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Special Report

President's Dramatic Interpretation?

And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine...

Dramatic Interpretation

President Obama's oft-told tale about his mother's fight with an insurance company as she was dying from cancer is being challenged in a new book.

Obama frequently said during the 2008 campaign that his mother faced nagging questions about whether her illness was a pre-existing condition that disqualified her from coverage. The implication was this pertained to health insurance.

But the New York Times reports the book says the dispute concerned a disability insurance policy and that her actual health insurer apparently reimbursed most of her medical expenses without argument.

The White House is not challenging the account. It told The Times it had not reviewed the correspondence, but said Mr. Obama's broader point remains relevant.

State of Affairs

The United States of America might be technically only 49 states.

Time reports an 82-year-old man found a constitutional error back in 1995 that questions whether North Dakota ever fit the requirements for statehood. He's been working ever since to fix it.

The problem lies in the state constitution's failure to require the governor and other top officials to take an oath of office. A state senator has introduced a bill to fix the problem.

Creative License

Finally, does a pasta strainer count as religious headgear?

One self-confessed atheist in Austria has fought and won the right to be shown in his driver's license photo wearing the strainer, because he says it's all part of his religion called "Pastafarianism." It's a tongue-in-cheek faith that is a part of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.