Today's Papers

Oh No She Didn’t!

The Washington Post leads with Hillary Clinton sticking her foot in her mouth big time by mentioning the June 1968 assassination of Robert Kennedy as a reason she’s not ending her nearly hopeless campaign for the Democratic nomination. The other papers front or tease the story as well. The Los Angeles Times leads with a new poll indicating that California voters favor Barack Obama over Republican John McCain in a general election. The New York Times leads with the sentencing of 270 illegal immigrants rounded up in a raid on an Iowa meatpacking plant.

Hillary Clinton apologized for her assassination statement within hours of making it. The WP emphasizes the notion that the morbid remark undercuts speculation that Clinton wants to wind up on a joint ticket with Obama. The NYT credits the New York Post for first reporting the gaffe and notes the speed with which outraged comments piled up on the Internet. The Times also notices that Clinton made almost this exact same statement to Time magazine back in March.

The significance of the LAT’s poll is that California voters like Obama much more than Clinton when it comes to beating McCain, when just four months ago Clinton defeated Obama in the California primary. The Democratic candidate has won the state in each of the last four general presidential elections.

The NYT calls the sentencing of the 270 immigrants to five-month prison terms a sharp, message-sending escalation of the Bush administration’s crackdown on illegal workers. The criminal prosecution represents a departure from immigration officials’ usual practice of detaining and quickly deporting suspected illegal immigrants using civil statutes. The convictions, doled out in trailers and a converted dance hall on a fairground, were obtained by the feds with what critics call “unusually speedy” plea agreements. The meatpacking plant has been nailed before with repeated sanctions for worker safety violations.

John McCain’s doctors say he’s healthy, the papers report. Right in its lede, the LAT treats readers to colon polyps, kidney cysts, and stones floating around in McCain’s bladder. Doctors say there is no evidence for recurrence of the melanoma skin cancer that required surgical attention in 2000. Digging through the 1,173 pages of medical records made available to reporters for three hours by the campaign yesterday, the NYT finds a discrepancy between pathologists’ findings and doctors’ public statements about the the candidate’s melanoma those eight years ago. The Times also reports that doctors said a surgery scar on McCain’s face is 6 by 6centimeters, “a size not previously disclosed.”

The WP off-leads word that growing global prosperity is diminishing the role of the International Monetary Fund with developing nations, forcing the fund to become more adviser than lender. The Post says the new trend is the largest upheaval for the IMF since the fall of the Berlin Wall. A senior Ghana liaison to the fund likens the situation to a parent finally recognizing that a child is mature enough to make his or her own decisions.

The Chinese government’s rush to dispose of dead bodies in the aftermath of the May 12 earthquake is compounding the agony of survivors who lost loved ones, says a Page One NYT story. More than 60,000 people have died; corpses are being burned or buried in mass graves, leaving little chance for identification and little time for traditional Chinese reverence of the dead.

Turmoil in Zimbabwe continues: The LAT reports that Robert Mugabe’s ruling party will cling to power regardless of what happens in the upcoming runoff election. Rights organizations say violence directed at opposition leaders is way worse than it was in 2000 and 2002 elections.

The Wall Street Journal reports that would-be Democratic convention delegates are campaigning hard for the privilege of a “no-expenses-paid trip to Denver,” where they will cast their predetermined vote for the candidate of their jurisdiction’s choice at the convention this summer. In Colorado, 2,000 people are running for 48 seats, way up from the several hundred who ran in 2004.

New York City is getting readying plans for a “rapid-organ-recovery” ambulance, reports the NYT. The ambulance will be dispatched in hopes of quickly saving good organs when a donor dies. Some people find the plan unseemly; a Boston bioethicist calls it “disgusting.”

The NYT fronts word that, with “[t]eeth [g]ritted,” Americans are learning to live with high gas prices. AAA reports a 1 percent decline in driving this year, the government estimates the first drop in demand for gasoline in 17 years, and the Transportation Department says that last March Americans drove 11 billion fewer miles than in March 2007. The photo accompanying of the story shows a woman walking past a California gas station sign. The woman’s mouth is closed, but it really looks like she’s gritting those teeth.

The WSJ wants you to know that 11th grade is really tough on high-school kids. With all those tests and things to do to impress colleges, junior year has become “a crucible of academic pressure” like never before. Some parents are actually urging their teenagers to work less and play more!