The New York Times leads with word that military prosecutors are finally getting ready to bring charges against conspirators in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Charges will be filed in the military commission system at Guantanamo Bay against six detainees held there. The Washington Post leads with analysis of the linked fates of John McCain and George W. Bush, who have "forged a powerful bond" as the two leading proponents of the Iraq war. The Los Angeles Times leads locally with a corruption case against an Orange County sheriff; the LAT's top national story wonders if the Democratic nomination will be decided by "super delegates" instead of voters. The Wall Street Journal also fronts confusion over the Democratic primary, focusing on the prospect of Florida and Michigan putting on new elections after holding early primaries in violation of party rules. The WSJ tops its world-wide newsbox with the Democratic primaries in four states this weekend.
The case against the 9/11 conspirators could fulfill the Bush administration's longstanding goal of establishing culpability for the 2001 terrorist attacks, the NYT says. The case could bring justification for holding terror suspects at Guantanamo but also scrutiny of the military commission system, which does not provide the same protections as American courts. Some of the prosecutions could be in trouble because several of the putative defendants, including top Osama Bin Laden aide Khalid Sheikh Mohammed,suffered torturous interrogation techniques such as water-boarding. The story, sourced by anonymous government officials, says prosecutors have not decided exactly what the charges will be.
McCain needs Bush to rally conservatives and reunite the party, and Bush needs McCain to continue the war in Iraq and justify his decision to invade, reports the WP. The Bush-McCain partnership will be an easy target for liberals, who can portray a McCain presidency as a third Bush term. The NYT off-leads a story that also stresses Bush's role as a unifier of the GOP in the upcoming election, the man who can help remind Republicans that their chief beef is with soft-on-terror Democrats.
The big story in today's WP is a lengthy feature on horribly wounded Iraqi children finding care and refuge in Jordan after being failed by Iraq's inadequate hospital services. The story profiles several children's cases in great detail and offers lots of photos.
Venezuelans are getting a little sick of Hugo Chávez, reports the NYT. Food shortages and violent crime are eroding support for the once-unstoppable Chávez, though he remains Venezuela's most powerful political figure. Anti-Chávez graffiti is popping up in Caracas, and opposition parties are fielding candidates for regional elections, abandoning their previous boycott policy.
UCLA researchers are scanning teenage smokers' brains and killing monkeys with liquid nicotine as part of an addiction study funded with $6 million from tobacco giant Philip Morris, according to a front-page LAT story. Right from the start, animal rights activists began vandalizing the house of the study's lead professor, who insists the research will save lives by providing a better understanding of addiction.
Dick Cheney wants the Supreme Court to overturn Washington, D.C.'s gun ban, the WP reports. Cheney abandoned the stance of the Bush administration, which wants the case returned to a lower court, and joined a majority of members of Congress by signing a brief asking the Supreme Court to find the ban unconstitutional. To do so, Cheney invoked his status as the president of the U.S. Senate, something he's done before.
Apropos of not much, the NYT takes a look at Barack Obama's drug use as a youngster, noting that Obama admitted in his 1995 memoir that he used "reefer" and talked about "getting high." The NYT conducted more than three dozen interviews but did not come up with anything particularly juicy—Obama's former classmates recall that the senator from Illinois hardly partied at all. They were unfamiliar with anecdotes in his memoir, causing the NYT to speculate that perhaps Obama made his life story more dramatic with some "writerly touches." Is Obama a mild version of James Frey?
In his State of the Union address, President Bush called on Congress to allow U.S. troops to transfer education benefits to family members. But he included no funding for such an initiative when he submitted his federal budget a Congress a week later, reports the WP. The idea made it into late drafts of the speech, leaving little time to vet it, according to anonymous administration officials. The idea is nonetheless generating bipartisan interest in Congress.
The WSJ fronts the love story of a lifelong "goody two shoes" and the man she helped escape from prison. The story is thoroughly reported and offers lots of intimate details about the courtship and the escape. Online, the reporter shares an interesting anecdote about how he gained the trust of his sources.
What's he building in there? Jimmy Carter makes lots of wooden furniture in his garage, according to a Page One WSJ story. He does his woodwork as a break from writing, and he auctions his homemade chairs, tables, chests, cases, and beds for six-figure sums.