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The Rundown

Hello and welcome to Political Browser, the Washington Post's daily guide to politics on the Web. You're getting a sneak preview of this new feature, which officially launches at 8 am EST on Monday, Sept. 22. Each weekday, the Browser will feature the best political stories, blog posts, videos and other newsworthy tidbits from all over the Internet, as selected and updated throughout the day by the Politics staffs of The Washington Post and washingtonpost.com. Readers will also be able to suggest their own favorite links, both in the "Reader Picks" section and in the comments section of every box.

This blog, The Takeaway, will be updated several times a day, and will aim to provide a quick, offbeat take on the day's political news. You can read a sample entry, written Friday morning, after the jump.

Up is down, black is white, dogs and cats are living together. Pick your favorite metaphor and run with it, as a Republican administration nominally committed to free-market principles is about to stage a massive government intervention into the economy, with both presidential candidates and both parties on Capitol Hill merrily tagging along.

With numbers like "$1 trillion bailout" being bandied about, it's tough to get too worked up about Day 2 of the Palin e-mail story or the McCain vs. Spain subplot. Today, it's all about Wall Street and which candidate is a) better prepared to respond to the crisis, and b) more responsible for it. John McCain gives what all agree is a huge speech on the economy this morning in Green Bay (how "huge" can it be at 9 am on a Friday?), while Barack Obama delivers his thoughts to a women's rally in Florida.

As for who is to blame, the two campaigns are now up with dueling ads, with McCain having fired the first salvo by noting the (disputed) role of ex-Fannie Mae head Franklin Raines in Obama's campaign. (Why not just focus on Jim Johnson, the more recent Fannie Mae chief who had a much more visible, and undeniable, job with the campaign?) Obama hit back with shots at the gaffe-prone Carly Fiorina and Phil Gramm, neither of whom looks likely anymore to run Treasury in a McCain administration.

While talk on the presidential level is of an economy-fueled swing back to Obama in the polls, the congressional news is a few days behind. House and Senate Republicans are feeling better about their chances than they have in months, though it's all relative: The GOP's rosy scenario still has them losing at least a handful of seats in the Senate and even more in the House. And the coming focus on the bailout plan in Congress means attention will shift away from Republicans' favorite (only?) campaign issue -- energy.

By Ben Pershing  |  September 19, 2008; 9:40 AM ET
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