The Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal’s world-wide newsbox, and USA Todayall lead with the resignation of White House Chief of Staff Andy Card, who’ll be succeeded by current budget chief Josh Bolten, another longtime presidential loyalist. The Los Angeles Timesfronts the resignation but leads with the Israeli elections, where the centrist Kadima Party—created by Ariel Sharon and now led by acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert—has won a smaller than expected plurality.
Card served five years, and there have long been murmurings he wanted, oh, say, to spend more time with family; the president of course has also been under pressure to shake up his staff. Citing “aides,” the NYT says “Bush made the final decision last weekend at Camp David.” The Journal dubs the swap “at most a mild change.” And USAT and the LAT both emphasize a (very) few Republicans saying it isn’t enough. “Josh is a good guy—just not what this White House needs. They need a renovation, not just a new front doo r,” one “senior Republican” told the LAT.
The NYT is agnostic on the possibility of further shake-ups, but the Post—citing those ever-helpful “aides”—says “Bush is strongly considering adding one or two well-known Republicans.”
In one of the lowest turnouts in Israeli history—still, 63 percent of eligible voters—the prime minister’s party won 28 seats in the 120-seat parliament, about a dozen fewer than had been projected before Ariel Sharon’s stroke and slightly less than the half the number needed for a majority. The left-leaning Labor came in second with 20 seats and is likely to be a big player in the coming coalition. The biggest loser in the elections was the right-leaning Likud, which placed fifth with just 11 seats.
The Post fronts a U.N. agency saying about 25,000 Iraqis have fled their homes since last month’s bombing of a Shiite shrine. “I definitely wouldn’t say the displacement has peaked,” said a U.N. official. “It’s continuous.” An Iraqi government count put the number at closer to 32,000.
The NYT goes big with Shiite politicians saying U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad warned them over the weekend that President Bush doesn’t want Prime Minister Jaafari to stay on the job. The LAT goes inside with a similar story but actually gets confirmation from a U.S. official. In any case, given Khalilzad’s previous comments, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Meanwhile, about 20 people were kidnapped in Baghdad, most by men in Iraqi army uniforms. Another dozen men were found executed. And two GIs were killed in separate attacks.
The NYT fronts and others tease the Supreme Court hearing a challenge to the Gitmo tribunals; a majority of justices seemed less-than-sympathetic to the government’s assertion that it can try the detainees however it darn well pleases, thank you. Five of the justices—including key swinger Anthony Kennedy—also did not take kindly to the administration’s argument that the recently passed Detainee Treatment Act strips the court of jurisdiction over any habeas cases detainees have filed, including the one they were hearing yesterday. Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick was particularly impressed with the administration’s arguments: “There is almost no question for which the government cannot find a circular answer.”
The LAT fronts the first of a two-part investigation showing an EPA study concluding a few years ago that a chemical—trichloroethylene, or TCE—that has contaminated loads of groundwater is more dangerous than previously thought. The EPA began to consider tighter standards for exposure to TCE, at which point the Pentagon—one-time heavy TCE users—lobbied, the White House backed them, and the tighter regs withered.
USAT notes that the Department of Homeland Security is doing a fine job of … losing its managers. The department is “hemorrhaging on the front lines and higher up,” said one analyst. Among the currently open spots are the heads of the divisions for cyber-security, for technology, and for disaster response. Surveys have consistently ranked the department among the worst to work at.
The WP notes inside that the Senate rejected a bipartisan bid to create an independent office to investigate ethics abuses. The bill was killed 67 to 30.
It is? USAT’s chief-of-staff-swap story suggests the move is unlikely to result in much change. Then it mentions, “The Bush White House already is known for its discipline and managerial skill.”