Today's Papers

Marcia Mellows

USA Today

and the Washington Post lead with the grand jury appearance of Monica’s mom. But to the New York Times and Los Angeles Times there’s something much sexier than the presidential love Jones–the Dow Jones. The NYT lead reports that American households have more of their fortunes invested in the stock market than at any time in the last 50 years, and maybe ever.

USAT reports that Marcia Lewis (nee Lewinsky) is due back in the grand jury room today after being compelled to answer questions yesterday about her daughter’s relationship with President Clinton. The paper reports that according to some people in the know, Lewis was “aware of a relationship between Lewinsky and the president.” Also, that Lewis was aware her daughter was “infatuated” with Clinton. Lewinsky is scheduled to appear before the same grand jury later this week. And the dailies all quote her lawyer’s comment that she will testify if his attempts to quash the grand jury subpoena are unsuccessful. “She has,” says William Ginsburg, “no intention of falling on her sword.” Note to Ginsburg: ixnay on the sword metaphors.

The WP adds that Lewis was privy to Lewinsky’s taped account of her relationship with Clinton, and that her reaction to her daughter’s attempt to conceal it from outsiders was, “What’s the big deal? So she lied and convinced someone else to lie.” The paper effortlessly ticks off several of the scandal’s other new poontangents: a federal judge’s denial of Clinton’s request for a speed-up of the Paula Jones case, another federal judge’s allowing Kenneth Starr to get his hands on a sealed deposition made by the allegedly lipstick-smeared and disheveled Oval Office visitor Kathleen Willey, and the turn-over to Starr of boxes of Jones case materials about yet other women thought linked to Clinton.

But the Post goes a bit overboard with 120-plus words on an alleged conversation between Lewis and Lewinsky’s former White House supervisor that reveal nothing about the conversation except that it lasted less than five minutes and was not confrontational. The NYT does a little better, saying the discussion was Mom’s inquiry into why Monica was transferred out of the White House. The Post blind-sources this episode, while the NYT credits it by name to Lewis’ fianc,.

None of the papers’ accounts addresses a natural question: If spouses can’t be compelled to testify against each other, how come a mother (especially one who’s apparently her child’s “closest confidante”) can be compelled to testify against a daughter? Why, in the law, is water thicker than blood?

The Wall Street Journal recently caught a lot of hell for its ultimately retracted story that a White House steward had told the Starr grand jury the president had been alone with Ms. Lewinsky. Well, on today’s WP front, a retired Secret Service agent is saying the same thing.

The possible Iraq attack takes a number and waits. Yes, it gets the off-lead at USAT and a spot on the NYT front. However, at the WP, the Secretary of Defense’s various burnoose conferences slip to page 23. But “Titanic“‘s 14 Oscar nominations are front page at the Post and LAT.

The WSJ reports that, thus far, CBS’ Winter Olympic ratings are about 17 percent below what was promised to advertisers, raising the prospect of expensive givebacks to them.

An FOTP sends along this AP dispatch from that ex-midshipwomen’s murder trial: “On Monday, jurors in the trial appeared bored or puzzled by the defense team’s tactic of presenting a number of witnesses.” Hmmm.what were they expecting?

The NYT scrupulously corrects a prior misstatement of the words making up the acronym of the James Bond nemesis organization “SPECTRE.” Which is particularly odd given the frequency with which Times readers are left seriously confused about many of the paper’s more significant alleged redemptions and original sins. Here’s a tip, though: “failure to attribute phrasing” means “plagiarism.”