25 January 2008

NY Times Endorses Clinton, Whacks Giuliani

The Old Gray Lady has smiled on one of New York's presidential candidates while giving the back of her hand to the other.

The New York Times today endorsed Hillary Clinton's bid for the Democratic nomination, but went with John McCain on the Republican side instead of former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.

But the Times GOP endorsement was more a repudiation of Giuliani...

"The real Mr. Giuliani, whom many New Yorkers came to know and mistrust, is a narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man who saw no need to limit police power. Racial polarization was as much a legacy of his tenure as the rebirth of Times Square. Giuliani’s arrogance and bad judgment are breathtaking."

than it was a thumbs-up for McCain....

"We have strong disagreements with all the Republicans running for president. The leading candidates have no plan for getting American troops out of Iraq. They are too wedded to discredited economic theories and unwilling even now to break with the legacy of President Bush. We disagree with them strongly on what makes a good Supreme Court justice. ... 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."
It's seems reasonable to assume that the timing of the endorsement - nearly two weeks before the New York primary but only four days ahead of the Florida vote - is an attempt by the Times editorial board to step on Giuliani's fingers as he tries desperately to hold on in a state that he must win to continue his presidential bid.

This may, however, be another instance of the Times having an exaggerated view of its own importance. In fact, rather than grease the skids for Giuliani, the Times may be doing him a favor.

The paper, after all, is not overly popular or respected by the elephant-cuff-link set. The editorial board may have done the former mayor more good than harm.

As for the Democrats, at many points in the Times editorial it appears as though the editorial board ripped a page out of Clinton's daily talking points - the one about experience - and pasted it into the newspaper. You know, the bit about being able to lead "from day one."

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 timing of the editorial doesn't hurt Clinton, with John Edwards beginning to nip at her heels for the No. 2 spot in South Carolina tomorrow.

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