The Sunday Telegraph (Nashua, NH)   Sunday, January 23, 2000

McCain, Bradley best picks for primary nominations

    Presidential candidates have said their all as they’ve trooped through New Hampshire these past many months.

    After taking the measure of each, we endorse the candidacy of John McCain for the Republican Party’s nomination and Bill Bradley’s for the Democratic Party.

    We endorse Bradley and McCain to send a message.

    Both men promise to tackle one of the political system’s worst features: the vast system of campaign financing that amounts to shameless influence peddling.

    It’s time someone tackles that conduit of rot that so taints our political system.  Neither McCain nor Bradley may have the perfect solution, but they are at least willing to put the issue on the table and attempt serious reform. Their rise in the eyes of New Hampshire residents these past few months is testimony to the desire for reform.

    Each candidate knows how the system works – McCain is a senator and Bradley a former member of the Senate.  Both have solicited campaign money and both continue to do so as they campaign for president because there presently isn’t any other way to raise the huge sums needed for a national candidacy.  They’ve seen close up how campaign contributions distort the system, they’ve benefited from such a system and they’ve pledged to do something about political fund raising.

    Both also offer a vision of leadership for their party and for the White House that is a refreshing departure from their opponents.  They are less wedded to the status quo.

    We disagree with some of their positions, but on the whole they have addressed issues close to the electorate. And instead of pandering with promises of sweeping tax cuts, they have focused on shoring up Social Security and other social needs.  We like their forthrightness.

    They speak their mind at the risk of alienating big segments of voters.  Bradley has ideas for improving health care in this country and has gone so far as to recommend registration of all handguns, a form of gun control few other candidates would be so bold to propose as a way to dampen the growing violence in America.

    Both the Bradley and McCain candidacies are long shots – in fact, they may bow out before the long and costly primary process is over.  But so far their message has been well received in New Hampshire and it deserves to be heard in more states.

    Of the two, McCain is conservative and viewed as his party’s maverick.  Bradley, the liberal, comes off as a deep thinker who has enough exposure as a former Capitol Hill insider to know how things get done in Congress. Both are men of vision.

    On Feb. 1, New Hampshire would do well to send America the message that McCain would be the best shot for Republicans who yearn for one of their own in the White House.  Bradley as a Democratic nominee would be a strong candidate to help his party retain control of the Oval Office.

    Bradley and McCain have been good for New Hampshire and New Hampshire has been good for them.  They came here with messages of reform.  They arrived underdogs.  They will leave with New Hampshire’s message to the nation: Reformers with a passion to get things done are what this country needs.

        In the long run a McCain-Bradley tossup in November would be the ideal race.  Americans would be given a challenging choice between two men of integrity, a liberal and a conservative, who truly want to change "business as usual" and the status quo in the nation’s power circles.

        The candidacies and messages of McCain and Bradley are good for New Hampshire ... and America.

Reprinted with Permission of the Telegraph.  All rights reserved.