Today's Papers

Coming in on a Right Wing and a Prayer

USA Today

, the Washington Post, and the New York Times lead with George W. Bush’s decisive wins in the Virginia, Washington, and North Dakota primaries, which is also the top item in the Wall Street Journal front-page news box. The Los Angeles Times off-leads Bush, going instead with the first look at the LAPD’s own internal report on its corruption scandal, which concludes that the department has repeatedly failed to address problems in officer recruiting and supervision that directly led to the scandal’s outrages. The paper says the report paints an even more damning picture of the LAPD than the one issued after the Rodney King beating.

The coverage consensus is that particularly in Virginia, Bush prevailed on the strength of registered Republicans, conservatives, and conservative Christians. The WP also notes the strong support of women. The paper says that exit-polled Virginia voters describing themselves as conservatives went for Bush 2-1, while among conservative Christians, the ratio was 6-1. Even so, the NYT says self-described religious conservatives were less crucial for Bush in Virginia than they had been in South Carolina.

The WP says the Virginia results show McCain was mistaken to denounce Pat Robertson and other conservative evangelicals and to criticize the state’s most popular Republican leaders. The papers report McCain saying the Virginia loss shows that his opponent has a “Southern strategy,” meaning, explains the NYT, that Bush doesn’t have truly national appeal.

There is nothing on the early edition WP front about the Democratic race, but the NYT goes above the fold with Al Gore’s no-delegate 72 percent to 27 percent win over Bill Bradley in Washington state.

A front-page LAT story reports that the paper’s latest poll shows both Gore and Bush to have commanding leads in the delegate races in next week’s California primaries. In a tally of all voters regardless of party, the poll finds Bush has a slight lead, which, if it held up, could keep, the paper observes, McCain from using California’s “beauty contest” results as showing him to be the better candidate for the general election. Bradley’s California support is said by the paper to have collapsed. An inside WP story reports that according to a Bradley campaign official, several key supporters are urging Bradley to get out of the race “to avoid humiliation” but that he has refused to do so.

Everybody but the NYT fronts yesterday’s fatal shooting in Michigan of a first-grade girl by a boy classmate. (The NYT reefers it.) Apparently, the two had scuffled on the playground on Monday. President Clinton responded by calling once again for mandatory gun locks, saying, says the WP, that the accidental gun death rate among American children is nine times higher than the world’s 25 other largest countries combined. The LAT reefers the arrest in Germany of three American teen-agers, the children of U.S. military personnel, on charges of murdering two motorists by dropping large stones on their cars from a bridge. Everybody else stuffs the story. And the WP fronts Maryland officials’ decision to charge under the state’s new anti-assisted-suicide law a 16-year-old boy who got a handgun for his girlfriend and then watched her kill herself.

The LAT fronts Israel’s release of the journal Adolf Eichmann kept in the months before his execution in Israel in 1962. The document, long kept secret by the Israeli government, has been made public to be used as evidence of the reality of the Holocaust by the defendants in a British libel case. The NYT runs the story inside along with some excerpts provided by the AP. They combine calm descriptions of the horrific with Eichmann’s denial of all responsibility. “I was one of the many horses pulling the wagon and couldn’t escape left or right,” he writes, “because of the will of the driver.” He also writes of a “very secret investigation” he worked on: looking into the religious background of Hitler’s dietitian, who he determined was “one in 32 parts” Jewish. After turning in his report, Eichmann never heard any more about it. The dietician was, he writes, Eva Braun.