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

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Time for a real hero

John McCain’s “Straight Talk Express” plows through where other Republicans steer clear.

Mitt Romney addresses the deficit by exhorting Republicans to “stop acting like Democrats.” McCain doesn’t resort to name calling. He sets it straight: “Republicans lost the last election, not because of Iraq ...” he told a crowd in Davenport. “We lost it because of spending... We presided over the largest increase in government since the Great Society.”

Rudy Giuliani hedges on torture and seeks definitions of waterboarding. McCain clearly says “no” to torture.

Fred Thompson jokes about alien SUVs when asked about global warming. McCain says he’s seen the evidence of climate change on trips to both poles. For those who choose to ignore science, McCain offers this compelling, bipartisan appeal: We owe our children a better planet.

On immigration and campaign finance reform, McCain talks like a problem solver, not an idealogue.

His faith, he has said repeatedly, is a matter between him and his maker. Look for evidence of it in his actions, not campaign speeches.

Those rambling, stream-of-consciousness speeches won’t win a rhetoric prize. They simply offer clear insight into a leader whose life experiences, personally, politically and heroically, have tested his mettle for the nation’s top job.

We disagree with the senator’s stance on the war. We believe he’d be wrong to pull ethanol subsidies, at least right away. But at this critical point in history, America can benefit from an honorable man with a hero’s record.

He’s survived tough opposition and deplorable campaign tactics, particularly some from his own party. Yet he’s never taken the bait.

For Iowa’s Republican caucuses, we support John McCain.

GOP candidate notes

Mike Huckabee

Affable, genuine and surprisingly self-effacing for a politician, this Arkansas governor impressed us with a humble faith rooted in service, not judgment. But his decision to put faith at the forefront of the campaign unnecessarily distances millions of good Americans who may share his politics and compassion, but from a different faith.

Mitt Romney

Romney excelled in business by perfecting the craft of leverage buyouts, a boon to shareholders and a bust for many American job holders. As a governor, he showed deft leadership and compromise. As a presidential candidate, he’s abandoned too many of the core beliefs that helped him win election as governor.

Ron Paul

We’ve enjoyed this Libertarian’s shake up of the presidential race and commend him for bringing more voters into this campaign. Paul’s unyielding beliefs, particularly his absolute belief the U.S. has no global leadership role, is dangerous for America and the world.

Rudy Giuliani

The Mayor’s prosecutorial skills served well in fighting crime and responding to 9/11. The White House requires a significantly broader skill set.

Fred Thompson

Thompson walked away from politics once to focus on a new family and an acting and lobbyist career. He has earned millions as a lobbyist and in the past 36 months, accepted three-quarters of a million dollars to lobby for insurance interests. That’s not the kind of experience that can liberate government from special interests.

Copyright © 2007 The Quad-City Times, Davenport, IA.  All rights reserved.   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.