The Los Angeles Times leads with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s decision—via a U.S.-supported resolution—to give North Korea “one more chance” to shut down its nukes program and readmit inspectors. The resolution didn’t give a deadline for Pyongyang to comply, which means the IAEA won’t have to bring the issue before the Security Council anytime soon. The New York Times and USA Today lead with the administration’s proposed tax cut and House Democrats counterproposal. The Dems’ plan would cut taxes by about $136 billion, most of it this year. It includes $55 billion in tax rebates for low- and middle-income workers, $32 billion in cuts for small businesses, and unlike Bush’s plan, no cut in the dividend tax. The Washington Post leads with Saddam’s tough talk. In his most bellicose speech in months, Saddam accused weapons inspectors of being spies and said Iraq is “fully prepared” to do battle. He also called the U.S. “a small midget” and said U.S. officials were “wicked assistants of Satan.” The Post suggests the roaring rhetoric means Saddam has concluded that war is inevitable.
A piece inside USAT says U.S. officials are open to South Korea’s proposed compromise whereby North Korea would shut down its nukes program in return for the U.S. signing a nonaggression pact or at least promising not to attack. (USAT is alone in headlining a possible compromise, even though it seems that everybody else has the same info USAT does.) Meanwhile, as the NYT says up high, Bush said repeatedly yesterday that the U.S. has “no intention of invading North Korea.” The NYT also points out that the administration seems to have backed off its plans to go to the Security Council and push for economic sanctions. Bush demurred, the Times suggests, after “some senior officials warned” that such sanctions might prompt North Korea to attack.
By the way, the LAT’s Web site has the most direct headline on the IAEA’s decision: “PANEL PUTS OFF N. KOREA COMPLAINT.” The Post, by contrast, doesn’t say what’s really going on: “N. KOREA WARNED BY NUCLEAR AGENCY.”
The NYTimes’ piece on the proposed tax cuts gives the White House’s view of things, explaining that Ari Fleischer said the cuts will benefit 92 million Americans. Then it gives the Democrats’ response. But rather than leaving it as a “he said, she said,” the paperchimes in and says, regarding the proposed elimination of the dividend tax, “Bush selected the one proposal that most emphatically benefits a tiny sliver of the nation’s richest households.” The LAT, alone among the papers, gives a front-page headline to Bush’s proposal to create $3,000 “re-employment accounts” for unemployed workers to use to help retrain themselves or find new jobs. Everybody notes that the stock market took off on news of the proposed dividend cuts. The Dow climbed 172 points.
USAT has a quickie poll on the proposed dividend tax cut: Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they support it. Thirty-eight percent said they think they’ll be helped by it.
The Post goes inside with a U.N. report estimating that an invasion of Iraq would create about 2 million refugees and 10 million people in need of emergency food.
The NYT’s wrap-up on North Korea also checks in on some of Bush’s other foreign-policy issues, namely Iraq, and includes this tidbit: Come late January, “Bush plans to make the case, aides say, that the inspectors’ failure to find evidence only proves Mr. Hussein’s cleverness as an adversary.”
Everybody mentions that Israel’s response to Sunday’s attack has been relatively restrained, at least partially due to U.S. pressure. Israel closed three Palestinian universities and barred Palestinian leaders from traveling to a British-sponsored conference in London on reforming the Palestinian Authority.
The NYT fronts word that the GOP picked heavily Democratic New York City to host the 2004 Republican National Convention. An otherwise unnecessary Times editorial, headlined, “NEW YORK, NEW YORK,” concludes, “Republicans obviously hope that if they can make it here, they’ll make it everywhere.”
Although last week most of the papers ran stories (inside) on the five mysterious men that the feds were on the lookout for, nobody seems to pick up on yesterday’s ABC News report that the APB was based on a bogus tip.
The LAT mentions that a number of brush fires have broken out across the L.A. area, including one in Malibu. A woman who evacuated the swank enclave told the paper that everything was OK, “I have an extra leash for my dog, and I have my bikini.”
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