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New York Times endorses Hillary Clinton, names Donald Trump "worst nominee" in modern history

Last Updated Sep 24, 2016 8:47 PM EDT

The New York Times editorial board threw its support behind Hillary Clinton in a piece published online Saturday, saying its endorsement was “rooted in respect for her intellect, experience, toughness and courage” and making only parenthetical references to her rival, Donald Trump.

The work of the former secretary of state, the Times wrote, “has been defined more by incremental successes than by moments of transformational change.”

But the baby steps of progress marking Clinton’s resume, the editorial board said, “shows a determined leader intent on creating opportunity for struggling Americans at a time of economic upheaval and on ensuring that the United States remains a force for good in an often brutal world.”

The Times honed in on her foreign policy accomplishments, including her efforts leading to the Iran nuclear deal and her negotiations as secretary of state that led to a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. The paper acknowledged that Clinton “bears a share of the responsibility” for the failings of the Obama administration, including in Libya, but argued that “her achievements are substantial.

The paper also praised domestic issues and policies Clinton has tackled over her years as a public servant, including her record on helping women and families. While conceding that some have criticized Clinton for her “opportunistic” approach to certain policies like immigration and trade, the Times credited her for “arriving at the right position” in the end.

The Times lauded Clinton’s capacity for bipartisanship, noting the not insignificant obstacles placed in her path by the opposing party.

“Over eight years in the Senate and four as secretary of state, she built a reputation for grit and bipartisan collaboration. She displayed a command of policy and diplomatic nuance and an ability to listen to constituents and colleagues that are all too exceptional in Washington,” the board wrote. “She is one of the most tenacious politicians of her generation, whose willingness to study and correct course is rare in an age of unyielding partisanship.”

Addressing the former secretary’s troubles with her private email server, the Times board waved off Clinton’s “share of mistakes.”

“She has evinced a lamentable penchant for secrecy and made a poor decision to rely on a private email server while at the State Department. That decision deserved scrutiny, and it’s had it,” the board said. “Now, considered alongside the real challenges that will occupy the next president, that email server, which has consumed so much of this campaign, looks like a matter for the help desk.”

The Times focused its pro-Clinton argument on the Democratic nominee herself, rather than comparing her to Trump. The editorial board made a single brief but pointed mention of the GOP candidate as the “worst nominee put forward by a major party in modern American history” before declaring that “the best case for Hillary Clinton cannot be, and is not, that she isn’t Donald Trump.”

“The best case is, instead, about the challenges this country faces, and Mrs. Clinton’s capacity to rise to them,” the editorial board wrote.