After a lot of consensus lately, the majors go their separate ways today. USA Today leads with the defection to the U.S. of the North Korean ambassador to Egypt. The Washington Post goes with some new details about Al Gore's White House phone fund-raising. The New York Times leads with a Senate bill that would significantly cut into the legal rights and funds of Indian tribes. And the Los Angeles Times leads with the governor's proposal for providing health care coverage for the children of California's working poor.
USAT reports that the defections of the North Korean ambassador and his wife and brother were "daring, synchronized" and that the couple's son disappeared from Cairo a year ago and is believed to be in Canada. The NYT describes the move as an "intelligence bonanza" for the U.S., pointing out that the ambassador was familiar with his government's sales of missiles and other arms to Egypt, Syria and Iran.
When the WP broke the story earlier this year of Al Gore's White House telemarketing, Gore's press conference in response was a salute to legalese and flop sweat. No wonder, according to today's Post, which, based on documents possessed by Senate investigators, reveals that between November 1995 and May 1996, Gore spoke to at least 46 people from his White House office to solicit individual contributions to the DNC of between $25,000 and $100,000. The 46 contributed almost $3.7 million in unregulated "soft money."
According to the Post, some wrongs have already been set right in the matter: The DNC has agreed to reimburse the U.S. Treasury for $24.20 worth of calls that Gore apparently made but which do not appear on his credit card records.
The NYT lead covers a conflict between Washington State's Sen. Slade Gorton and Native Americans over two riders Gorton got attached to a federal spending bill (full of provisions favored by the Clinton administration) that would strip tribes of their current immunity from most lawsuits and would also subject federal aid to tribes to means-testing. The piece says that what's driving all this is the perception that tribes are getting rich off casino gambling. "I find nothing in any Indian treaty," the story quotes Gorton as saying, "that says they must be continuously supported by the federal taxpayers." It also quotes "the only Indian in the Senate" (apparently "Native American" is not in the Times style book) Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, as saying the bills would only be passed "over my dead body."
The Times also reports that Kenneth Starr has subpoenaed publisher Wm. Morrow & Co. for records relating to a book being written by former Clinton intimate Webster Hubbell. Morrow will fight this in court starting today. The lawyer representing Morrow describes the breadth of the subpoena this way: "You might as well connect the modem between Morrow's editor and Mr. Starr's office."
By now the drum beat of welfare reform stories has no doubt made it clear that the dole is shrinking from Alabama to Wyoming. Well, today's WP points out Hawaii isn't part of the trend--there, welfare rolls are up 36 percent. The Post says it's because of a stagnant state economy and a welfare system still needing an overhaul. Maybe another reason is that when the weather is perfect and you're five minutes from the beach, you don't feel like working.
According to the Wall Street Journal's "Tax Report," the "Schedule D that investors filed this year had only 23 lines, plus a 13-line worksheet in the instructions. The new Schedule D probably will have about 56 lines, says an IRS official, including a worksheet of more than 30 lines that will be part of the form itself."
Maureen Dowd's column in the Times reports that the good liberal Democrats at Universal have come up with a way to justify trying to make a killing with the upcoming movie "Primary Colors" while still staying Lincoln-Bedroom-close to the First Couple. The movie, goes the studio line, "is certainly not based on the Clintons. It's based on the book."