May 7, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

A solid win and a squeaker: 2 primaries produce 2 results


Drama continued in the presidential campaign Tuesday with heavy voting in North Carolina’s primary and late-night results from Indiana. But in the end, the news was the margin of victory: How close was it?

Two of the country’s larger newspapers summed it up well. “Obama cruises; Clinton clings,” the Los Angeles Times said. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution described the outcome as “His Decisive Win, Her Photo Finish.”

The Charlotte Observer called Barack Obama’s 56% to 42% win in North Carolina lopsided, and the News & Record of Greensboro used the word “rout.” The Winston-Salem Journal’s lead said: “In the end, it wasn’t close.”

“Two minutes after the North Carolina polls closed … networks declared an Obama primary victory,” The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer reported. North Carolina might have been devoid of suspense, but Indiana was a “nail-biter,” as the Journal & Courier of Lafayette noted.

The Indianapolis Star, sporting a “Clinton, Barely” banner headline, featured a column about the drama: “Indiana loved its moment in the spotlight so much it refused to give it up Tuesday night.” The late-night results meant early editions of some newspapers did not pronounce a winner in Indiana.

“Hillary Holds On as Lake Holds Out,” said The Times of Munster, reporting its county’s “snail-slow pace” of election reporting. The South Bend Tribune called it a “Hoosier cliffhanger” and printed at the top of its page Hillary Clinton’s win, 51% to 49%.

“High drama, but no KO,” the Chicago Tribune declared, adding in an analysis: “In the home stretch, advantage to Obama.”

A flood of voters swamped polling places. The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, Ind., noted a “Large turnout for Democrats,” and The Herald-Times in Bloomington, Ind., said, “Voters turn out in droves.” A “record primary turnout” was reported by The Daily Reflector of Greenville, N.C.

Tuesday’s primaries had been called historic because of their impact late in the campaign. History was made in another way. A column in today’s News & Observer in Raleigh highlighted Obama’s win and the victories of female candidates in other races on the ballot in North Carolina, a state “clouded by the era of Jim Crow and a deep skepticism about women’s role in politics.”

Kate Kennedy is front-pages editor at the Newseum.

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