The Examiner starts the endorsement season early with its announcement for John McCain and Sarah Palin. Usually newspapers wait until the final days to give their endorsements out of a pretense of objectivity. Instead, the Examiner outlines its views on public service, experience, and leadership:
America is at war overseas and in an economic crisis here at home. Many of her citizens believe the country is on the wrong track. It is for times such as these that men like John McCain are made, to put country first so that it can be put right in its time of need. For this reason, The Examiner endorses McCain for president and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, for vice president.
Cut through the high-toned speeches and campaign cut and thrust, and the pre-eminent issues of 2008 become strikingly clear. First, the next president must have the hard-earned experience, unrelenting toughness and uncompromising character to wage and win the war against al Qaeda and other terrorists who seek the destruction of America. Second, he must have an unshakable commitment to restoring honest taxing and spending by government at all levels, the essential first step of which is ridding Washington of pork-barrel “earmarks,” the gateway drug to budget deficits and political corruption.
Most importantly, the next president must be an inspirational leader who can restore for future generations of Middle Americans the enduring virtues – nurturing the energy and innovation inspired by individual liberty, preserving the life-giving bonds of faith, family and fellow citizens, raising up a new generation of public servants who will speak the truth to the American people, appointing judges bound by the actual words of the Constitution, and, finally, never forgetting that, for all her faults, America remains for billions of people around the world the light of freedom, the shining city on a hill that must be defended and preserved.
The Examiner sees McCain as the candidate in this race who fills those needs. Without once derogating Barack Obama — or even mentioning him — the editors point to McCain’s lifetime of service in these pursuits, both in the military and in the government. It puts forward the positive case for McCain that sometimes gets lost in the daily volleys of political campaigns.
John Kerry beat George Bush in newspapers endorsements four years ago, 208-189. The daily circulation of the endorsements made the gap even wider: 20.7 million to 14.5 million. Will Obama outpace Kerry for endorsements this year, or will the gap narrow with Bush out of the picture?