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That, and other news, in today’s Political Panorama.

Gwen Ifill, moderating the vice presidential debate tomorrow night, is the author of an upcoming book, “Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama,” which has obviously raised hackles among conservative blogs and pundits. But the book itself is no secret, and, as Michael Calderone points out in the Politico, Ifill has discussed it with Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post (apparently not on Sen. Palin’s list of media sources).

Seriously, though, it does raise the question of whether Ifill’s book will sell more copies should Obama win the race, and puts her under even more scrutiny as to what she asks and how she asks it. Already there has been some suggesting from the McCain campaign that a debate so weighted toward foreign policy would not be altogether fair. Ifill broke her ankle on Monday, but is well enough to proceed. “Another crazy twist in a crazy week,” she told the AP. And that was before this latest brouhaha.

Couric, Take 5: CBS had a slight bump in ratings for Katie Couric’s initial interview with Sarah Palin — but the real impact may have been online. As Bill Carter reports in the New York Times, “The first interview last Wednesday, for example, has been viewed more than 1.4 million times on YouTube, while the parody of the interview on “SNL” was streamed more than 4 million times on NBC.com, viewed in full more than 600,000 times on YouTube and in shorter clips many more hundreds of thousands of times.”

What the interviews have done is stem the flow of stories about whether Couric will be booted off the evening news, as the broadcast appears to have gained a new sense of momentum. (Ironically, Palin’s interview actually inspired some calls for her to be booted off the ticket.)

Couric’s latest Palin interview, for a fifth night in a row, airs tonight, in which the VP candidate answers a series of “vice presidential questions” as part of an ongoing series. 

Dowd on Newman: Paul Newman taught Maureen Dowd how to peel a cucumber. In the New York Times, she shares other tales.

She writes, “Newman was a rare liberal who loved the label; he made it onto Nixon’s enemies list for supporting Eugene McCarthy’s anti-Vietnam run. In 1997, I called him when he began writing a bit for The Nation (where he was an investor). He ranted about right-wingers “popping out of rat holes” but also faulted the Clintons.

““Everything is about what’s winnable, not about the morality of the issues,” he told me. In politics, as in racing cars, he said: “You can do anything if you are prepared to deal with the consequences.””

How to Do a Fund-raiser: Jeffrey Ressner writes in the Politico of the key ingredients to hosting a successful Hollywood fund-raiser, keying in on last Saturday event for Democratic senatorial candidates.

Among his tips:

“Put on a show: Even for a small cocktail party, keep an acoustic guitar handy, in case James Taylor or another attendee decides to strum an impromptu tune. The Voices fundraiser offered an elaborate lineup of A-list talent, from singer-comics Steve Martin (picking at his banjo during three songs) and David Letterman foil Paul Shaffer (updating “Eve of Destruction”) to actor-singers including Jennifer Garner and Diane Keaton (the latter closing the event with an emotional rendition of “God Bless America”). The evening’s most uncurbed enthusiasm was reserved for Larry David, who got big laughs when he riffed about the differences between his family’s lifestyle and that of the Kennedys’.”