Today's Papers

The Long and Winding Road

The New York Times, Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal’s world-wide newsboxlead with the latest from the Democratic presidential race. There was little time to rest after the biggest primary day in history as Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign claimed she came out on top becaues of her victories in big states, while Sen. Barack Obama’s aides pointed to his wins in more states as proof that he was the one who came out ahead. Clinton revealed that she had lent her campaign $5 million in late January and she asked supporters to give $3 million to her campaign over three days. Obama’s campaign gave word that he raised more than $3 million yesterday, on top of the $32 million he had raised in January. The Los Angeles Timesgoes with a two-story lead looking at the reasons behind Clinton’s victory in California and Sen. John McCain’s continuing problems with trying to get the conservative Republican base on his side. Some say the only way McCain can get their support is to pick a very conservative running mate.

USA Todayleads with a dispatch from Mosul, where U.S. troops will probably have more trouble rooting out al-Qaida in Iraq because the militants have apparently learned from their mistakes and are cultivating better relationships with regular citizens. In Mosul, al-Qaida militants warn civilians before bomb attacks and are not enforcing strict Islamic laws, which is a marked contrast with how they acted in other parts of the country. This makes it less likely that the residents of Iraq’s third-largest city would want to join the U.S. military to fight the insurgents.

As Clinton and Obama get ready for the next phase of what will undoubtedly be a long contest for delegates, both campaigns are trying to describe themselves as the underdogs in the battle. But it’s clear that Clinton is losing ground in the battle for dollars, and the papersreport that several members of her campaign staff have agreed to work without pay this month. The NYT points out that Clinton is in a tighter spot financially largely because of “fatigue” among her donors, who have been hit up for money since her Senate re-election campaign in 2006. Still, Obama said yesterday that Clinton had the clear advantage because of her well-known name and a slight edge in superdelegates.

There was probably no sweeter win for Clinton than California. There were predictions that the race would be close but she easily won the state thanks largely to the support of Latinos, who accounted for 30 percent of voters, and women. Obama tried to reach out to Latino voters by emphasizing his support for issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. But some now think Obama’s assumption that Latinos would care deeply about licenses was mistaken and he could have received more traction by talking about education and the economy.

So, who won Tuesday? Depends on who you ask. As USAT notes, there were several different delegate counts going around yesterday because of the complicated formulas used by the Democrats that “could give a certified public accountant a migraine.” The WP cites the Associated Press numbers and says Clinton won 737 delegates yesterday and Obama got 699, with almost 300 still to be awarded. The NYT says Clinton has a slight edge with 892 delegates to Obama’s 716. The WSJ prefers to go with 1,000 delegates for Clinton and 902 for Obama. (Slate’s  Christopher Beam  takes a look at the different numbers.)

Every day that passes seems to bring more questions about whether the Democratic contest will go on until the convention in August. The NYT reports that the party’s chairman, Howard Dean, came out yesterday to say that the candidates should do everything possible to prevent that scenario from materializing. Dean estimated there will be a nominee “in the middle of March or April” and emphasized that if one hasn’t been selected, “then we’re going to have to get the candidates together and make some kind of an arrangement.” What kind of arrangement Dean has in mind that would make either candidate want to drop out of such a long (and expensive) race isn’t clear. Everyone points to the likelihood that the candidates will continue trading victories in the upcoming states as Obama has an edge in the next few contests this month, but Clinton is favored to win more states in March.

Amazingly, the LAT is alone in fronting news that the White House said water-boarding is a legal interrogation tactic and President Bush could authorize its use in the future. The LAT says the statement came as a surprise, particularly since many don’t understand why the adminisration seems eager to open a debate about such a controversial issue it had previously refused to talk about and that many considered closed.

All the papers front a story or picture about the dozens of tornadoes that hit five Southern states and killed at least 55 people. Many expect the death toll to climb in what is being described as the deadliest tornado disaster in nearly a decade.

The WP fronts news that Senate Democrats failed to make progress on their stimulus package that is broader and more expensive than the one that was already approved by the House. After much back-and-forth, Democrats fell one vote short of the 60 needed to advance the bill as most Republicans stood together in opposing the measure. This makes it virtually certain that the House bill will pass Congress, although the Senate might still try to change some provisions in the package.

The NYT goes inside with a look at court documents made public yesterday that make clear the CIA destroyed the interrogation videotapes at a time when a federal judge was still actively seeking information about the interrogation of one of the al-Qaida operatives.

The New York City medical examiner announced yesterday that actor Heath Ledger died of an accidental “abuse of prescription medications.” The combination of six drugs, including painkillers, anti-anxiety medication, a sleeping pill, and an antihistamine, led to “acute intoxication.” Some speculated that perhaps Ledger had become addicted, and the LAT points out the actor had frequently talked about how he used prescription drugs. But, as the WSJ points out, doctors warn that “patients are often woefully unaware of the potential serious consequences of the additive effects of prescription medications.”

The NYT notes that, based on 2007 fund-raising figures, no one got a bigger bang for his buck than Mike Huckabee. The former Arkansas governor won 156 delegates at a cost of approximately $45,000 each. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, spent $654,000 per delegate. But that’s chump change compared with Rep. Ron Paul, who has lined up five delegates at a cost of about $4 million each.