The Los Angeles Times leads with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s assurance that the Fed would take some unspecified action to stabilize U.S. financial markets if they continued to flounder in the wake of the subprime lending market’s recent collapse. In a separate but related measure, President Bush announced that help is on the way for those Americans swamped in mortgage debt—a story that both the New York Timesand USA Today anticipated yesterday.
The NYT leads and the Wall Street Journal (at least online) tops its world-wide news box with news that Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, is expected to resign his Senate seat today, in the wake of controversy surrounding his arrest for soliciting sex in a men’s washroom at the Minneapolis airport. The Washington Post off-leads Craig and leads with news that Sen. John Warner, R-Va., will retire when his fifth term of office expires in 2008.
While Bernanke emphasized that individual investors ultimately bore the responsibility for their own decisions, he tacitly admitted that the “eat your liver” school of thought wasn’t necessarily good economic policy—an unforeseen reversal from a man who disapproves of the way that his predecessor, Alan Greenspan, wielded rate cuts like a magic wand. Many observers feel the bailout will involve a federal funds rate cut by mid-September.
Meanwhile, President Bush said that some borrowers who are unable to make payments on their subprime mortgages will soon be able to refinance into government-insured loans. The proposal drew praise from both sides of the aisle, although some criticized it as a measure that offered too little and came too late. “It’s a Band-Aid, and not a very big one at that,” said one economist.
Craig’s resignation was prompted by what the NYT calls the Republican leadership’s “almost unheard of campaign” to force him to step down. “We have learned we have to move quickly,” said one Senate official. Although many of Craig’s allies in Idaho refused to judge his actions, national Republican leaders took a very narrow stance, calling Craig’s behavior “unforgivable” and mentioning possible ethics hearings, while privately threatening to withhold support for his re-election campaign. Although the White House did not directly intervene in the situation, there’s no question that the administration is pleased that it was handled swiftly. Craig continues to deny any wrongdoing.
The NYT piece notes the Senate’s failure to censure Sen. David Vitter, R-La., for patronizing a D.C. prostitution ring—and although it’s not made explicit, the comparison is obviously meant to imply a senatorial double standard for heterosexual misconduct and homosexual misconduct. Idaho’s Republican governor, C.L. Otter, informally known as “Mr. Tight Jeans” amongst Boise’s coffeewits, will name Craig’s replacement soon; possible candidates include Lt. Gov. James Risch and Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne.
Sen. Warner’s announcement, which was not precipitated by any restroom-related misconduct, has Democrats salivating at the prospect of picking up another Senate seat in this traditionally red state that has rapidly been turning blue. Mark Warner, the state’s Democratic former governor, has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the left; Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., seems likely to go after the GOP nomination. Both parties paid homage to the 80-year-old Warner, casting him as the embodiment of “bipartisanship, courtesy and generosity.”
The WSJ fronts news that mysterious Democratic donor Norman Hsu, who was arrested Friday on long-pending grand-theft charges, is also being investigated by the Justice Department for possible campaign finance violations. Hsu has already contributed a substantial sum to the presidential campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y; Clinton said that all of Hsu’s contributions will be donated to charity.
In a statement released to the press after a strategy session held at the Pentagon, President Bush accused the Iraq war’s opponents of politicizing their criticisms and asked them to withhold judgment until the congressionally mandated official assessment of the surge is released in September, the NYT reports below the fold. “Congress asked for this assessment, and members of Congress should withhold judgment until they have heard it,” said Bush. The Post goes inside with this story and focuses its coverage on the Pentagon meeting.
Everyone notes White House Press Secretary Tony Snow’s resignation. “I ran out of money,” said Snow, who denied that his exit was related to his struggles with colon cancer. Deputy Dana Perino will assume Snow’s position.
Despite previous indications that he would sever all ties to Pakistan’s army before the upcoming presidential elections, Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf plans to remain in uniform for the duration of his re-election campaign, the NYT reports. Musharraf will, however, resign from the army in time for parliamentary elections in January—a move that party insiders claim has no connection to the power-sharing agreement allegedly brokered between Musharraf and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
The Post fronts a feature on how entrepreneurs are vying to develop the next big alternative energy source. One invention hopes to harness the power of the sea by establishing “wave parks” at selected off-shore locations; another uses large mirrors to focus solar energy for heating and turbine purposes—a scheme that sounds suspiciously similar to the main villain’s plot in Die Another Day.
The LAT goes below the fold with a profile of Mexican President Felipe Calderon, “a short man with big ambitions.” Those ambitions include ending drug violence, eliminating governmental corruption, revising his country’s ineffective taxation system, and reading at least one profile of himself that doesn’t mention his diminutive stature.
Sure, Mark Zuckerberg might be the one on the Newsweek cover, but is this guy the actual founder of Facebook, the popular social networking utility?
The LAT fronts a balanced feature on the controversy surrounding a proposed mining project that threatens to destroy Alaska’s fishing industry.
Zelig.com: The NYT inexplicably fronts a feature on a Google engineer who is known for having his photograph taken with the various celebrities who visit Google headquarters. Tan Chade-Meng, who has been photographed with everybody from Madeleine Albright to Wavy Gravy, is “a geeky fellow with a big smile who is a household name only in his own household.” Although the pictures are cute, TP sort of wishes he would have stayed that way.