Obama: No More Mr. Nice Guy
The LAT points out that Obama's "partisan turn entails a calculated risk." No one doubts that a failure to get a stimulus package through Congress in a timely manner would be a huge blow to the young administration. But at the same time, if he gets the bill by pushing the partisanship buttons that he has long decried, he could end up jeopardizing some of the long-term projects on his wish list, such as an overhaul of the health care system, that would require bipartisan support.
The NYT got its hands on what must have been a fascinating briefcase full of documents that belonged to Aribert Ferdinand Heim, the most wanted Nazi war criminal, who was commonly known as "Dr. Death" because of the viciously sadistic experiments he committed against hundreds of Jews. Although he was still believed to be at large, it turns out that Heim died in 1992 in Egypt, where he had converted to Islam and was living under the name Tarek Hussein Farid. Heim was widely believed to be hiding in Latin America, and his case will surely "cast light on the often overlooked history of [Nazis'] flight to the Middle East," notes the NYT. Despite all the evidence and the fact that Heim's son confirms much of the story, the case can't be definitively closed because he was apparently buried anonymously in a common grave.
In a dispatch from Israel, the WP points out that Obama has become a key player in the country's electoral campaign. And it's not just about who can work better with the new president to forge a peace deal. The candidates also aren't shy about using his tactics and invoking his campaign. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livini is the most conspicuous and openly talks about how she would bring change to the country since her main competitors have been prime ministers before. Her campaign distributes T-shirts with the word Believni. Binyamin Netanyahu has his own T-shirt: "No, She Can't."
The WP's E.J. Dionne Jr. notes that although Republicans may be "short on new ideas, low on votes and deeply unpopular in the polls," they have unexpectedly "been winning the media war over the president's central initiative." For most of the fight, Obama has refused to fight back and "cast himself as a benevolent referee." In the end, the new administration has been forced to learn a few Washington basics. "For starters, the media cannot be counted on to be either liberal or permanently enchanted with any politician," Dionne writes. "Arguments left unanswered can take hold, whether they make sense or not. And one more lesson: No occupant of the White House has ever been able to walk on water."
Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.