Today's Papers

He’s Going to the Long Bomb … YES!

The Los Angeles Times and USA Today lead with President Clinton’s call for ratification of a comprehensive nuclear test ban. The New York Times leads with the imminent return–under very tight regulations–of the approved use of thalidomide. And the Washington Post goes with Clinton’s first comments about his 1996 fund-raising activities since Janet Reno announced she was taking a look at them that might lead to an independent counsel.

Clinton’s advocacy of the test ban came during his speech yesterday at the United Nations. USAT reminds readers that Clinton was the first leader in the world to sign the treaty a year ago, and says his position sets the stage for a confrontation with congressional Republicans. Additionally, the paper points out that in his speech, Clinton also promised that the United States would pay off the bulk of the $1.5 billion in back dues it owes the United Nations, and supported a special international court to prosecute crimes against humanity.

The LAT lead about Clinton’s U.N. appearance covers the same basic material, but also has some good background on the test-ban treaty, stating that the chief domestic-policy obstacle to a ban since Eisenhower first sought one is the fear that the United States cannot maintain its nuclear deterrent without testing. The paper points out that Clinton is trying to address the former problem by ensuring that a $4.5-billion annual nontest-explosion research program will adequately maintain the nation’s nuke stockpile. The WP and NYT put their coverage inside. The Times has the detail that the ban may take a long time to go into effect because the 44 countries believed to have some sort of nuclear capability would have to approve it first. It’s amazing to live in a world where that number doesn’t make the front page.

The WP reports that Clinton said yesterday that he and Vice President Gore “believed we were acting within the letter of the law” when raising funds for the ‘96 campaign. This is contrasted with the stronger position taken earlier this year. One main reason for the softening, says the paper, is that Clinton doesn’t want to appear to be pressuring Reno. Another is that if Reno finds an infraction did occur, the issue may well shift to the question of Clinton’s (and Gore’s) intent when soliciting contributions. The NYT piece on Clinton’s response makes the same main points, and has the same explanatory quote from him, but juxtaposes this with an interview with Sen. Fred Thompson, in which he says his panel’s investigation ultimately would demonstrate the need for an independent counsel.

The Wall Street Journal, in its front-page business and finance news box, reports that on Monday, the FTC sharply criticized the proposed national tobacco settlement, concluding that the cigarette makers could reap big profits that far exceed the penalties the pact imposes on them. The FTC stand, says the Journal, strengthens the hand of President Clinton and others who want a tougher tobacco settlement.

A hearty “No Duh!” goes out to the LAT for its headline over today’s installment of the paper’s series on political fund raising: “Where Big Donors Tread, Big Favors Seem to Follow.”

In an NYT op-ed, Erika Niedowski, a reporter for the inside-the-Beltway newsletter the Hill, points out that several lawmakers who sit on the Thompson fund-raising investigating committee have themselves paid stiff fines for violating state and federal election laws.

The Post covers the opening of the Marv Albert trial on the front page (it’s taking place in nearby suburban Virginia). The headline reads “Marv Albert Trial Opens With Graphic Descriptions,” and indeed, there is mention of (allegations of) three-way sex, oral sex, bite marks on the woman’s back, and semen in her underwear. One thing that is not mentioned, however, is the woman’s name. She is cited in the article merely as a “41-year-old Vienna [Va.] woman.” The NYT follows the same practice in its trial coverage, which is inside the paper, differing only in saying that the woman is 42. Fair?