WASHINGTON — The New York Times’ editorial board on Saturday endorsed Hillary Clinton and John Kasich for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations, a potential boost for the candidates two days before the Iowa caucuses.
The Times said it picked Clinton over her top rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, due to her experience and policy ideas. It also cast doubt on Sanders’ ability to enact several of his key policies, including breaking up large banks and creating a Medicare-for-all health care plan.
“Hillary Clinton is the right choice for the Democrats to present a vision for America that is radically different from the one that leading Republican candidates offer — a vision in which middle-class Americans have a real shot at prosperity, women’s rights are enhanced, undocumented immigrants are given a chance at legitimacy, international alliances are nurtured and the country is kept safe,” the Times said.
The editorial board, however, expressed reservations about a no-fly zone in Syria, which Clinton has supported.
The Clinton campaign’s relationship with the Times has been troubled at times over the past year following the revelations that she maintained a private email server while leading the State Department.
In July, the campaign accused the paper of “egregious” errors and the “apparent abandonment of standard journalistic practices” after initially claiming that federal inspectors general had requested a criminal investigation into Clinton’s email use during her tenure at the State Department.
Clinton herself was not the target, and the case was not criminal.
A letter from the campaign asserted that the Times rushed the flawed story onto its website and front page despite “questionable sourcing,” and didn’t do enough to contact Clinton before publication.
Kasich, the governor of Ohio, deserves the Republican nod because he is “the only plausible choice for Republicans tired of the extremism and inexperience on display in this race,” the Times said. But, the paper contended, Kasich “is no moderate,” citing his battles with public-sector unions, support for limiting abortion rights and opposition to same-sex marriage.
“Still, as a veteran of partisan fights and bipartisan deals during nearly two decades in the House, he has been capable of compromise and believes in the ability of government to improve lives,” the Times wrote.
Kasich quickly tweeted his appreciation for the endorsement.
“Proud to have the support of the @nytimes – Together we can make America safer & stronger -John #Kasich4Us,” he said.
But in backing Kasich, the Times took swipes at the two candidates leading the Republican field, Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, saying they are “equally objectionable for different reasons.” The paper accused Trump of disingenuously making promises to his supporters to win their backing, while it charged Cruz with alienating his Senate colleagues and criticized his positions on Syria and taxes.