The Los Angeles Times leads with the violence in Haiti, where at least 41 people have been killed as a revolt against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has spread to a dozen towns and cities. The Washington Post leads with the Army’s announcement that it will encourage soldiers to stay at one base for most of their careers rather than move around, as has been the tradition. Analysts said the change, if done right, will increase unit cohesion and help military families stay together. USA Today and the Wall Street Journal’s world-wide newsbox (online, at least) lead with the White House’s forecast of 2.6 million new jobs this year. The paper notes that last month the economy added 112,000 jobs, about half rate the White House is projecting. The jobs numbers “are at the high end of a plausible range,” one economist told the Journal. USAT notes that the White House’s estimate last year was off by about 1.8 million jobs. The New York Times leads with a campaign round-up saying that Sen. John Edwards and Wesley Clark are “struggling to block” Sen. John Kerry from winning in Virginia and Tennessee today. Citing some Clark supporters, the Times suggests the former general will drop out if he loses both states.
The LAT notes that Aristide, who’s become increasingly antidemocratic, will have a hard time quelling the revolt since Haiti doesn’t have an army. The paper notes that at least some of the violence has been carried out by “pro-government gangs.”
Everybody mentions that Howard Dean said he’ll now stay in the race even if loses Wisconsin next Tuesday. Dean said he changed his position after supporters begged him to stick around. Apparently it was a midday thing: In the morning, Dean told cheesehead voters that his campaign was over if Kerry won the primary, and by afternoon was saying he’s in it for the long haul.
The Post and NYT both front word that the investigation into the apparent outing of a CIA agent by an administration official is heating up, and investigators have now taken testimony from top White House officials including Karl Rove, spokesman Scott McClellan and, in what seems to be the focus, some of Vice President Cheney’s aides.
Both leak stories have interesting tidbits. The Times says some in the White House have been informed that they’re “subjects” of the investigation. (Apparently, that’s a legal term meant to suggest you’re in deeper water than a “witness” but less than a “target.”) The Post says investigators have phone logs “indicating that several White House officials talked to columnist Robert D. Novak shortly before” he penned his article officially outing the CIA agent. The Post also notes that the FBI says it’s closing in on whoever forged the uranium documents that started the whole kerfuffle.
In a front-page interview with the NYT, Pakistani leader Gen. Pervez Musharraf acknowledged that he long suspected his country’s top nukes scientist was hawking technology but insisted it wasn’t until recently that he had specific enough information to go after the guy. At one point, Musharraf seemed to say that politics might have played a part. “It was extremely sensitive,” he said. “One couldn’t outright start investigating as if he’s any common criminal.” The Times suggests—as have many others have—that Pakistan’s military at the least turned a blind eye to the scientist’s sales: “General Musharraf seemed to have few answers about how Dr. Khan operated freely in a country where the nuclear arsenal is considered its greatest single asset.”
President Bush has said that questions about his National Guard service are obviously baseless since he was honorably discharged. Post columnist Richard Cohen is skeptical, and he seems be in a position to know:
During the Vietnam War, I was what filmmaker Michael Moore would call a “deserter.” Along with President Bush and countless other young men, I joined the National Guard, did my six months of active duty (basic training, etc.) and then returned to my home unit, where I eventually dropped from sight. In the end, just like President Bush, I got an honorable discharge.