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Five years ago: Republican Sarah Palin and Democrat Joe Biden sparred over taxes, energy policy and the Iraq war in a high-profile vice-presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, in which Palin sought to reclaim her identity as a feisty reformer and Biden tried to undercut the maverick image of GOP presidential hopeful John McCain. More than a year after millionaire adventure Steve Fossett vanished on a solo flight over California's rugged Sierra Nevada, searchers found the wreckage of his plane but no body inside. (Fossett's remains were discovered in late Oct. 2008.)
One year ago: Vice President Joe Biden said the middle class had been "buried" during the last four years, a statement that Republicans immediately seized upon as an unwitting indictment of the Obama administration. A judge in Pennsylvania ruled that the state's tough new voter identification requirement could not be enforced in the upcoming presidential election.
Today's birthdays: Country singer-musician Leon Rausch (Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys) is 86. Retired MLB All-Star Maury Wills is 81. Movie critic Rex Reed is 75. Singer-songwriter Don McLean is 68. Cajun/country singer Jo-el Sonnier (sahn-YAY') is 67. Actor Avery Brooks is 65. Fashion designer Donna Karan is 65. Photographer Annie Leibovitz is 64. Rock musician Mike Rutherford (Genesis, Mike & the Mechanics) is 63. Singer-actor Sting is 62. Actress Lorraine Bracco is 59. Country musician Greg Jennings (Restless Heart) is 59. Rock singer Phil Oakey (The Human League) is 58. Rhythm-and-blues singer Freddie Jackson is 55. Singer-producer Robbie Nevil is 55. Retro-soul singer James Hunter is 51. Rock musician Bud Gaugh (Sublime, Eyes Adrift) is 46. Folk-country singer Gillian Welch is 46. Country singer Kelly Willis is 45. Actor Joey Slotnick is 45. Rhythm-and-blues singer Dion Allen (Az Yet) is 43. Actress-talk show host Kelly Ripa (TV: "Live with Kelly and Michael") is 43. Singer Tiffany is 42. Rock singer Lene Nystrom is 40. Actor Efren Ramirez is 40. Rhythm-and-blues singer LaTocha Scott (Xscape) is 40. Gospel singer Mandisa (TV: "American Idol") is 37. Actress Brianna Brown is 34. Rock musician Mike Rodden (Hinder) is 31. Rock singer Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes) is 25. Actress Samantha Barks is 23.
Thought for today: "There's one way to find out if a man is honest -- ask him. If he says 'yes,' you know he is crooked." -- Groucho Marx (born this date in 1890, died in 1977)
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