The Skinny: Meet Mitt Romney

Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at a rally on the steps of the Statehouse in Boston, Nov., 19, 2006, to spur the Legislature to vote on a proposed ballot question to end gay marriage in Massachusetts.
The Skinny is Hillary Profita's take on the top news of the day and the best of the Internet.

The non-Clinton/Obama front-page story trend is catching on.

Today, everyone is writing about Republican candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is formally, officially, really announcing his run for office today in Michigan.

USA Today does its duty by following up on an article that the New York Times wrote last Thursday, asking whether Romney's Mormon faith will hinder his quest for the presidency. The answer is, shockingly, maybe or maybe not.

While the American public's views on his religion might pose a slight problem (or not,) the Los Angeles Times explains that Romney does appear to have the support of a very important constituency: lobbyists and "influential GOP lawmakers."

One more vital constituency is that of Christian conservatives in the Republican party, writes the Washington Post, and both Romney and Sen. John McCain are doing a bang-up job of seeking their affections.

Evangelicals are seeking the most conservative candidate possible, but also one who can win, as the president of the Southern Baptist's Convention's policy arm explained. "Winability is a bigger issue in this campaign because of the Darth Vader-like specter of a Hillary Clinton presidency," he said.

North Korea: Deal Or No Deal?

Well, in this case, it's a deal. Following six-nation talks in China, North Korea's agreement to take the first step toward nuclear disarmament – which by the time papers printed was still tentative – makes the front pages, including the Wall Street Journal's newsbox this morning.

Unless you otherwise eliminated it from your mind to remain sane, you'll recall that North Korea tested a nuclear bomb four months ago.

The agreement now in place exchanges "roughly $400 million in various kinds of aid in return for the North starting a permanent disabling of its nuclear facilities and allowing inspectors into the country," writes the New York Times.

Within 60 days, North Korea must shut down its main nuclear complex, and then inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency must be allowed into the country.

The Washington Post follows up on its front page article in the paper this morning with an Associated Press story online that explains North Korea and the U.S. will "embark on talks aimed at resolving disputes and restarting diplomatic relations." The US will also "begin the process of removing North Korea from its designation as a terror-sponsoring state and also on ending U.S. trade sanctions."

"The Day Civil War Erupted In Iraq."

It was one year ago that Sunni insurgents bombed one of the holiest of Shiite mosques in Samarra, setting off a rash of tit-for-tat violence in the country. The Los Angeles Times' headline looking back on that day refers to it bluntly as "The Day Civil War Erupted In Iraq."

The New York Times revisits the mosque as well, noting that "not a single brick," of the building has been moved since the incident. As far as reconstruction goes, "a proposal from the Shiite-led government to send thousands of Shiite troops to provide protection for a reconstruction project has been met with threats of bloodshed."

As that morbid anniversary was marked on Monday, four bombs were detonated in a marketplace where many Shiites shop, killing at least 70 people and wounding more than 120, reports the Washington Post.

Gallup Assesses The Blame Game

In the midst of all of this, of course, the House of Representatives is set to begin debate today on a non-binding resolution "that vows to 'support and protect' U.S. troops and then 'disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush … to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.'"

With that going on, USA Today reports on its front page the results of a recent Gallup poll – that six in 10 of those surveyed "oppose President Bush's plan to use more troops to try to stabilize Iraq," and "a nearly equal number also oppose any effort to cut off funding for those additional forces." There also appears to be a majority of support for the non-binding resolution – 51 percent support that.

As for results in the blame game for the Senate's failure last week to vote on its non-binding measure opposing the troop increase, Democrats were the big winners. Republicans were held responsible, 51 percent to 19 percent.

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