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Politics Today: Palin Publicity Blitz Full Speed Ahead

Politics Today is CBSNews.com's inside look at the key stories driving the day in politics, written by CBS News Political Director Steve Chaggaris:

**Latest news on Sarah Palin's upcoming book tour

**President Obama talks about Internet freedom in China

**Senate health care bill could be revealed this week

(CBS)
SARAH PALIN: McClatchy Newspapers' Erika Bolstad, "By now, nearly everyone with a television has seen the teases for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's appearance Monday on Oprah Winfrey's show. (Will Levi come to Thanksgiving dinner? Stay tuned!)

"Thanks to a sloppy stock clerk at an undisclosed bookstore, there've been plenty of leaks from Palin's memoir, 'Going Rogue,' which officially hits bookstores Tuesday.

"The Palin publicity blitz has begun, and if it has elements of a political campaign, a Twitter feed and that of a top-tier rock band touring second-tier cites, well, that's by design."

CBS News' Randall Pinkston, "In 'Going Rogue' Palin reportedly criticizes McCain's senior staff for allegedly pushing her to be interviewed by 'CBS Evening News' anchor Katie Couric; that interview produced a series of exchanges that dogged Palin throughout the campaign.

"In an interview for the Oprah Winfrey Show, Palin accused McCain's campaign staff of misleading her about her performance with Couric.

"'The campaign said, 'Right on, good, you're showing your independence. This is what America needed to see. It was a good interview,' Palin recalled. 'And I thought if you think that was a good interview, I don't know what a bad interview was, because I knew it wasn't a good interview.'

"Steven Schmidt, McCain's chief strategist calls Palin's account 'fiction.'"

Associated Press' Calvin Woodward fact checks Palin's book:

Politico's Andy Barr, "Sarah Palin's five book tour goals"

(AP/Harper)
New York Times' Sarah Wheaton, "Palin ... had a lot of not-so-nice things to say about the McCain campaign in her new memoir, 'Going Rogue.' But of [Hillary] Clinton, she said it was only after her own experience on the campaign trail that she came to agree with the former Democratic contender's complaints about biased media coverage.

"Mrs. Clinton was a guest on ABC's 'This Week With George Stephanopoulos' [Sunday], and the host read her the following passage:

"'Should Secretary Clinton and I ever sit down over a cup of coffee, I know that we will fundamentally disagree on many issues. But my hat is off to her hard work on the 2008 campaign trail. A lot of her supporters think she proved what Margaret Thatcher proclaimed, 'If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.'

"Mrs. Clinton's response: 'Well, you know, I've never met her. And look, I'd look forward to sit down and talk with her. Obviously, we're going to hear a lot more from her in the upcoming weeks with her book coming out, and I would look forward to having a chance to actually get to meet her.'

"Mr. Stephanopoulos then asked if the media had been fair to Ms. Palin. But Mrs. Clinton said people would have to wait to read about that in her book, 'if I ever write another one.'"

Wall Street Journal's Peter Wallsten, "A number of Republican candidates for 2010 races are reaching out to Ms. Palin, hoping she can bring them political good fortune with an energized party base. Ms. Palin met for 30 minutes last week with Scott Walker, a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Wisconsin.

"Mr. Walker said Ms. Palin offered no commitments, but made clear her intention to be present in next year's national campaign."

Politics Daily's Walter Shapiro, "How Palin Could Win the 2012 GOP Nomination": "[W]hat all the discussions of Palin's future miss is the way that Republican Party rules are made-to-order for a well-funded insurgent named Sarah to sweep the primaries before anyone figures out how to stop her. If Palin can maintain, say, 35-percent support in a multi-candidate presidential field, then she is the odds-on favorite for the GOP nomination.

"The secret of Palin's presidential potential is the Republican Party's affection for winner-take-all primaries."

CBS News' Bob Schieffer on Palin: "My guess is she's not ever going to run for anything and I think if she did, I don't think she would get very far."

