Even on the morning of Nevada's important caucus, the campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were looking ahead, trumpeting influential newspapers endorsements in locales that carry electoral significance next week and on February 5, the date of the so-called Tsunami Tuesday slate of primaries.
Obama was the recipient of the Atlanta Journal Constitution's support. The paper, whose reach extends into parts of South Carolina - where the Democrats will be voting a week from Saturday - and Florida - where they will cast ballots shortly thereafter - wrote of the Illinois Democrat:
"[He] has demonstrated an appeal across many of the lines that have divided America. That is a critically important attribute, because the scale of changes that must be made to correct America's course cannot be accomplished with majorities of 50 percent plus one.
"Different moments in history require different types of leaders, and part of the art of picking a president is matching the person to the challenge and to the time. So while both Clinton and Obama would make very good presidents, Obama is the person; this is his time."
But in exalting Obama the editorial board also offered a critique of Clinton, arguing that the former first lady "has too often chosen to play within the Washington system rather than dare to challenge its assumptions."
The Sacramento Bee, with its influence in the California primary on February 5th, also took swipes at the New York Senator in the process of heaping praise on Obama.
"The Clinton years were tainted by scandal, and Hillary Clinton took her share of hits for those problems. Some were deserved; some were not. Dealing with the constant accusations no doubt toughened her. That toughness is one thing we admire most about her.
"But those battle scars are also evidence of a troubling trend in American politics that would likely only intensify if Clinton were to become president. Since her husband's first term, politics has become increasingly polarized, the partisan fights more brutal. The Clintons have been both aggressors and victims in those wars.
"Barack Obama, in contrast, would be a fresh face with a new approach and no old scores to settle. His ascension would represent a clean break with the generation that has fought and re-fought the Vietnam War and the cultural upheavals that wracked the 1960s."
But not all news was bad for Clinton. Her campaign received the backing of the Kansas City Star, whose influence will be felt during the Missouri primary on February 5th.
Clinton, the paper wrote...
"...is a woman of obvious intelligence with a strong commitment to reform on health care, taxes, energy, immigration, education and global warming.
"And Clinton gives voters a clear picture of what she has in mind. On health care, for instance, she offers a comprehensive program that would allow people to keep their current insurance coverage or choose from among the health plans available to members of Congress.
"Despite her strong differences with Republicans, she has shown the ability to work with some of them in Congress. And from years of experience in Washington, she speaks thoughtfully about what the federal government can and can't do."
As for Obama, the Kansas City Star editorial board offered a pinch of praise, saying he had "optimism and appeals for greater national unity." But, they added, "in his first Senate term, however, he lacks Clinton's experience, military expertise and knowledge of the world."
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