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In Final Election Stretch, Newspapers Weigh In With Endorsements

As Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain make their final cases to voters in critical states, newspaper editorial boards are weighing in with endorsements of the candidates. Editors from across the country detail which candidates their papers backed and why.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Joining me now are four editorial page editors to discuss their newspapers' presidential endorsements. Backing John McCain are Robert Kittle from the San Diego Union Tribune and Bob Rayner from the Richmond Times Dispatch.

    And backing Obama are J.R. Labbe from the Fort Worth Star Telegram and Harold Jackson from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

    Thank you, all four of you, for being with us.

    Robert Kittle, I'm going to start with you, the San Diego Union Tribune. You endorsed John McCain. Why?

  • ROBERT KITTLE, San Diego Union Tribune:

    Well, we based our endorsement, Judy, primarily on the economic policies that the two candidates espouse. And, frankly, we think that McCain's emphasis on tax cuts and on controlling spending are what are needed to get the economy moving again.

    And we are troubled by the tax increases that Barack Obama has advocated. He wants to increase the capital gains tax, which is particularly hurtful to businesses and to job growth, and his general emphasis on taxing the wealthy to redistribute wealth.

    I think the emphasis ought to be on spurring the economy broadly to generate more wealth across the board. So it was really on the economic issues that we based our endorsement.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Now, J.R. Labbe, Fort Worth Star Telegram, you were one of, what, 43 newspapers so far around the country that endorsed George W. Bush in 2004, but have gone to the Democrats this year. Why?

  • J.R. LABBE, Fort Worth Star Telegram:

    It wasn't an easy decision, Judy, but we approached this recommendation by looking at five areas that the newspaper had historically weighed in on, issues like the economy, energy, tax policy, health care, immigration entitlements.

    And by looking at both men's policy stands, we felt that Obama's more closely tracked where we had been on those issues.

    Beyond that, we felt very strongly that McCain may have made a short-time tactical stroke with his selection of Sarah Palin, but strategically long term we believe that that was a mistake.

    Her sell-by date came and went fairly quickly for us. While it energized the Republican base to get the voters out that they need, we really didn't think she had the readiness to be the number-two in this nation should something happen to the commander-in-chief.

    And that was important to us, but it was not an easy decision, in a county that is the reddest of the red in Texas and second only to Orange County in its Republicanism.

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