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The Skinny: Fox Cuts The Juice Loose; Hillary's Campaign $hopping $pree

The Skinny, Hillary Profita's take on the top of the news and the best of the Web, appears daily here on Public Eye and on the "Evening News" page at

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton spent about a gazillion dollars on her election campaign (somewhat odd, since I can barely remember the name of the person who ran against her) and the New York Times has a rundown of all the receipts. It's a financial record that "has fueled some criticism among Democratic activists and prompted concern among Mrs. Clinton's supporters, including complaints from some of her fund-raisers that her top aides exercised a lack of discipline."

That's because the campaign spent more than $13,000 on flowers, $27,000 for valet parking, as much as $800 in credit card interest in a single month and "paid tens of thousands of dollars a month to an assortment of consultants and aides." Oh, and "$17 million in advertising and fund-raising mailings." In all, Clinton spent about $30 million on the campaign.

Clinton was not available for comment, but the campaign's executive director responded to the Times that: "We're very pleased with the outcome of this election: the bottom line is victory with 67 percent of the vote, a substantial increase among independents and Republicans, and a list of several hundred thousand donors, beneficial in this and future campaigns." As of mid-October, Clinton had $14 million left on hand. The Times notes that "the law allows money left in a Senate campaign fund to be transferred to a presidential campaign." Not that she's running or anything.

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Fox Caves On O.J.

You've more than likely heard the news by now, but if not, four newspapers feature the denouement of the O.J. Simpson book and interview saga on their front pages. News Corp., which owns Fox television and HarperCollins publishing, pulled the plug on both the book and the interview – in which Simpson discusses how he would have murdered his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

The decision followed a storm of outrage from, well, everyone whose heart doesn't pump cold black lava. News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch said: "I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project. We are sorry for any pain this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson." By the time that statement had been distributed, writes the Washington Post, "more than 48,000 people had signed a petition on the Web site, demanding the projects be scrubbed." Also, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly had commenced an on-air conniption fit.

Simpson, for his part, told the AP that he wouldn't yet comment. "I would like nothing better than to straighten out some things that have been mischaracterized. But I think I'm legally muzzled at this point." Most papers have a look behind the scenes at News Corp., where, The New York Times notes, employees were characterized as "thankful the company had abandoned the project." There's also a fascinating explanation from an anonymous executive, who "said that the company had badly miscalculated the public's tolerance for anything having to do with Mr. Simpson, thinking enough time had passed for the public to consider him less a pariah." Um, no, anonymous executive, he's pretty much still a pariah.

With everyone wondering whether Simpson has already made good on his reported $3.5 million contract, the Wall Street Journal spoke with Simpson's lawyer, Yale Galanter, who said: "All of his contractual obligations have been fulfilled and weren't contingent upon any type of book or interview." Asked whether Mr. Simpson would receive his entire fee for the book, he said, "Far as I know."

But don't worry, American public, this saga has likely not reached its end. The NYT notes that Regan's interview with Simpson already exists on tape, which some News Corp. executives say "means it is likely to turn up somewhere, perhaps on the Internet."

Iran Blows Kisses To Iraq, Syria

As the U.S. currently refuses to engage in discussions with Iran and Syria, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has offered invitations to Iraq and Syria for a summit, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani – who, as prime minister last year refused to meet with Ahmadinejad -- plans to meet with the Iranian leader in Tehran on Sunday to "iron out details of a possible three-way meeting." The State Department "sought to play down the significance of a possible three-way summit," writes the Times, saying that such previous plans never materialized.

"What we'd like to see the Iranian government do is desist, first and foremost, from negative actions it's taken in Iraq," said a State Department spokesman. "As we have always said with respect to the Syrians, you know, the problem is not what they say, the problem is what they do."

Land Grab?

Elsewhere in Middle East, an Israeli advocacy group is saying that "39 percent of the land held by Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank is privately owned by Palestinians," The New York Times reports on its front page. If true, "that is bound to create embarrassment for Israel and further complicate the already distant prospect of a negotiated peace," as Israel has "long asserted that it fully respects Palestinian private property in the West Bank and only takes land there legally or, for security reasons, temporarily."

Pentagon A Nerve Gas Slowpoke

USA Today has obtained Pentagon documents that reveal the Department of Defense "won't eliminate its stocks of deadly nerve gases and skin-blistering agents until 11 years after the 2012 deadline set by the international Chemical Weapons Convention."

The people who live near the seven sites where the weapons are kept are a little miffed about that. And their representatives are having a fit. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) called the new deadlines "simply unacceptable." A Pentagon spokesman said the delay is the result of technological challenges. "Destroying these weapons safely is not a fast or simple process," he said.

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