The Albright mission to the Middle East leads at the Los Angeles Times and the national edition of the New York Times (the metro edition of the NYT leads with the coming NYC Democratic mayoral run-off). At the Washington Post, it’s tobacco politics that leads and at USA Today, it’s military reform.
The LAT and the NYT differ from each other about Albright. The NYT paints a picture in which the Secretary of State’s statements upon arrival emphasizing security drew criticism from Palestinians, but praise from Israelis. (This is also the tenor of the USAT front-page Albright piece.) In fact, the NYT even says that Prime Minister Netanyahu praised Albright. But the LAT emphasizes instead Netanyahu’s resistance, saying that he “rebuffed” Albright’s “appeal to cease economic restrictions to encourage the Palestinian Authority to crack down on terrorism.”
There is no mention of mideast diplomacy on the WP front, where the lead is the Senate’s repeal yesterday of a $50 billion tax credit for tobacco companies that had been inserted with little fanfare into the budget bill under the prodding of Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott. The vote was 95 for, only three tobacco state senators against, and no senator spoke in favor of the credit.
The USAT lead is the news that in the first major changes since Vietnam, the Army will announce today that it’s expanding basic training from eight to nine weeks, with the extra time being used for lessons on values and mutual respect, especially for women, who now make up 20 percent of recruits. Tougher screening of drill sergeants will also be implemented.
The heat on Al Gore gets turned up another notch as the WP, LAT, and NYT each run above-the-fold front-page pieces detailing how at the Thompson hearings yesterday, an internal memo was produced, apparently signed off on by Gore, that explains that the DNC was routinely dividing all solicited funds into hard (targeted to specific campaigns, highly regulated) and soft (not for specific campaigns, not highly regulated) money accounts regardless of the nature of the actual solicitation. These papers all point out that the memo strongly suggests that Gore knew that the fund-raising calls he made from the White House were at least in part to raise hard money, which he had initially denied–as well he might, since the amounts he apparently raised in those calls exceeded legal limits for hard money.
Incidentally, that memo also has Bill Clinton’s tell-tale left-handed backwards check-mark on it too, which is noted in the Wall Street Journal’s “Politics and Policy” column, which makes the case that Janet Reno’s investigation into whether or not Gore’s fund-raising activities merit an independent counsel’s scrutiny will almost inevitably push her into also investigating Clinton’s role.
A further sign of fallout from the fundraising morass comes with the WP’s front-page revelation that several Asian-Americans with approved White House clearances were initially prevented from entering the grounds because security officials assumed their Asian surnames meant they were foreigners. And double oops–one of the stymied guests was a member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.
Earlier this week, a freshman at Yale, a religious Jew, wrote an NYT op-ed complaining that the casual sex atmosphere of the coed dorms Yale is requiring him to live in meant Yale was forcing him to violate his religious principles. Today’s NYT contains a letter from the Yale Dean, who doesn’t address the op-ed’s charges that in Yale co-ed dorms, students are frequently forced into “sexile” while their roommates are having sex, and that the halls are full of people of the opposite gender in various stages of undress. But the Dean does write, “Yale has a long history of working with students to accommodate their personal values, and we would happily explore accommodation in this case.” “Accommodation” of modesty and abstinence–could you ask for a clearer example of backwards campus values than that?