Over the last few days, Democrat Barack Obama racked up a bevy of newspaper endorsements that, as much as they praised him, soured on Republican John McCain.
"We believe the person best equipped by temperament and intellect to firmly grasp the reins of government and guide it safely forward in these uncertain times is Barack Obama," said the Toledo Blade.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch opined that Obama "has emerged as the only truly transformative candidate in the race. In the crucible that is a presidential campaign, his intellect, his temperament and equanimity under pressure consistently have been impressive. He has surrounded himself with smart, capable advisers who have helped him refine thorough, nuanced policy positions. In a word, Mr. Obama has been presidential."
"Meanwhile, Mr. McCain, the senior senator from Arizona, became the incredible shrinking man," the Post-Dispatch added. "He shrank from his principled stands in favor of a humane immigration policy. He shrank from his universal condemnation of torture and his condemnation of the politics of smear. He even shrank from his own campaign slogan, 'Country First,' by selecting the least qualified running mate since the Swedenborgian shipbuilder Arthur Sewall ran as William Jennings Bryan's No. 2 in 1896."
The Dayton Daily News complained that "Sen. McCain's campaign has been as disappointing as his move toward party orthodoxy. More than his opponent, he has run a relentless stream of commercials that have been discredited by nonpartisan fact-checkers. (Last week, all his ads were negative.) He has articulated no vision for the country other than to suggest that it should believe in him as an individual, as a war hero of independent judgment. His selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate was stunning. She is shockingly lacking in presidential qualifications. Some of Sen. McCain's most enthusiastic supporters have been forced to admit this. Her defenders say her resume compares well with Sen. Obama's, but it does not… [I]n a time of change, Sen. Obama is the more promising leader. With his agile mind, often pitch-perfect judgment and preternatural calm and self-confidence, he seems built for the job of sorting through this thing, if anybody can."
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the State Journal in Madison, Wisc., were among other papers backing Obama.
Meanwhile, McCain picked up the support of the Foster's Daily Democrat in New Hampshire:
"There are two reasons to vote for John McCain on Nov. 4 -- who he is and what he stands for. First, John McCain the person. Sen. McCain's history of public service and devotion to country cuts across all political and socio-economic lines. His collective life experiences touch the broadest range of the American electorate. Within John McCain's background is something with which nearly everyone can find a kinship.... John McCain is a person who possesses the wisdom that only years and experiences can engender. He has conquered the foibles of youth and battled the challenges of adult life, far more so than Sen. Obama.
"Then there is what John McCain stands for," the paper said, citing gun control, the US Constitution, healthcare, the economy, and national security. "John McCain also knows that this election cannot and must not be about class warfare. History has shown that those who pit class against class only harm the country they pretend to protect."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.