McCain and Obama lay out their strategies for November.

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
May 11 2008 5:19 AM

The General

The Washington Post  leads with an attempted coup in Sudan perpetrated by Darfuri rebels who crossed the desert to attack Karthoum—a story the New York Times does its best to downplay. The NYT lead says Barack Obama and John McCain are already plotting their general-election strategies. Both rely on winning over independents and Latinos. The Los Angeles Times' lede analyzes Obama's political weaknesses, which it says are inexperience and liberalism.

It's not clear which paper knows the truth about Sudan. Briefly, the WP piece reads as if its source was Paul Wolfowitz, while the NYT piece—which the paper stuffs—is skeptical, instead reprinting the Sudanese government's version of events.

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According to the WP, rebels intent on "regime change" traveled hundreds of miles to launch an "unprecedented," "game changing" attack on a fractured, isolated government in Khartoum with help from members of the Sudanese military. The NYT says the attack was bold but openly questions the extent of the violence—and of divisions within the Sudanese military. Either way, the rebels lost decisively and Khartoum is now on lockdown.

John McCain and Barack Obama both think they can rewrite the electoral map in the fall. McCain plans to tar Obama early as elitist and inexperienced, picking off states that Obama lost in the primary. Obama plans to go on a biography tour and link McCain to Bush, flipping purple states like Virginia and Colorado.

The LAT thinks race might be an issue for Obama, but the perception that he is liberal and inexperienced is a bigger problem.

The NYT features an interesting look at how Obama practiced his peculiar brand of "big tent" politics on Chicago's South Side—deliberately fashioning positions that brought together strange bedfellows.

The NYT goes up top with sanitary conditions in cyclone-hit southern Myanmar, where the rivers are filled with floating bodies that could spread disease. Instead of cleaning them up, the government has diverted resources to a referendum that will bolster its grip on power.

The WP fronts its investigation into the collapse of medical care inside America's new network of prisons for foreign detainees. These detainees are not terrorism suspects but asylum seekers and undocumented workers—and they've been deprived of basic health provisions as their numbers swell.

The LAT fronts a look at U.S. troops policing Sadr City—they try to fight militias there but, for political reasons, can't actually enter the neighborhood. Meanwhile, the NYT goes inside with an Iranian-brokered truce between Shiite militias and Iraq's government. The LAT says the truce presages a crackdown on al-Qaida's last Iraqi stronghold.

The WP fronts a look at uncowed Clinton volunteers in West Virginia, where tensions between Hillary backers and college students run high.

The WP fronts a coming pension crisis, as state and local governments use semifraudulent accounting practices to paper over funding shortfalls. Up next, "a massive breach of faith with a generation of public employees."

The NYT fronts the rise of companies that funnel rich foreign students to obscure U.S. colleges, charging both the students and the colleges for the service. Critics worry it's ethically and legally inappropriate.

Another NYT front says artificial, ceramic hips created by a company called Stryker have been squeaking ominously once installed in patients. No one knows why this happens, but doctors are worried the hips will endanger patients.

Might as well mention it … The NYT fronts a short notice that Jenna Bush married Henry Hager in Crawford, Texas, yesterday. Laura Bush wore turquoise. Pictures of the wedding are forthcoming.

Barron YoungSmith is the former online editor of The New Republic. Follow him on Twitter.

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