The largest newspaper in Iowa delivered a boost to two presidential campaigns on Saturday night.
The endorsements came at a crucial time in the campaign. The February 1 Iowa caucus just days away, and the Hawkeye State is the first to weigh in on the primary process.
For Clinton, the newspaper wrote that Democrats “have one outstanding candidate deserving of their support.”
“No other candidate can match the depth or breadth of her knowledge and experience,” the newspaper opined.
“Over the course of two meetings, Clinton spent more than three hours with the editorial board, answering questions in a direct and forthright manner. She exhibited an impressive command of the issues, though we’d have liked to hear more from her on the debt and the future of Social Security,” it continued. “She was somewhat prickly and defensive when discussing her emails, but overall she was gracious, engaging, and personable.”
Clinton’s support in Iowa has sagged in recent days as the front-runner’s top primary rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), surged in early-state polls. The Register praised Sanders for being “an honorable and formidable campaigner,” and for focusing his campaign on income inequality.
“But Sanders admits that virtually all of his plans for reform have no chance of being approved by a Congress that bears any resemblance to the current crop of federal lawmakers,” the editorial board wrote, noting that Republicans are fairly entrenched in Congress.
As for the third Democrat, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), The Register wrote that “he seems better suited to a Cabinet-level job in a Clinton White House.”
For its endorsement on the Republican side, The Register didn’t even mention the party’s front-runner, Donald Trump, who frequently attacks the newspaper on the campaign trail.
However, there was an implicit shot at candidates who embrace “anger.”
“Republicans have the opportunity to define their party’s future in this election. They could choose anger, pessimism and fear. Or they could take a different path,” the newspaper wrote. “The party could channel that frustration and pursue true reform.”
The Register also hailed Rubio’s modest roots as the son of Cuban immigrants.
“It could be the party in which the son of an immigrant bartender and maid could become president,” it continued. “Sen. Marco Rubio has the potential to chart a new direction for the party, and perhaps the nation, with his message of restoring the American dream. We endorse him because he represents his party’s best hope.”
The editorial board offered some light praise for some of Rubio’s competitors, but suggested they weren’t the same breath of fresh air as the Florida senator:
The editorial board also values the executive experience, pragmatism and thoughtful policies of John Kasich, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush. Yet most Republicans aren’t interested in rewarding a long resume this year. They want new and different.
In addition to Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) also went unmentioned in the editorial. Trump and Cruz poll at the top of the pack in the Iowa caucus, with Rubio placing third, according to the most recent RealClearPolitics polling average of the state.
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