TABLOIDED: Hillary Clinton's Primary Struggles and the John McCain "Scandal"

As Barack Obama continues to strengthen his lead for the Democratic presidential nomination, the tabs have taken to poking all kinds of fun at rival Hillary Clinton. Through some hilarious photo manipulation, the Post has turned Hillary and Bill into Davy Crockett and Lt. Col. Travis, as the Texas primary is now "Clinton's Alamo." The News goes with the sports analogy instead, noting it's "March 4th & Long" for Clinton, who needs a "Hail Mary play" to win as a cartoon Bill & Hill are shown getting ready to snap the ball. It's clear that the papers are thinking Hillary's end is near, so they're ratcheting up the funny while they still can. After being absent in the Post yesterday, an incredibly haggy picture of Clinton hugging Sen. Chuck Schumer appears on page 5. She's just missing a wart on her nose and green skin to make her look completely like the Wicked Witch of the West. (When is the Post going to photoshop Hillary as that cultural icon?) Meanwhile, Barack Obama can do no wrong. Both papers have a photo of the frontrunner blowing his nose at a Dallas rally. The audience applauded. Maybe the jokes about the "cult of Obama" aren't that crazy.

On the other side of the aisle, John McCain is getting ready to face his first major scandal as he looks all-but-ready to take the GOP nomination. The Times reported yesterday that McCain may have gotten a little too cozy with a female lobbyist during the 2000 campaign. The News chooses this SHOCKER as its other front-page story, while the Post devotes one column to it. The column, of course, is a virulent attack on the Times for publishing the story in the first place. The News excoriates the Grey Lady as well, but in a much gentler manner. Columnist Michael Goodwin references his 10 years at the Times and expresses surprise that an article so rife with innuendo and short on proof would be published. We're curious to see how this story shapes up in the next few days: Will the tabs reverse their righteous indignation and start slinging mud themselves?

The Post's other cover story is the happy news that a Navy missile yesterday managed to take a out an errant spy satellite that would release poison gas as it fell to earth. If the "East Side Butcher" case reads like an episode of Law & Order, then this story seems like a tense disaster movies from the 1970s. We're imagining sweaty guys yelling and smoking at mission control during the 10-second window to shoot the satellite down. And you know there are going to be a ton of fabulous conspiracy theories about the "real" reason the satellite was shot down.

Headlines: All were from the Post " We're Ghana help ya" (Condoleezza Rice and President Bush visit Ghana) " It's Texas -- or Fold 'Em." Hillary Clinton's campaign woes) "Lucky Son of a Pitch" Mets pitcher Ambiorix Burgos got back almost all of the $270,000 worth of jewelry stolen from his hotel room this weekend>) " Thug slugs customer in head over deli 'beef.'" (Man assaulted in Lower East Side deli)

Exclusives: Most were from the Daily News: The city is scaling back plans to put more fruit and vegetable carts in poorer neighborhoods. Apparently the City Council was feeling pressure from bodega and market owners.

We may eventually have one type of cab driving around. The city is asking auto manufacturers to come up with a model strictly for yellow cabs, much like the Checker cabs of yore.

The News follows up on the five-year-old boy who was handcuffed after throwing a tantrum in school. His parents are suing for $15 million.

The Post reports that the Department of Education has been quietly studying how effective School District 75 is. The district is dedicated to students with disabilities and special needs, and parents fear it may be eliminated.

Oops! The Post misses a letter in its headline on page 21: "Indict due n shrink's hack slay."


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