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The Devil and Daniel Webster

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Tonight's the night Democrats have been drooling over since John Kerry announced his selection of John Edwards as his running mate: the night Dick Cheney is, in effect, cross-examined by the hot shot attorney who once won a record $25 million judgement against a negligent pool manufacturer.Whether Edwards can deliver more than a glancing blow to the stolid, unshakeable Cheney is an open question, however. Edwards has been somewhat unimpressive, in fact almost invisible, in the campaign thus far. While Cheney makes headlines with his dark warnings of another 9/11 if voters are foolish enough to cast their ballots for John "I Heart Osama" Kerry, Edwards plays the sticks, stumping in mid-size markets like a candidate for county commissioner.

Expectations have been heightened since Sen. Kerry's win against a befuddled President Bush in their debate last week, with both parties now viewing this debate as strategically important. The GOP is hoping Cheney will be their stopper, using his gravitas to slow Kerry's momentum. Dems are looking to Edwards to forcefully continue to make the case against the current administration's handling of foreign policy.

To make it even more interesting, there will be some fresh meat for the VP candidates to chew on tonight:

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• Rummy says there's no link between Iraq and al-Qaida. Whoops, what he really meant to say was there is a link between Iraq and al-Qaida. But he's not flip-flopping, he's clarifying.

• L. Paul Bremer, former administrator of the Iraq occupation, says the U.S. did not have enough troops in Iraq to effectively control the country, leading to widespread looting and, eventually, the current insurgency.

We would predict an interesting debate, but since our last prediction went horribly awry we've left the prognostication business. We will be glued to the set however, as this might be the last debate that won't conflict with a Dodger's playoff game (maybe it's time LAist got TiVo).