The Skinny: Pardon Scooter?

The Skinny is Hillary Profita's take on the top news of the day and the best of the Internet.

No sooner had Scooter Libby been convicted than editorial writers everywhere began to wonder whether President Bush would be pardoning the former White House staffer.

And so, this morning, the front pages of the Washington Post and the New York Times have the over and under on that possibility.

The only indication from Bush himself came on CNN en Espanol yesterday, when he told an interviewer: "I'm pretty much going to stay out of it until the course -- the case has finally run its final -- the course it's going to take." Whatever that means.

Democrats are calling for Bush to promise he won't pardon Libby. Among Republicans, some believe Libby "does not deserve the punishment he faces" and is therefore ripe for a pardon, writes the Post.

But other Republicans "warned that a pardon by Bush would make a bad situation worse." Namely, former House majority Leader Dick Armey, who said a pardon might indicate that "Scooter took a bullet for the team." (You'll recall that was actually the argument on the part of Libby's own defense team.)

The most politically palatable pardoning scenario seems to be that Bush should wait until Libby exhausts his appeals – a process that some legal experts think "may outlast the 2008 campaign, minimizing the political risks to Republicans and President Bush," writes the Times.

Either way, there's already a Web site offering futures on a Libby pardon. The proprietor of Intrade.com told the Times: "There's good interest in the market already." So far, traders have a pardon at 23 percent likelihood by the end of 2007 and 63 percent by the end of Bush's term.

Guiliani: Too New York?

Meanwhile, in 2008 campaign news, today is the day that Clinton and Obama are missing from the headlines, replaced by Giuliani and McCain.

The New York Times features a front page article on Rudy, examining the pressing question on the minds of many Americans: Is he too much of a New Yorker? After all, "Americans like New York City," but "with all its tumult and rough edges," the Times writes, but the Big Apple "is not for everyone." So maybe Giuliani is not for everyone.

Despite that apparent hurdle, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds Giuliani 20 percentage points ahead of John McCain. (And what better way to predict the outcome of the race than a poll two years ahead of the contest?)

According to the pollsters, McCain's support "is softening," but the McCain campaign argues that "national findings distort the actual state of competition," saying that McCain is leading in polls in battleground states like New Hampshire and South Carolina.

More News On Wounded Soldier Care

The military's shortcomings in caring for wounded soldiers continues to gain media traction.

USA Today's front page reveals the contents of a "previously undisclosed Defense Department memorandum" that indicates the Pentagon "lacks a comprehensive plan to identify and treat tens of thousands of troops who may suffer from traumatic brain injury, the signature wound of the Iraq war."

Two DOD doctors wrote that "there remains a need to better understand the unique characteristics of blast-associated TBI and to reduce the health risk and complications from mild or moderate forms of brain injury," and the Pentagon should take the lead in that regard.

The Pentagon said yesterday that it is spending $14 million for research on brain injuries.

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