Today's Papers

Karl’s Bad

Citing “Republican sources familiar with White House deliberations,” the Washington Post’slead says some of Karl Rove’s co-workers think he needs to go. The New York Timesleads with the Iraqi government’s public invitation for former Saddam-era junior officers to come back to the army. The government has been letting former officers back in for more than a year, which is probably why the other papers devote only a few lines to the announcement. The Times acknowledges the previous overtures but argues that the public nature of the invite marks a big ramp-up in the effort to bring Sunni officers back into the fold. The Los Angeles Timesleads with more results from its recent poll, this time emphasizing that a slight majority of respondents in California support a proposition that would require minors who want abortions to first tell their parents. USA Todayleads with bad news for its readers: Airfares for Thanksgiving time are up 15 percent from last year.

Some “top White House aides,” says the WP, have argued that the president won’t be able to move beyond the leak case so long as Rove sticks around. “You can not have that [fresh] start as long as Karl is there,” said a “GOP strategist who has discussed the issue with top White House officials.” About 20 paragraphs down, the paper explains that the Rove “discussions,” such as they are, have been “informal” and involve “people inside and outside the White House.”

The Post’s leadalso sees evidence that prosecutors are still circling Rove: They called the attorney for Time’s Matt Cooper and went over calls his client had with Rove. Anyway, the most intriguing part of the story is the part that’s not in the paper: Who is trying to shank Rove by blabbing to the Post?

The Scooter Libby indictment refers to an “Official  A” who offered up Plame’s identity to two reporters. As today’s Post points out, “White House colleagues say Rove is clearly ‘Official A.’ ” Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter says that means Rove violated a Clinton-era directive barring such disclosures. It’s not a law, but the order stipulates that anybody who violates it should have their security clearance revoked, a punishment a few Clinton-era officials faced.

A piece inside the NYT reminds that White House spokesman Scott McClellan has been “unwilling or unable” to retract his previous assurances that Rove wasn’t involved in the leak. The Times also gives this peek into the WH’s operations: The Plame “case is almost never discussed openly among senior officials. … It is unclear to anyone except Mr. Bush’s very inner circle, if to them, how much the president knows about the investigation, what he was told by Mr. Rove and Mr. Libby and what role Mr. Cheney played in the events.”

The Wall Street Journal tops its world-wide newsbox with deaths in Iraq: About 20 civilians were killed by a bomb outside a Shiite mosque south of Baghdad. Another 10 Iraqis were killed in two other bombings. The Pentagon also announced the deaths of six troops, including two Marines who died when their attack helicopter was apparently shot down.

Citing residents of one Iraqi town, the Post mentions that about 20 people were killed late yesterdayby two U.S. airstrikes. “The people gathered to rescue people whose house was bombed in the first strike,” said one neighbor. “A short time after they gathered, another plane came and bombed the house again, killing most of them.”

The Postand NYT both flip through Judge Alito’s rulings and back up what a WP op-ed asserted earlier this week: Alito tends to have narrow interpretations of civil rights laws. As the Post puts it, the Supreme Court nominee “repeatedly has set a higher bar than his fellow judges for plaintiffs to prove that they were discriminated against.”

The Post’s off-lead previews some of the domestic cuts congressional Republicans are contemplating. The WP focuses on a proposal that would trim about 300,000 people from food stamp programs. That’s in the House bill, but not in the Senate version, so it’s no sure thing. And as the Journal flags, some moderate Republicans are warning they’re not down with the cuts. A Post editorial flags another area facing cuts: student loans.

In the only coverage that TP sees of it, the NYT picks up on the military acknowledging that a top al-Qaida suspect, Omar al-Faruq, escaped from a U.S. jail in Afghanistan this summer. Faruq is believed to have been a point man for al-Qaida in Southeast Asia. He was also scheduled to testify in a court-martial against a guard who allegedly abused prisoners.

Yesterday, TP questioned the Post’sdecision to abide by government requests and not out the “Eastern European democracies” that are hosting secret CIA prisons. Today, the Financial Times—with an assist by Human Rights Watch—names names: Romania and Poland