Are Obama Staffers Linking Palin to an Aborted VP Pick?

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Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Scare Tactics

The Barack Obama campaign is allegedly urging surrogates to talk about Republicans who are "nervous" about Sarah Palin and link those worries to George McGovern's aborted vice presidential pick of Thomas Eagleton in 1972.

Marc Ambinder at the Atlantic Magazine Online reports members of Obama's staff are using memos, e-mails and phone calls to campaign allies. McGovern dropped Eagleton from the Democratic ticket after learning he had undergone shock-therapy treatment for depression.

The report says that Wednesday Obama staffers distributed a series of quotes from Republicans who are concerned about Palin. One surrogate was told to bring up Eagleton to seed the idea that McCain might consider dropping Palin from the Republican ticket.

An Obama spokesman denies the allegations saying, "We did not give that guidance."

Division in the Ranks

Oprah Winfrey is denying a report that says her staff is divided about booking Governor Palin. Winfrey hosted Senator Obama on her talk show and even campaigned for the Democratic presidential nominee.

But the Drudge Report quotes one "Oprah" insider as saying, "Half of her staff really wants Sarah Palin on... Oprah's Web site is getting tons of requests to put her on, but Oprah and a couple of her top people are adamantly against it because of Obama."

One executive close to Winfrey tells Drudge that banning Palin from appearing on the show could ignite a dramatic backlash. But Winfrey denies the report saying, "There has been absolutely no discussion about having Sarah Palin on my show."

Tax Free

The chairman of the house committee that writes the federal tax code has failed to report rental income on his own taxes for the last 10 years according to The New York Times. The paper writes that Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel has earned more than $75,000 on a villa he owns at a resort in the Dominican Republic. The property rents for at least $500 a night.

The lawyer for the New York Democrat says Rangel will most likely file amendments to his tax returns for the years in question, but that the congressman was unaware of the payments because his wife handles family finances.

The New York Post reported last weekend that Rangel had failed to declare the rental income for 2006 and 2007 on his congressional financial disclosure forms.

Comedic Remorse

"Late Night" host David Letterman says he has reservations when doing jokes about John McCain's age. Letterman tells Rolling Stone, "Every time we have these jokes about him, I always think to myself, 'This is not entirely fair.'"

Letterman has done plenty of old fogey jokes about the 72-year-old McCain who would be the oldest man elected president to a first term. Letterman once said on his show, "John McCain looks like the kind of guy who brags that his new denture adhesive allows him to eat corn on the cob."

He says McCain's age is an obvious target, and that poking fun at Barack Obama is more difficult. He says, "I don't think people have a way to get in there. There's nothing automatically that you can go to."

FOX News Channel's Zachary Kenworthy contributed to this report.