and drop his presidential campaign, he said today in a statement.
"I am shocked and saddened by the South Carolina Democratic Executive Council’s 13-to-3 vote to keep me off their presidential primary ballot. Although I lost by the slimmest margin in presidential election history — only 10 votes — I have chosen not to put the country through another agonizing Supreme Court battle. It is time for this nation to heal."
Wow, we really thought we'd have to go through a lot more awkward televised interviews and tortured analysis before we saw the end of this. But Colbert, in his typically unabashed way, decided to take this opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: "I am going off the air until I can talk about this without weeping," he said, supplying a final, strong period to this entire spectacle. Also, you know, giving himself an obvious out for the duration of the writers strike. Colbert Ends White House Bid [NYT] Earlier: In Defense of Stephen Colbert's Quasi-Faux Presidential Bid

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Rupert Murdoch Wins the Party

MEDIA • News Corp. surpassed Time Warner to become the largest media company on the planet, and Murdoch held off a shareholder revolt in order to keep his family tyranny in place. [Hollywood Reporter, USAT] • ESPN poached marquee columnist Rick Reilly from Sports Illustrated after 22 years with the mag. Dan Patrick, who SI just poached from ESPN, will take Reilly's place at the back of the book. [NYT, Deadspin] • Stephen Colbert took his campaign to the Tim Russert show: "This is not a dream, you are not going to wake up from this. I am far realer than Sam Brownback." [NYT]

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