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Briefs

VP debate audience set record

Thursday’s debate between Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was must-see TV.

Just shy of 70 million people tuned for the 90-minute forum, 34 percent more than watched last week’s showdown between White House hopefuls John McCain and Barack Obama. The figures from Nielsen Media Research don’t include viewership on PBS, which estimated that it had another 3.5 million viewers.

The previous record was set in 1984, when George H. W. Bush and Geraldine Ferraro squared off before 56.7 million people.

Palin family made $170,000 last year

Republican John McCain’s campaign says Sarah and Todd Palin had a gross income of nearly $170,000 last year and paid nearly $25,000 in taxes.

McCain’s campaign released the joint income tax return Friday for his vice presidential nominee’s household.

The campaign also says the couple made nearly $130,000 and paid about $12,000 in taxes in 2006. The couple donated more than $8,000 to charity over two years.

Obama turns with McCain to Indiana

Barack Obama’s campaign announced the Democrat is returning to Indianapolis one day after Republican John McCain shifted assets from Michigan to Indiana, where polling shows a tight race.

Obama’s campaign said Friday that Obama would appear at a rally at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

The planned stop – Obama’s second visit to Indiana since the Democratic National Convention and his sixth since May – is set for one day after Tuesday’s second presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.

Alaska court asked to halt Palin probe

Six Alaska lawmakers filed an emergency appeal Friday asking the state’s Supreme Court to halt an investigation into abuse-of-power allegations against Gov. Sarah Palin before the findings are released next week.

The independent investigator conducting the probe plans to turn over his conclusions by next Friday to the Legislative Council, the body that authorized it. The six Republican lawmakers, who are not on the Legislative Council, claim the investigation is being manipulated to damage Palin before Election Day on Nov. 4.

The probe is looking into whether Palin, the Republican vice presidential candidate, and others pressured Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan to fire a state trooper involved in a divorce from Palin’s sister and then fired Monegan when he wouldn’t dismiss the trooper.

Palin sorry McCain leaving Michigan

Sarah Palin questioned Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s decision to abandon efforts to win Michigan, a campaign move she only learned about Friday morning when she read it in the newspapers.

“I fired off a quick e-mail” questioning the move, the Alaska governor said in an interview with Fox News Channel on Friday.

“Todd and I, we’d be happy to get to Michigan and walk through those plants of the car manufacturers,” Palin said, referring to her husband. “We’d be so happy to get to speak to the people in Michigan who are hurting because the economy is hurting.”

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