World Bank Chief On The Ropes

The Skinny is Joel Roberts' take on the top news of the day and the best of the Internet.



A prominent former Bush administration official is fighting to save his job. The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal both report Monday on the efforts of former deputy defense secretary and Iraq war architect Paul D. Wolfowitz to retain his post as president of the World Bank over a scandal involving his securing of a high-paying job for a female companion.

The Times says Wolfowitz was dealt a "crippling setback" over the weekend when a powerful oversight committee at the bank delivered an "unusually public rebuke of his leadership."

While Wolfowitz has vowed to stay on, the Times suggests his days may be numbered, saying the bank's board seems "to be buying time for Mr. Wolfowitz to consider resigning."

The roots of the bank's displeasure with Wolfowitz run deep. "Unhappiness with his leadership began almost from the day he was appointed two years ago," the Times says, with many staff and top officials "uneasy over being led by an architect of the Iraq war."

Gonzales Fights For His Job, Too

As Attorney General Alberto Gonzales prepares for what's being called make-or-break testimony about his role in last year's firings of eight federal prosecutors, a new poll shows most Americans believe those dismissals were politically motivated.

In a Washington Post/ABC News poll released Monday, 67 percent – including a majority of Republicans – said they thought the prosecutors were fired for political reasons, not because of poor job performance, as the Justice Department has said.

It's a closer call on whether the attorney general should lose his job over the scandal: 45 percent said he should be fired, while 39 percent think he should not. Those opinions were sharply divided along partisan lines with six in ten Democrats saying he should go and a similar number of Republicans saying he should stay.

Anticipation is high for Gonzales' appearance Tuesday before a Senate panel, with nearly all the major dailies running front-page stories Monday recounting the Justice Department's early release of his prepared testimony, in which he acknowledged making mistakes in his handling of the prosecutors' dismissals but insisted he had done "nothing wrong."

The New York Times called Gonzales' statement "a measured apology," while the Wall Street Journal said that "in addressing the U.S. attorney mess," Gonzales "goes further than he has previously in accepting blame for mistakes that has landed him in trouble."

The Los Angeles Times called the release of Gonzales' prepared testimony "an unusual move" but a Justice Department spokesman said there was no hidden agenda in putting the statement out early.

The Journal adds that "the strongest expressions of concern have come from Europe, where doubts about the former U.S. deputy secretary of defense and architect of the American-led war in Iraq have long been strong."


Some Clinton Donors Turning To Obama

Barack Obama continues to flex his fundraising muscle. The freshman Illinois senator's presidential campaign raised $24.8 million for the Democratic primaries in the first quarter of the year, besting Sen. Hillary Clinton's $19.1 million.

And while Clinton has more money in the bank than Obama – or any of the other candidates from either party – the New York Times reports Obama has been raising funds from an unlikely source: former donors to President Bill Clinton's campaigns.

The Times says that some of the biggest fund-raisers for the Obama campaign were major contributors to Mr. Clinton, including as many as half a dozen former guests of the Clinton White House and at least two who were "close enough to the Clintons to have slept in the Lincoln bedroom."

Four former Clinton administration officials were also big donors to the Obama campaign.

The Clinton campaign dismissed the drift of former Clinton fund-raisers to the Obama camp, saying some loss of support was inevitable given Mr. Clinton's dominance of the Democratic Party in the 1990s.

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