February 6, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

24-state ‘Super’ showdown brings victories, renewed fights

The headline from Super Tuesday’s coast-to-coast voting: John McCain had a “big night,” as USA Today noted.

“Arizona senator takes control of GOP race with big wins in delegate-rich states,” The Republic in Phoenix said in its coverage of Tuesday’s primaries, caucuses and conventions in 24 states.

For the Democrats, “‘Bragging rights’ go to both Dems,” USA Today said of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. In the bellwether state of Missouri, The Kansas City Star noted: “No one pulls away.”

A “Night of destruction” forced The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn., to move election results inside after tornadoes hit the region. Killer storms also topped the news in Arkansas, where the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock printed election results on the bottom of the page: “Huckabee: Until race for GOP nomination settled, he’s in it.”

On Tuesday night, the big-three newspaper Web sites — Washingtonpost.com, Usatoday.com and Nytimes.com — topped their home pages with interactive charts and included live blogs, video and Q&As. So what was left for today's front pages?

California was the big prize taken by Clinton and McCain. The San Francisco Chronicle pictured five contenders, mapped their wins and explained “What happened” and “What it means.”

The Chicago Tribune printed GOP results on the right and the results for the Democrats on the left. At the bottom, it noted ties to Clinton and Obama: “Savoring choice of native daughter, adopted son.” The local angle took top billing in The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle: “Kansas Democrats solidly back Obama.” The Oklahoman in Oklahoma City tabulated state results in a “Super Showdown” package, and The Forum in Fargo, N.D., noted a “massive turnout of young, old.”

Republicans meet for their national convention in September in Minnesota, where the St. Paul Pioneer Press dressed its nameplate in red, white and blue and printed two locally produced stories.

The Boston Globe mapped the wins and tallied the all-important delegate count in a design helpful to readers. In Delaware, The News Journal of Wilmington printed a “Delegate Leaderboard” dressed up with candidate photos. The Day in New London, Conn., listed winners state-by-state and added, “In The End, Connecticut goes with Obama; McCain wins.”

New York and New Jersey front pages balanced primary coverage with a celebration of the Giants’ Super Bowl win. It was the best of both worlds for the Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal. Its nameplate was printed over a photo of Giants’ Quarterback Eli Manning and primary news almost filled the space below. A photo from a ticker-tape parade dominated the Asbury Park Press in Neptune, N.J. Among its election headlines: “Turnout shatters record number of primary voters.”

“Super suspenseful,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution proclaimed. Below, it explained “How Obama, Huckabee won.” The Birmingham (Ala.) News reported: “Historic numbers cast votes in state.” In results reported by mid-afternoon Tuesday, Mike Huckabee won the GOP convention in West Virginia. “Maneuver by McCain forces denies delegates to Romney,” the Charleston Gazette reported.

Utah was all but a given for Mitt Romney. But the main headline in the Deseret Morning News in Salt Lake City referred to McCain’s surge and a continuing battle for Democrats: “TKO and a draw.” In Alaska, it was contradictions. “Up here, it was Romney. But McCain is still in charge,” the Anchorage Daily News said.

The Gazette in Colorado Springs printed a photo illustration of leading candidates and broke out Colorado totals. The only GOP candidate to visit Montana, Romney, won there, but it was McCain’s photo that dominated the Billings Gazette. The Lewiston (Idaho) Tribune devoted significant space to local voters: “Most north central Idaho caucuses follow state trend.”

And in New Mexico, it was hurry up and wait. “Heavy Voter Turnout Makes for 3-Hour Waits, Ballot Shortages,” the Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal said.

kkennedy@freedomforum.org Kate Kennedy is front-pages editor at the Newseum.

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