The Quad-City Times, Davenport, IA
Also endorsed Sen. John McCain on the same day. 

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Clinton  passes test

Hillary Clinton passes test after test after test. This Clinton arrived for the caucus campaign with much, much more experience than the first Clinton to stump across Iowa. In campaign speeches and in an interview with the Times Editorial Board, she spoke passionately of people — specific, real people — whose stories drive her desire to solve problems. “I was brought up to believe we were the problem solvers,” she told the editorial board. “If it was hard, that meant America would do it.”

This Clinton hasn’t shied away from problems.

As first lady, she stepped far beyond the traditional role and took on a major policy issue: health care. Washington special interests villified her for trying, branding any reform “socialized medicine” and even giving it her name: “Hillarycare.”

Regardless, she persevered, becoming an advocate for children worldwide and pioneering the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which has survived Republican and Democrat Congresses.

She passed perhaps the toughest personal test. Many Americans stand up for the sanctity of marriage. Hillary Clinton did something much harder. She very publicly stood up for her own marriage.

 She passed the New York voters’ tests. Twice. Rudy Giuliani backed away from challenging her to address his own health and marital problems. She went on to win and six years later won again by an even larger margin.

In the Senate, she’s worked across party lines to pass test after test and earn this testimonial: “This blue-state senator with a blue-state perspective has managed to build unusual political alliances on a variety of issues with Republicans.” That commendation was written for Time magazine by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who led the impeachment prosecution against her husband.

We tested her, too, in our editorial board interview, looking for evidence of the partisan rancor that is destroying our country. We found none. Instead, we found a proven, passionate, intelligent leader with a breadth of legislative and executive experience that is the best of a good bunch.

For Iowa’s Democratic caucuses, we support Hillary Clinton.

Read about and listen to excerpts of Sen. Clinton's meeting with the Times Editorial Board.

Democrat candidate notes

Barack Obama

The Obama phenomenon electrifies this caucus campaign and inspires thousands of young people to invest their time and hope in politics. Our conclusion after tough, tough discussions: Not yet.

Joe Biden

The Delaware senator stayed on our short list through the entire process. More than any other legislator, Biden exhudes an aura of a statesman.

John Edwards

The candidate who seemed to invest most in the Iowa caucus process won our heart, but not quite the endorsement. He’s ready for a fight in Washington. We’d prefer a less combative approach.

Chris Dodd

Intellect, congressional experience and a rich family tradition of public service encouraged our serious consideration of Dodd. In the end, we believe Dodd is too valuable in the Senate to risk a long-shot presidential run.

Bill Richardson

Richardson’s colloquial, candid and clear speech is different from every other candidate and builds instant rapport. His deep experience, however, still falls short of our favored candidate.

Copyright © 2007 The Quad-City Times, Davenport, IA.  All rights reserved.  Reprinted by permission (Mark Ridolfi 12/26/07).

Editorial Page Editor Mark Ridolfi provided the following observations:

Our edit board studied our newspaper's coverage and candidate surveys as well as many other sources.  I personally extended edit board invitations to members of every campaign in Iowa.  We met with Tom Vilsack, Sen. Joe Biden, Sen. Chris Dodd, Gov. Bill Richardson, John Edwards, Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama.  We also met with Mitt Romney, Sen. Sam Brownback and Gov. Mike Huckabee.

I never heard back from invitations hand delivered to staff members of Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson's campaigns.  Sen. John McCain's staff contacted us, but couldn't arrange a meeting in time to meet our deadlines.

Each of the meetings was recorded and presented to readers in a series of editorial roundtable discussions and video you can find on our Web site.

Our editorial board is:

Publisher Julie Bechtel
Retail advertising director Keely Byars
Editor Steve Thomas
Managing Editor Jan Touney
Associate Editor and columnist Bill Wundram
Rock Island News Editor and columnist Melissa Coulter
Community members John Wetzel and Kay Runge
Editorial Page Editor Mark Ridolfi

Also, you may be interested in an editorial page project  It's a team of high school and college journalists covering the caucus campaigns from the perspective of first time voters.  We included some first voters in some of the editorial board meetings.