The Granite State News, The Carroll County Independent, Meredith News, The Plymouth Record Enterprise, The Rochester & Dover Times   Wednesday, January 12, 2000

In New Hampshire’s Presidential Primaries next month, we endorse the candidacies of Democrat Bill Bradley, the former United States Senator from New Jersey, and Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

Democrat Bill Bradley

Sen. Bradley has run an honorably aggressive campaign against Vice President Al Gore and in doing so has shown that he has a vision for America. Equally important in his campaign of authenticity, he has demonstrated that he, more than Vice President Gore, has the ability to have a discourse with the American people about what directions the country should take.

The bully pulpit that comes with the White House gives the right kind of President the chance to persuade the electorate, and that ability, said Harry Truman, one of our greatest Presidents, is the real power of the presidency.

There is nothing wrong with being a Washington insider. Our greatest Presidents – Washington, Lincoln, Franklin, Roosevelt and Truman – were all insiders to one degree or another, and the presidency of our most prominent outsider in this century – Jimmy Carter – was judged to be mediocre.

What side a candidate comes from – in or out– is far less important than his ability to lead. And Bill Bradley has the ability to lead, not by pounding the table and not by slick politicking but by clear, honest discourse.

We think him a profoundly decent man of great depth and intellect. His exploits on the basketball floor at Princeton and later with the N.Y. Knicks of the NBA were marvelous to behold but, as one friend going back to his days at Princeton recalled, “basketball was about one millionth of Bill Bradley.” We think he can best represent the Democratic Party because he wants to use the presidency for issues that Democrats care about: universal health care, significant gun control, a fairer tax system and an improved racial climate throughout the country.

Lyndon Johnson, when strategizing how to push through the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965, was counseled that he was trying to get too much done, that he would do better to lower his sights. He would do no such thing. What was the use of being President, he said, if the office wasn’t used to accomplish great things.

We believe that kind of thinking on a grand scale permeates the presidential ambitions of Bill Bradley.

Republican John McCain

As the 19th century evolved into the 20th, President Teddy Roosevelt stirred things up and forever changed the political landscape, hastening America’s transition into the modern era.

War hero, opponent of the “spoils system” as New York’s governor, trust-buster, “TR” fought to limit the corruption of politics by the big business interests.

Now, at the dawn of the 21st century, money again rules the presidential roost, and while John McCain may not be the man who will chase the moneychangers from the political temple, he at least seems willing to make a start at it. We support his candidacy for the Republican nomination for President of the United States.

McCain possesses the courage to fight for public welfare, the integrity to fight against political corruption and the character to stand up for what he believes in.

Courage – A couple of years ago Sen. McCain took a stand against tobacco companies even though it was fashionable within the GOP to ignore them. McCain simply pointed out that smoking and health-related issues have a financial impact on every citizen through increased health insurance costs and federal Medicare funds needed to treat tobacco-induced illnesses.

Integrity – Sen. McCain is the only GOP candidate in favor of campaign finance reform. Admitting that he himself is tainted by questionable contributions in the past, he wants to end legalized political bribery.

Character – Sen. McCain tends to ignore the grim chapter in his life when he was a prisoner during the Vietnam War. That experience likely did more to mold his presidential character than any other. He not only endured the torments with his sanity intact, but  went on to a remarkable career of public service. He learned about foreign policy at the grim, gritty personal level; he is no isolationist.

John McCain is not another “TR” – they broke the mold with that one – but he bids fair to help this nation create a sensible course into the new century. He is the most qualified among the GOP field to lead us as President. The alternative is more business – as depressing as usual – in Washington, D.C.

Copyright 2000, Salmon Press, Inc.