Salmon Press

Thursday December 13, 2007

Sen. John McCain

Abraham Lincoln once observed that before you can become a statesman you have to get elected.

U.S. Sen. John McCain has the right stuff to become a statesman, indeed to become among our greatest presidents, but standing in his way is the prickly business of having to get elected. Once considered the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party, his presidential campaign stumbled in the early going -- in part because he refused to bend his principles -- but is now gaining some momentum. We hope that momentum continues, for in our judgment John McCain towers over his political rivals and is our unwavering choice in New Hampshire's Republican presidential primary next month.

Sen. McCain is a man of great depth and character. He has demonstrated an enormous capacity for growth over his political career and his military record is truly heroic -- in stark contrast to those of his opponents. As a congressman and senator from Arizona he has exhibited the ability to attract both sides of the political aisle. And yet he is a conservative in the best sense of the word: principled, unwilling to cave for political gain and an unbowed enemy of wasteful spending. His experience in foreign affairs and in military issues is unmatched in the field.

Sen. McCain's support in Iowa is anemic, mostly because he correctly refuses to support the ludicrous ethanol subsidies currently enjoyed by Iowa farmers. Indeed, it is hard to imagine him stooping to the kind of pandering that has marked the candidacies of other Republican suitors, particularly that of Gov. Mitt Romney.

New Hampshire occupies a unique position in American politics. It is the only state in which presidential campaigns are run at the retail level, and because that is so, New Hampshire voters have exerted an enormous and historical influence over those who would occupy the White House.

Sen. McCain needs New Hampshire now. If he can win or show well here, his candidacy will not only survive but will thrive as Republicans finally grasp that they have a giant among them, one, who alone among Republicans, can defeat the Democratic nominee in what looms as a Democratic year.

Copyright © 2007 Salmon Press, LLC.  Reprinted by permission of the publisher (Rich Piatt Dec. 18, 2007 e-mail).

Salmon Press, based in Meredith, publishes 11 newspapers in New Hampshire with "a combined circulation of nearly 74,000 with readership in excess of 200,000 weekly."
The Littleton Courier, Coos County Democrat, The Berlin Reporter, The Granite State News, Carroll County Independent, Meredith News, Record Enterprise, Winnisquam Echo, Gilford Steamer, Baysider, and The Mountain Ear.

In his Dec. 18 e-mail publisher Rich Piatt wrote, "Endorsements are determined by myself and the owners Salmon Press based on who we think can best lead the country.  Along with track records, we consider many attributes - the most significant being the candidate's ability to communicate not only with the public at large, but within the political world in order to get things done."  Piatt wrote that he and Salmon Press owners met face to face with McCain, Romney and Clinton; reporters and editors with the group's papers did one on ones with most of the other candidates.