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Special Report

Paging Bill Cosby

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Boy-Girl...

The Republican National Committee's leadership contest in two weeks may be more nerve-racking than usual. The National Journal reports an Affirmative Action rule dating back to 1937 requires the co-chairman to be the opposite sex of the chairman.

The two women in the running for co-chair would both be disqualified if either of the women seeking the chair -- Ann Wagner and Maria Cino -- ends up winning.

If the GOP were to elect a woman as national party chair it would only be the second time in history and would mean the No. 2 slot would have to go to a male.

Do-Over?

The Democrat who urged health reform advocates not to advertise new end-of-life counseling regulations regrets reviving the debate.

The New York Times reports Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer's office issued a memo saying "this regulation could be modified or reversed, especially if Republican leaders try to use this small provision to perpetuate the 'death panel' myth... thus far, it seems that no press or blogs have discovered it, but we will be keeping a close watch... the longer this goes unnoticed, the better our chances of keeping it."

The memo set off a firestorm that brought back the debate on the so-called death panels.

Blumenauer now tells The Hill newspaper that the memo's secretive language should have been worded differently.

Comic Relief?

Katie Couric is reflecting on the controversy around the proposed Islamic mosque near Ground Zero and thinks a new TV sitcom could make it all right.

The CBS anchor said -- quote -- "the bigotry expressed against Muslims in this country has been one of the most disturbing stories to surface this year." Her remedy? "Maybe we need a Muslim version of 'The Cosby Show'.... I know that sounds crazy, but 'The Cosby Show' did so much to change attitudes about African-Americans in this country."

Southern Tradition

And finally, towns and cities across North Carolina are planning to welcome 2011 with their own distinct take on the Times Square ball drop.

Raleigh will drop its famous acorn, while Eastover will drop a 3-foot-tall 30-pound flea made of fabric and wood.

In Mount Olive the festivities include a giant illuminated pickle. And in Brasstown, people will gather for the annual lowering of the possum.