For the first time since backing Richard Nixon in 1972, the Los Angeles Times editorial board has publicly endorsed a candidate for president. It's also the first time ever that the paper endorsed a Democrat for the White House. From the editorial in Sunday's paper, posted online earlier today:
It is inherent in the American character to aspire to greatness, so it can be disorienting when the nation stumbles or loses confidence in bedrock principles or institutions. That's where the United States is as it prepares to select a new president....
We need a leader who demonstrates thoughtful calm and grace under pressure, one not prone to volatile gesture or capricious pronouncement. We need a leader well-grounded in the intellectual and legal foundations of American freedom. Yet we ask that the same person also possess the spark and passion to inspire the best within us: creativity, generosity and a fierce defense of justice and liberty.
The Times without hesitation endorses Barack Obama for president.
The Times signaled In 2006 that it would drop the no-endorsement policy that came in after staffers objected to the Nixon endorsement. In George W. Bush, the paper says, "the executive branch turned its back on an adult role in the nation and the world and retreated into self-absorbed unilateralism." As for John McCain, who the paper endorsed in the Republican primary, the LAT says he changed his stripes so much to run for president as to be "nearly unrecognizable," and the paper calls the choice of Sarah Palin as VP candidate bad enough to raises questions about McCain's judgment: "as a short-term political tactic, brilliant. It was also irresponsible, as Palin is the most unqualified vice presidential nominee of a major party in living memory." It's at 591 comments and counting on LATimes.com.