(AP Photo/Elizabeth Dalziel)
PRESIDENT OBAMA IN ASIA: It's nighttime in Beijing, where Mr. Obama is overnighting, as he readies for his meeting later today (Tuesday morning, China time) with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Time Magazine's Austin Ramzy, "When U.S. President Barack Obama meets Tuesday with Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, there are several trouble spots between him and his host, and the good relationship could erode if they aren't managed carefully. ... five key areas that the U.S. has to worry about: Taiwan ... Military Relations ... Currency ... Intellectual Property Rights ... Human Rights"

CBS News' Rob Hendin, "The U.S. relationship with China is crucial to White House goals on some of its top priorities: de-nuclearizing Iran and North Korea, global climate change, and reviving the economy. But it is the economy that may be the hardest issue for Mr. Obama to deal with because China and the U.S. fuel each other's bad habits. ...

"[W]hat it really comes down to is a 'mutually reinforcing drug addiction,' said Mike Green of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Green explains how it works: 'We get cheap goods, they get great exports and economy growth, they get stuck with a lot of dollars, they don't want their currency to be convertible because that would mean they lose control of domestic, social and economic and political tools, so they recycle it back to the U.S., we get to keep borrowing more money, and so the cycle goes on,' he said.

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Meantime, overnight in Shanghai, "President Barack Obama made a pitch for Internet freedom in China Monday, even as the audience for his comments was limited by China's government," report the Wall Street Journal's Jonathan Weisman and Ian Johnson.

"Speaking to a selected group of Chinese students at the beginning of his first visit to China, Mr. Obama said that the free flow of information makes societies stronger and holds political leaders accountable. People in positions of power may bristle at criticism, he said, but open criticism 'makes our democracy stronger, and it makes me a better leader because it forces me to hear opinions that I don't want to hear.'

"Mr. Obama's words, however, likely reached few Chinese. In contrast to visits by his two predecessors, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Mr. Obama's talk was not broadcast live on national television. A local network in Shanghai carried the 'town hall' meeting on its television station and Web site, but a promised national 'live broadcast' on the Web site of the state-run news agency, Xinhua, did not materialize. Instead, under the term 'live broadcast,' a transcript appeared. In addition, the meeting was broadcast on the White House Web site, although it's unlikely that many Chinese would have been able to navigate what for them would be a foreign-language site.

"The terms of the talk were the subject of last-minute negotiations between the U.S. administration, which was keen for Mr. Obama to be heard nationally, and the Chinese government, which sought to limit the scope of the talk. Mr. Clinton, in 1998, and Mr. Bush, in 2002, were able to have speeches followed by audience questions broadcast nationally during China visits."

New York Times' Helene Cooper and David Barboza, "He didn't explicitly call on China's leaders to lift the veil of state control that restricts Internet access and online social networking here. But President Obama did tiptoe — ever so lightly — into that controversial topic on Monday when he told students in Shanghai that a free and unfettered Internet is a source of strength, not weakness.

"For Mr. Obama, who has been taking pains to strike a conciliatory note during his first visit to China, it was a rare challenge to Chinese authorities, but expressed in Mr. Obama's now familiar nuance. Responding to a question that came via the Internet during a town hall meeting with Shanghai students — 'Should we be able to use Twitter freely?' — Mr. Obama first l started to answer in the slightly off-the-point manner which he often uses when he is gathering his thoughts."

(AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
HEALTH CARE: Bloomberg News' Kristin Jensen and Laura Litvan, "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will unveil legislation to overhaul the U.S. health-care system as early as this week. The floor debate that follows is likely to divide his Democratic Party.

"Reid wants to include a government-run insurance program that would let states opt out, which may cost him Senate votes. His version probably won't require employers to cover workers and will be funded through a tax on high-end insurance plans, which would put him at odds with House Democrats.

"Reid needs 60 votes to pass the legislation, and he risks losing Senator Joseph Lieberman, a Connecticut independent who caucuses with the Democrats and opposes the government insurance plan. He also hasn't won over the two Republicans most likely to back the bill, Maine Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins."

