Washington Post, LA Times endorse Obama
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Leading US newspapers The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times have backed Democratic nominee Barack Obama in the race to the White House, slamming Republican candidate John McCain over his campaign and choice of running-mate.
The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, two of the most influential US newspapers, backed Barack Obama on Friday to become the next US president, praising his leadership abilities despite his relative inexperience.
Obama also picked up hometown support from the Chicago Tribune -- marking the first time since its founding in 1847 that it has come out for a Democratic candidate.
Their editorials took to 51 the number of US newspapers endorsing Obama so far in the November 4 election, against 16 for McCain, according to a tally by the Editor and Publisher trade journal.
The Washington Post said its thumbs up was "without ambivalence," and praised Obama's intelligence and political skill while blasting Republican rival John McCain, 72, and his running mate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, 44.
"The choice is made easy in part by Mr McCain's disappointing campaign, above all his irresponsible selection of a running mate who is not ready to be president," it said.
It described the 47-year-old Illinois senator as "a man of supple intelligence, with a nuanced grasp of complex issues and evident skill at conciliation and consensus-building."
"Mr Obama has the potential to become a great president," wrote the Post. "Yes, we have reservations and concerns, almost inevitably, given Mr Obama's relatively brief experience in national politics. But we also have enormous hopes."
The Los Angeles Times also backed Obama in an editorial posted on its website Friday, saying the Democratic nominee answered a need for "a leader who demonstrates thoughtful calm and grace under pressure."
"The Times without hesitation endorses Barack Obama for president," it wrote, saying that as the campaign neared the finishing line Obama had impressed with his "steadiness and maturity."
"Obama is educated and eloquent, sober and exciting, steady and mature. He represents the nation as it is, and as it aspires to be."
Like the Post, the Times condemned McCain for picking Palin, saying it "calls into question just what kind of thinking -- if that's the appropriate word -- would drive the White House in a McCain presidency."
The Chicago Tribune -- which like the Los Angeles Times is owned by real estate baron Sam Zell, and historically faithful to the Republican Party -- called Obama "the strongest candidate".
"We have tremendous confidence in his intellectual rigor, his moral compass and his ability to make sound, thoughtful, careful decisions," it said. "He is ready."
"The Republican Party, the party of limited government, has lost its way," it added, citing a record budget deficit in 2008, "rampant spending and Capitol Hill corruption... They abandoned their principles. They paid the price."
It rebuked McCain not only for his fiscal policy and 300 billion dollar offer to buy up bad mortgages, but also for picking Palin as his running mate after "having called Obama not ready to lead."
"It's clear she is not prepared to step in at a moment's notice and serve as president... McCain put his campaign before his country."
The biggest newspaper to come out for McCain so far has been the New York Post, a part of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch's empire that also includes the conservative Fox News channel.
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