The Upshot
  • michael steele
    With less than two months to go before Election Day, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is focusing his energies on trying to elect Republicans in … Guam?

    The embattled RNC chair has spent the last several days on a campaign tour that's distinctly unusual -- at least by the standards of how predecessors have typically kicked off the heart of campaign season in tough national campaigns. Rather than visiting key battleground states and districts to raise campaign cash, Steele has lately been stumping for GOP candidates in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Late last month, he made appearances in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. These are odd destinations, to put it mildly, for the runup to critical midterm election -- but, as CNN's Peter Hamby notes, these are all areas that helped Steele win the RNC chairmanship in '09. Steele's new island tour, Hamby surmises, could be a sign that he is trying to shore up support for another run next year.

    Not surprisingly, Steele's 2010 island tour has inspired all kinds of anonymous griping among GOP officials. One RNC member told The Upshot that Steele "should be more focused on raising money and electing Republicans than on his own political future." Yet the decision to scarper off the continent makes its own kind of campaign sense, since few GOP congressional hopefuls are likely to be all that keen on photo-ops with the controversy-prone RNC chair.

    Read More »from Steele stumps for Republicans halfway around the world
  • waponewLally Weymouth, a special diplomatic correspondent at Newsweek, becomes the latest high-ranking staffer to leave the magazine since audio magnate Sidney Harman agreed to buy it from the Washington Post Co.

    Weymouth will join the Washington Post later this month as a senior associate editor, according information posted on media site Gorkana (login required). [See update below.]

    It makes sense that Weymouth would want to return to the Post flock, especially since she's an heir to the media company's fortune.

    Not only is Weymouth the daughter of the late Katharine Graham, the Post's legendary own, but she's also the mother of current Post publisher Katharine Weymouth. Donald Graham, her brother, is chief executive of the Washington Post Co.

    Read More »from Newsweek’s Weymouth heads to Washington Post
  • Anna Chapman a tabloid star in Russia

    Anna Chapman Russian spyAP100729113579Anna Chapman, the 28-year-old redheaded Russian who was returned home as part of the largest spy swap with the United States since the Cold War, is evidently enjoying newfound celebrity status in her mother country. Her deal with U.S. authorities prohibits Chapman from selling her story, but the former spy is nonetheless enjoying cultlike fame, according to Matthias Schepp in Der Spiegel.

    Chapman said in an interview with Schepp that she has to wear a hat and sunglasses to avoid being recognized in Moscow, where she is the object of adoring attention from fans:

    Russia has been consumed by a Chapman cult since her return. The tabloids print page after page of love confessions by her previous boyfriends. ... The local newspaper is sponsoring a contest for the most beautiful song written for Anna. The lyrics of the frontrunner are: "America is spying on everyone, and its enemies cannot sleep in peace. They're looking for bin Laden, but what does our girl have to do with it? Hands off our Anna."

    [Photos: New doll modeled after Anna Chapman]

    Schepp speculates that her popularity could be due in part to the Russian public's dislike of America:

    Read More »from Anna Chapman a tabloid star in Russia

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  • Pacquiao down to work for 'fight of my life'
    Pacquiao down to work for 'fight of my life'

    Manny Pacquiao called his boxing showdown with Floyd Mayweather "the fight of my life" as he got down to work pounding the streets and gym in Los Angeles. On Monday, Pacquiao ran two miles (3.2 km) and shadow-boxed for two rounds, followed by abdominal work and breakfast of steamed rice, scrambled egg, fish and chicken broth. Then he napped until noon and had lunch before heading to trainer Freddie Roach's Wild Card Gym, which is strictly off-limits to fans and media during Pacquiao's sessions. "I will prepare hard for this fight to give the boxing fans the kind of entertainment they want.

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