Obama did "The Daily Show" last night, and offered up complaints about running for office from the Senate ("designed for you to take bad votes") as well as the very nature of political rhetoric. Said Obama, "I think that really strikes to what people are frustrated with in politics, is that so much of what we talk about, so much of what we say, it's not true, people know it's not true, all the insiders understand that we're just game-playing -- and in the meantime you've got these hugely serious problems, which are true."
And what do we know about the voting calendar today? Yesterday's vote in the Michigan state senate, to have the state hold primaries Jan. 15, only guarantees several more weeks of uncertainty. "Who knew the state legislatures would behave like 6-year-olds when scheduling the U.S. presidential primaries?" writes Bloomberg's Margaret Carlson. "Where's the League of Women Voters when you need them? Or a smoke-filled room? Someone has to stop the insanity."
Also in the news:
Your Maliki scorecard: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., want Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to be replaced. President Bush now considers him to be "a good guy, a good man with a difficult job," a day after a lukewarm presidential endorsement caused Maliki to erupt at the American meddling ("discourteous," he called it.)
Bush may need to voice support his again today: "The administration is planning to make public parts of a sober new report by American intelligence agencies expressing deep doubts that the Maliki government can overcome sectarian differences," write The New York Times' Jim Rutenberg, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, and Mark Mazzetti. "Government officials who have seen the report say it gives a bleak outlook on the chances Mr. Maliki can meet milestones intended to promote unity in Iraq."
The Los Angeles Times' Richard A. Serrano profiles Giuliani's time at the Reagan Justice Department -- years that displayed has fierce ambition, and that generated the famous comb-over. "Giuliani already was demonstrating a florid sense of self, a high degree of self-confidence and a daring to pull the levers of bureaucratic power," Serrano writes. "Giuliani often appeared hungry for the spotlight, at times flying off at subordinates if he did not get the publicity he relished. He sometimes would brush past department guidelines, using the power of his office, in one instance, to help friends obtain a co-op apartment in Manhattan."
Time's Tim Padgett looks at Obama's defiance of "conventional political wisdom" in Florida by calling for a loosening of restrictions that apply to Cuba. "Maybe it's because Obama knows a new conventional wisdom may well be taking shape in the state -- one that could actually make his declarations this week an asset when Florida holds its primary election next January," Padgett writes. "At the same time, Obama's stance could help him garner a larger share of the state's non-Cuban Democrats (especially non-Cuban Latinos), who were repulsed by hard-line exile politics during the Elian Gonzalez fiasco."
The Sept. 23 Fox News Channel debate in Detroit is set to be "rescheduled" after the three leading Democratic candidates indicated that they wouldn't show up.