The Bonus Round

The Bonus Round

The Bonus Round

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
Aug. 14 2000 7:48 AM

The Bonus Round

USA Today, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times lead with Democratic convention ramp-up stories, while the Washington Post off-leads the convention and goes instead with a detailed interview with Mexico's President-elect Vicente Fox (speaking fluent English and often invoking corporate buzzwords), which emphasizes his call for a European Union-style partnership among his country, the U.S., and Canada. Fox notes that this could reduce the huge gap between the U.S. and Mexican economies in the same way that the EU has elevated the poorer countries of Europe.

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USAT goes high with tonight's his and her Clinton speeches and a fresh poll indicating that right now Al Gore has more adamant and widespread opposition than either President Bush in 1992 or Bob Dole in 1996 had at a similar point in the election cycle.

The NYT lead, about the Democratic platform, says that it is a broadly centrist doctrine, which, far from bearing a distinctive Gore stamp, warmly embraces the policies of the Clinton administration. A companion piece says polling shows the Democratic delegates are more liberal than the general public or even just Democratic voters.

The LAT lead focuses on Joe Lieberman's repeated attempts yesterday (he appeared on five chat shows) to convince that despite a track record of wanting to influence TV content, of being anti-affirmative-action, and of supporting pro-school-vouchers, he will, if elected as vice president, become allegiant to President Gore's views. But in its inside review of Lieberman's attempts to minimize differences with Gore, the NYT spots another possible distinction in Lieberman's remark that raising the age for Social Security benefits and Medicare coverage should be "kept on the table." The story ends noting the suggestion of another schism--Lieberman demurred when asked if he would place Bill Clinton among the great presidents.

The Lieberman tap dance is the off-lead at the WP. Although the story notes that on his Meet the Press appearance, Lieberman wasn't asked anything about his Judaism until near the end, the paper goes high with moderator Tim Russert's question about how Lieberman would handle the next inaugural, which falls on a Saturday. Lieberman replied by invoking what his mother would say in response: "Sweetheart, we should only have such a problem."

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The story of Dick Cheney's $20 million retirement settlement from the energy services company he's been running for five years, put together by the NYT on Saturday, is showing some legs. Yesterday, the LAT pressed the issue in an interview with George W. Bush and was told by the Republican nominee to "let the experts make the decision as to what's fair." The NYT today says unnamed "senior Democrats" derided Bush for this stance given that the Republican-led Congress resisted increasing the minimum wage. The paper also has a Cheney aide counterspinning that "no one complained about the $200 million compensation package Bob Rubin got" after leaving his Wall Street firm to join the Clinton administration.

The WP continues the papers' zero-in on that Firestone plant in Decatur, Ill., as the main source of those disintegrating tires. The paper's front today declares, relying on Ford data, that the Wilderness brand tires made there failed at 10 times the rate of the same model tires made at all the other plants. The NYT fronts the claim that Firestone has known about failures from the tires leading to injury and property damage since 1997 but didn't share that information with Ford, whose cars bore most of the problematic tires.

Yesterday's coverage had Buchanan Reform running mate Ezola Foster defending Pat B. against charges that he's racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic. Today's WP has PB returning the favor by declaring that Foster's membership in the John Birch Society is not a problem. Although he tells the paper he didn't know about this facet of her past, he also says, "I am not bothered."

Both the WP and NYT quote the following reference by Rob Reiner, on the road with Al Gore, to the Republican ticket: "The other side talks about being the party of diversity and the party of inclusion. ... How do they figure this? This is what I want to know. Unless they define diversity as two guys at the head of the ticket that are from two different oil companies."

Sunday's LAT has one of the great news photos ever, one that you will see time and time again this year. It looks like a publicity still from a Farelly brothers movie, but the beauty part is that it's so totally for real. Seems a man in a complete pig costume was arrested after dumping 4 tons of horse manure outside the Democratic National Committee hotel HQ in L.A. The picture shows the guy being handcuffed by two LAPD officers. One nice touch is that the cops are doing the hook-up with total game faces on. Another is that they left the pig head on the guy while they did this.