The Philadelphia Inquirer, the largest daily newspaper in Pennsylvania, and the Chicago Tribune, the largest paper in the Midwest, are both endorsing Barack Obama and John McCain in their parties' respective presidential primaries.
Although voters in The Keystone State don't go to the polls until April 22, the Inquirer also has a substantial readership base in southern New Jersey -- where voters cast their ballots as part of the Feb. 5 Super Tuesday round of primaries.
Illinois voters also go to the polls on Feb. 5. The Trib is Obama's hometown paper.
The Inquirer writes that:
BARACK OBAMA is the best Democrat to lead this nation past the nasty, partisan, Washington-as-usual politics that have blocked consensus on Iraq; politics that never blinked at the greedy, subprime mortgage schemes that could spawn a recession; politics that have greatly diminished our country's stature in the world.
Obama inspires people to action. And while inspiration alone isn't enough to get a job done, it's a necessary ingredient to begin the hard work.
Obama's appeal to Americans to have the audacity to hope, even in the face of tragedies such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, has fallen on fertile ground. Americans want desperately to believe they can overcome any difficulty - given the right leadership.
To read the full Inquirer endorsement of Obama, click here.
On the GOP side, the Inquirer writes that:
McCain, 71, has personal bravery, political courage and a confident sense of how he would lead this country. He's the authentic candidate in a field of wannabes and flip-floppers. The Inquirer endorses JOHN McCAIN for president in the Republican primary.
The GOP race has devolved frequently into a shameless contest to see who can bash illegal immigrants the loudest. McCain, who represents a border state, has resisted this pandering to the Republican base. He supports giving illegals a pathway to citizenship, when taking a harsher position would clearly win him more primary voters.
The former prisoner of war in Vietnam has stood tall against the Bush administration's condoning of torture for enemy combatants. He dared speak out against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's mismanagement of the war in Iraq - although McCain's willingness to keep U.S. troops there indefinitely is wrong, too.
To read the full Inquirer endorsement of McCain, click here.
The Chicago Tribune writes that:
In 1996, this page endorsed a Chicago attorney, law school instructor and community activist named Barack Obama for a seat in the Illinois Senate. We've paid him uncommon scrutiny ever since, wryly glad that he lived up to our modest prediction: We said Obama "has potential as a political leader."
Since then, so much has been written about U.S. Sen. Barack Obama that it's easy to forget how far an entire nation's scrutiny of him "as a political leader" has led us all. No longer does every article obsess on whether voters are ready for a black man in the White House.
Most Americans, we'd wager, by now have concluded that the color of his skin matters less than his evident comfort within it. Yes, he is vilified by less-secure Democrats for acknowledging Ronald Reagan was a transformative president who "put us on a fundamentally different path because the country was ready for it." Our takeaway: Obama has the confidence to speak truth, poll-tested or not.
Barack Obama is the rare individual who can sit in the U.S. Senate yet have his career potential unfulfilled. He is the Democrat best suited to lead this nation. We offer him our endorsement for the Feb. 5 Illinois primary.
To read the Tribune's full endorsement, click here.
In endorsing McCain, the Tribune writes that:
One Republican candidate for president dedicated himself to American honor, American duty, long before Sept. 11, 2001. The world of 2008 is the dangerous world John McCain unknowingly spent a military and political career preparing to confront.
To hear McCain speak of honor, of duty, is to wake up the echoes of John F. Kennedy urging Americans to ask not what their country can do for them. A President McCain would engage challenges domestic and foreign with the candid conviction that doing what's right may cost us. Maybe plenty.
His unswerving commitment to victory in Iraq is the likely template. He has never brooked defeatism because the consequences of defeat are so severe. McCain instead urged a troop surge to calm Iraq and, now that it's working, he deflects the credit to the general who executed it.
This get-hard-jobs-done ethos at times has bought McCain trouble. He broke from many in his party to lead a fight for immigration reform. When he failed, he reverted to classic pragmatist, acknowledging that the U.S. must secure its borders before its citizens liberalize their laws. If he's elected, we'd expect him to pursue with equal resolve deep cuts in pork-barrel spending--a prospect that similarly infuriates and frightens many members of Congress.
This much we know: If McCain says pork is a battle he'll fight, he'll fight it. And he'll do so in a way that helps Americans understand why Washington's culture of earmarks--My constituents first!--softens us as a nation and dooms our children to debt.
To read the Tribune's full endorsement of McCain, click here.