"President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress stand to reap the political rewards if they can pull off health reform, by achieving near-universal coverage, toughening regulations on private insurers and transforming the way health care is delivered," write Bloomberg News' Nicole Gaouette and Jonathan D. Salant, "Lieberman Independence Hinders' Democrats' Health-Care End Game": "Joseph Lieberman was re-elected to the U.S. Senate as a political independent after Connecticut Democrats snubbed him in 2006. Now, he's living up to that designation as a potential obstacle to President Barack Obama's top priority, health care.

"Lieberman, 67, has clout among Democrats as part of the 60- member party caucus Majority Leader Harry Reid needs to bring his health-care measure to a final vote without Republican support. On Nov. 8, Lieberman said he'll oppose any bill containing a public plan that would compete with private insurers such as Aetna Inc., based in his home state, because it could swell U.S. debt. Reid's bill has that provision.

"Al Gore's running mate in 2000, Lieberman backed Republican John McCain for president in 2008. While Lieberman still aligns himself with the Democratic caucus, his threat to block health legislation 'as a matter of conscience' shows a growing willingness and confidence to stand on his own, analysts say.

"'I don't think he thinks of himself as a partisan any more,' said Howard L. Reiter, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, in an interview. 'I don't think he sees it as turning his back on his party. He feels liberated by what happened to him in 2006.'"

Los Angeles Times' Kim Geiger and James Oliphant, "Abortion, wellness and other healthcare bill questions"

Politico's Jonathan Allen, "Abortion deal spins a very tangled web": "Taxpayers currently provide deep subsidies for health insurance plans that cover abortion — a little-recognized fact responsible for much of the angst over an anti-abortion amendment attached to the House health care bill. ...

"Many Americans may not know that the money used for their employer-based health plans is untaxed, because it doesn't show up on their paycheck and they don't have to worry about it at tax time. But Congress's bean-counting Joint Tax Committee calls the break 'the largest tax subsidy' on the books and reports that it 'represents by far the largest portion of total tax expenditures for health.'"

Los Angeles Times' James Oliphant, "Catholic bishops' influence on healthcare bill"

Washington Post's David Montgomery, "Immigration looms as sticking point in health-care legislation"

Washington Post's Aaron C. David, "House health bill includes Medicaid relief for states"

(White House/Pete Souza)
AFGHANISTAN: New York Times' Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger, "U.S. Asks More From Pakistan in Terror War": "The Obama administration is stepping up pressure on Pakistan to expand and reorient its fight against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, warning that failing to do so would undercut the new strategy and troop increase for Afghanistan that President Obama is preparing to approve, American officials say.

"While Afghanistan has dominated the public discussion of Mr. Obama's strategy, which officials say could be announced as early as this week, Pakistan is returning to center stage in administration planning. As the president traveled to Asia, his national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, was quietly sent to Islamabad, its capital.

"His message, officials said, was that the new American strategy would work only if Pakistan broadened its fight beyond the militants attacking its cities and security forces and went after the groups that use havens in Pakistan for plotting and carrying out attacks against American troops in Afghanistan, as well as support networks for Al Qaeda."

Meantime, "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the Obama administration was seeking greater accountability from Afghan President Hamid Karzai, suggesting that future civilian aid to the country could be tied to more aggressive action to combat corruption," reports the Wall Street Journal's Greg Hitt.

"'President Karzai and his government can do better,' Mrs. Clinton told ABC News's 'This Week with George Stephanopoulos.' She said the U.S. wanted to see 'tangible evidence that the government...will be more responsive to the needs of the people.'"

ALSO:

Associated Press' Deanna Bellandi, "Officials discuss plans for Gitmo inmates in Ill."

LA Times' David G. Savage, "For Obama judicial nominees, confirmation is slow process"

Wall Street Journal's Evan Perez, "White House Counsel Set to Narrow Job's Scope"

NY Times' John M. Broder, "Obama Hobbled in Fight Against Global Warming"

Politico's Alex Isenstadt, "Charlie Crist loses his mojo"

NY Times' Kate Zernike, "A Florida Republican Becomes a Right-Wing Target"

Chicago Sun-Times' Lynn Sweet, "Dems at risk of losing Obama's old Senate seat"
  • Steve Chaggaris

    Steve Chaggaris is CBS News' senior political editor.