Today's Papers

The Joe Abides

All the papers lead with Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s first joint appearance as running mates. Biden launched into a “lusty attack” on John McCain, saying he hardly recognized his close friend anymore, while Obama touted Biden’s statesmanship, his working-class roots, and his perseverance against adversity.

The Los Angeles Times calls the event “an odd balancing act”: Biden’s been a senator for 35 years, so Obama had to tweak his message. “He has brought change to Washington, but Washington hasn’t changed him.” A separate LAT profile of Biden states unequivocally that this is actually the case. Biden commutes out of Washington via Amtrak every night, and he eschews most D.C. fundraisers and social events.

The Washington Post leads and a New York Times piece goes inside Obama’s decision-making process. He was skeptical of Biden’s reputed windbaggery, but came around after confidants like Ed Rendell convinced him Biden is a “worker.” Putin’s invasion of Georgia influenced Obama, too. Biden learned about the choice on Thursday night, waiting on his wife’s root canal at the dentist. Evan Bayh, Tim Kaine, and Kathleen Sebelius were the other top-tier contenders. Bill Richardson and Chris Dodd were also vetted.

Which leaves out Hillary. While the WP says Hillary thinks her “experience” argument is vindicated, her backers are angry she was never vetted for veep. Clinton explicitly told Obama not to vet her “unless he was seriously considering her.” It’s now clear he wasn’t, and TP wonders if that will help her keep the dream alive.

John McCain promptly released ads using the Hillary snub and Biden’s past words against Obama.

All of the papers front biographical profiles of Biden, both “the luckiest person” and “the unluckiest person … in the world.” He’s overcome many travails, including the death of his family, a speech impediment, and brain aneurysms.

The one place Biden does raise funds is MBNA, the Delaware credit card company. The NYT says he championed a bankruptcy bill that exacerbated the credit crunch.

The LAT fronts, and the NYT stuffs, Biden’s foreign policy. He’s a liberal internationalist, but also a liberal hawk who advocated force in the Balkans, Darfur, and Iraq—the NYT says Obama wants Biden to challenge his assumptions.

The NYT off-leads a dispatch from the frontlines of the evolution debate. As more states require teachers to explain Darwin, they’re stretching to teach kids without offending their morals.

The WP goes up top with Britain’s remarkable Olympic gold medal haul. Dismal failure in 1997 convinced Parliament to plow cash into sports, and now the U.K. is fourth-best.

The NYT fronts news that America’s economic woes have spread worldwide. U.S. firms may no longer be able to rely on export growth to save their butts.

The WP fronts news that al-Qaida has shifted its fundraising to evade anti-money-laundering efforts. Cells have become largely self-reliant, using scams and drug money to fund “extremely low cost operations.” Based on this information, the WP indicts all post-9/11 efforts to prevent terrorist finance—saying the United States “fundamentally miscalculated.” Hey, if you can’t stop all terrorist finance, why try to stop any?

(Full disclosure: TP writes reports on countering terrorist financing for the government when TP needs cash.)

The NYT goes inside with a study that shows the impact of President Bush’s illegal judge-vetting program. Judges chosen using the litmus tests have disproportionately denied immigrants’ requests for asylum.

The LAT fronts news that almost half of India’s children are malnourished, which may reduce its GPD by 3 percent per year.

The NYT fronts a look at ethnic distrust in Baghdad’s neighborhoods. Security has improved, but not enough that evicted families want to return to their homes.

The LAT fronts news that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan to give all Californian’s health care has foundered due to budget woes—in fact, things are getting worse. Higher premiums will push thousands of children off Medi-Cal next year.

Maybe winning a lot of gold medals will fix this. The NYT reefers a piece about British binge drinking on holiday and its deleterious effects on the United Kingdom’s image. “I think that in their country, they are like prisoners and they want to feel free,” suggests a Greek.