(AFP) – Jan 25, 2008
NEW YORK (AFP) — A "hugely impressed" New York Times endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic White House nomination in its Friday edition, praising her intellect, experience and capacity to unite America.
The glowing endorsement was a valuable boost for the former first lady and senator from New York, as she fights an intense battle for her party's White House nod with Illinois Senator Barack Obama.
In a rebuke for former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani meanwhile, the paper chose to endorse Senator John McCain on the Republican side, though its backing was less important for him than for Clinton, as many conservatives revile the paper.
In a valuable boost for Clinton, whom some critics, including backers of Obama, see as polarizing, the Times editorial board said the paper's home state representative in the Senate was "capable of both uniting and leading."
"Hearing her talk about the presidency, her policies and answers for America's big problems, we are hugely impressed by the depth of her knowledge, by the force of her intellect and by the breadth of, yes, her experience," the paper said.
"We saw her going town by town through New York in 2000, including places where Clinton-bashing was a popular sport. She won over skeptical voters and then delivered on her promises and handily won re-election in 2006."
The paper praised Clinton for her come-from-behind victory in the New Hampshire primary after her stunning defeat by Obama in the leadoff Iowa caucuses, as well as her win in Nevada.
While Clinton and Obama hold similar views on most major issues, Clinton's policy proposals are more complex and nuanced, the Times argued, asserting that Clinton had already "won the respect of world leaders and many in the American military" during her years in the Senate.
"She would be a strong commander in chief," the Times claimed.
The paper conceded Obama's appeal but called him "still undefined."
"We need more specifics to go with his amorphous promise of a new governing majority, a clearer sense of how he would govern," it said.
"The potential upside of a great Obama presidency is enticing, but this country faces huge problems, and will no doubt be facing more that we can't foresee.
"The next president needs to start immediately on challenges that will require concrete solutions, resolve, and the ability to make government work. Mrs. Clinton is more qualified, right now, to be president."
The Times said that McCain, who is struggling to emerge as front-runner from a fluid field, was the best choice for the Republican nomination.
It said the choice of the former Vietnam war prisoner and Arizona senator was an "easy one."
"Senator John McCain of Arizona is the only Republican who promises to end the George Bush style of governing from and on behalf of a small, angry fringe," the paper said.
"With a record of working across the aisle to develop sound bipartisan legislation, he would offer a choice to a broader range of Americans than the rest of the Republican field."
The Times slammed the man it had once endorsed for New York mayor and admired for leadership in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
"That man is not running for president," it said.
"The real Mr. Giuliani, whom many New Yorkers came to know and mistrust, is a narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man," it charged, adding: "Mr. Giuliani's arrogance and bad judgment are breathtaking."
"The Rudolph Giuliani of 2008 first shamelessly turned the horror of 9/11 into a lucrative business... then exploited his city's and the country's nightmare to promote his presidential campaign," the Times excoriated.
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