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Rove Down Under

4:38 PM, Oct 17, 2007 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
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The BBC reports on the upcoming Australian election:

Had it not been for the man dubbed "Bush's brain," the former Labor leader Kim Beazley might be taking aim for his third shot at winning a federal election; John Howard would be confidently expecting a fifth term in office; and the Australian electorate might be on the verge of doing what it has done in more than 80 percent of elections since the war - returning the incumbent government to power.

The 2007 race was transformed by an unlikely chain of events, which started with the tragic death from cancer of an Australian soap star, Belinda Emmett from 'Home and Away.'

On the day of her funeral, Mr Beazley delivered what he thought was a heartfelt statement to reporters conveying condolences to her grieving husband, the TV star Rove McManus.

Instead, he blundered and asked that the Australian people spare a moment's thought for Karl Rove.

The gaffe provoked Labor to replace Beazley with Kevin Rudd, who is currently leading a Labor resurgence.

The election is scheduled for November 24, 2007. Howard, an ally of Bush, is hoping that Australian voters follow historical precedent, in which they have voted incumbent parties out of office in just four of twenty-three elections in the postwar era.