Sunday, December 2, 2007

New Hampshire Union-Leader Endorses John McCain

The New Hampshire Union-Leader has endorsed Arizona Senator John McCain in the GOP presidential primary race:

On Jan. 8, New Hampshire Republicans will make one of the most important choices for their party and nation in the history of our presidential primary. Their choice ought to be John McCain.

We don't agree with him on every issue. We disagree with him strongly on campaign finance reform. What is most compelling about McCain, however, is that his record, his character, and his courage show him to be the most trustworthy, competent, and conservative of all those seeking the nomination. Simply put, McCain can be trusted to make informed decisions based on the best interests of his country, come hell or high water.

Competence, courage, and conviction are enormously important for our next President to possess. No one has a better understanding of U.S. interests and dangers right now than does McCain. He was right on the mistakes made by the Bush administration in prosecuting the Islamic terrorist war in Iraq and he is being proved right on the way forward both there and worldwide.

McCain is pro-life. Always has been. He fights against special-interest and pork-barrel spending, and high spending in general, which ticks off liberals and many in the GOP who have wallowed at the public trough. Yet he also has the proven ability, unique among the contenders, to work across the political divide that has led our government into petty bickering when important problems need to be solved.

We have known John McCain for many years. We will write more about him in the days ahead. For now, we leave you with this to ponder:

When McCain was shot down and taken prisoner by the North Vietnamese, he was repeatedly beaten. When his captors discovered that his father was a top U.S. admiral, they ordered him released for propaganda purposes. But McCain refused, insisting that longer-held prisoners be released before him. So they beat him some more. He never gave in then, and he won't give in to our enemies now.

John McCain is the man to lead America.

Debra Saunders also boosts McCain today in her piece over at the San Francisco Chronicle.

Readers know I'm a McCain backer. Although the GOP race is looking more like a three-way contest among Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney, any of the five top candidates (Romney, Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Huckabee, and John McCain) could win in Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina.

McCain's still in the hunt in the Granite State. RealClearPolitics tracking poll averages have McCain in a close third in New Hampshire.

The New Hampshire Union-Leader's endorsement might help McCain push into the state's very top-tier (although research shows a limited impact of newspaper endorsements in the contemporary electoral environment). A win or a strong second-place showing would help keep McCain's drive going heading into the February 5th round of primary voting nationally.

It's exciting, in any case.