McCain Scores Key Newspaper Endorsements

Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., outlines his health care plan during the Rotary Club of Des Moines meeting Thursday, Oct. 11, 2007, in Des Moines, Iowa.
In a much sought endorsement before next month's Iowa caucus, the Des Moines Register picked Sens. John McCain and Hillary Clinton. The Boston Globe, meanwhile, picked Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain ahead of the New Hampshire primary.

In Saturday's endorsement of McCain, the editorial board of The Des Moines Register had this to say:

"With dissension at home and distrust abroad, as American troops continue to fight wars on two fronts, the times call for two essential qualities in the next American president," the Register's editorial board concluded. "Those qualities became the paramount considerations in making endorsements for the Democratic and Republican nominees in the 2008 Iowa caucuses.

"The times call for competence. Americans want their government to work again. The times call for readiness to lead. Americans want their country to do great things again. They'll regain trust in their government when they see a president make that happen."

The paper praised McCain for sticking to his views even when they're political poison, like going outside the party lines on immigration, Iraq, and in Iowa - where farm subsidies are a big issue, reports CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobiella.

In endorsing McCain, who was tied for fifth in the Register's November Iowa Poll of likely caucus-goers, the newspaper's editorial board wrote:

The Register's endorsement of Clinton comes at a time when polls show she has slipped behind Sen. Barack Obama in Iowa.

"Readiness to lead sets her apart from a constellation of possible stars in her party, particularly Barack Obama, who also demonstrates the potential to be a fine president," the newspaper's endorsement editorial concludes. "When Obama speaks before a crowd, he can be more inspirational than Clinton. Yet, with his relative inexperience, it's hard to feel as confident he could accomplish the daunting agenda that lies ahead."

Clinton will carefully measure her tone in the next 2 1/2 weeks - well aware of Iowa's disdain for negative campaigning, reports CBS News chief White House correspondent Jim Axelrod.

In another endorsement Saturday, The Boston Globe's editorial board picked endorsed Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain ahead of the New Hampshire presidential primary and the Iowa caucus, the newspaper reported Saturday.

The board noted that Obama fulfills America's need for "a president with an intuitive sense of the wider world," and that McCain "has done more than his share to transcend partisanship and promote an honest discussion of the problems facing the United States," the newspaper reported on its Web site.

The endorsements followed in-depth interviews with the presidential contenders.

The board says Obama's diverse and international life experience helped the Illinois Democrat develop a unique perspective of the world.

"The most sobering challenges that face this country - terrorism, climate change, disease pandemics - are global," the board said in early excerpts of its endorsement. "America needs a president with an intuitive sense of the wider world, with all its perils and opportunities. Barack Obama has this understanding at his core."

Obama's relative lack of Washington experience may enable him to explore creative solutions to national problems, according to the endorsement.

"It is true that all the other Democratic contenders have more conventional resumes, and have spent more time in Washington," the board wrote. "But that exposure has tended to give them a sense of government's constraints. Obama is more open to its possibilities."

The newspaper's editorial board praised McCain as a straight talker whose honesty, despite the political cost, might help a polarized nation. The board described the Arizona Republican as a possible antidote to the "toxic political approach" of the last two presidential elections.

"McCain's views differ from those of this editorial page in a variety of ways. Yet McCain's honesty has served him well," the board wrote. "As a lawmaker and as a candidate, he has done more than his share to transcend partisanship and promote an honest discussion of the problems facing the United States. He deserves the opportunity to represent his party in November's election."

The Globe also endorsed McCain before the New Hampshire primary in 2000.