The Washington Post and New York Timeslead with—and the Los Angeles Times fronts as its top nonlocal story—the president lashing out at critics who have questioned the origins of the war. “These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America’s will,” he said Friday during a Veterans Day speech at an Army depot in Pennsylvania. The LAT leads with the paper’s revelations that UCI Medical Center employees and officials knew their liver-transplant candidates were dying as the center turned down many donated organs. The federal government has taken away the program’s certification, and it has been shut down.
Leading Democrats fired back at Bush, accusing him of misleading the public. (After Sen. Ted Kennedy criticized the speech, Scott McClellan told reporters that it was “regrettable that Sen. Kennedy has found more time to say negative things about President Bush than he ever did about Saddam Hussein.”) Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus, in a Page One WP fact-check, note that the administration’s defense—that Congress saw the same intelligence as the White House before the war and that independent commissions have determined the intelligence to have been represented accurately—is not quite true.
For the first time in modern African history, a woman has been elected as the head of state: Liberian voters have chosen Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as their president. With 97 percent of the run-off votes counted Friday, 59 percent of voters had cast their ballots for Johnson-Sirleaf over soccer star George Weah. She is an economist educated at Harvard and a former World Bank official. The Post buries the Liberian election—but focuses on the clashes between U.N. peacekeepers and Weah supporters who alleged that the vote had been rigged.
Jordan interrogated 12 suspects Friday in the Amman bombings. Meanwhile, in their third Internet statement al-Qaida claimed that four Iraqis, including a husband-wife team, were responsible for the attacks. The NYT reports on Jordanians who are blaming Israel for the attacks.
In Baghdad, Condoleezza Rice appealed to Sunnis to vote in upcoming parliamentary elections. Following a meeting with the secretary of state, Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari rejected having some Sunni Arab nationalists with ties to the former regime participate in an upcoming Arab League-sponsored Iraqi reconciliation pow-wow.
The Post fronts a look at the DNC’s fund-raising difficulties. The latest numbers show the Dems losing the fund-raising race to Republicans by nearly 2 to 1.
A Virginia court may issue an injunction on sales and use of BlackBerry devices in the United States, but the federal government has stepped in to ensure that government employees can continue to use their devices if that happens, reports the Wall Street Journal. The court is overseeing a patent battle between the company that manufactures BlackBerrys and a patent firm.
Two full-time Christian ministers from a missionary group are training U.S. Air Force Academy cadets to evangelize among their peers, according to the WP. This despite the controversy over proselytizing at the academy that led to a Pentagon investigation, congressional hearings, a civil lawsuit, and new Air Force guidelines on religion. In a letter to supporters, the missionaries wrote that “we are vitally aware we are in the front lines of a spiritual battle.”
The WP reports on a debate over press freedoms surrounding yet another federal investigation. In July 2004 two AIPAC lobbyists contacted Post reporter Glenn Kessler to pass on information from an anonymous “American intelligence source.” Now the two lobbyists are being charged with mishandling classified information, and some in the media worry that investigators are trying to criminalize conversations between sources and reporters.
You win some, you lose some … The NYT runs a correction on a story it published online Friday. The article “misstated the subject of a comment he [President Bush] made to Matt Lauer of NBC in August 2004, ‘I don’t think you can win it.’ He referred to the war on terror, not the war in Iraq.”