The Union Leader, New Hampshire’s only statewide newspaper, has endorsed Arizona Sen. John McCain for president in the Republican primary on Jan. 8.
In a front page editorial Sunday, publisher Joseph McQuaid said the newspaper doesn’t agree with McCain on everything, especially his ideas on campaign finance reform. But McQuaid said the paper found McCain’s character compelling, noting his courage as a prisoner during the Vietnamese war.
It’s an important endorsement, but although winning the New Hampshire primary is helpful, McCain said it’s not necessary
“Since 1980, the person who has won, either party, two of the first three primaries – South Carolina, Iowa and New Hampshire – has been the nominee of the party,” he told Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer. “I’m very appreciative of The Union Leader endorsement. Joe McQuaid is a tough guy and a tough guy to please, as a matter of fact.”
McQuaid said McCain can be trusted to make informed decisions based on the best interests of the country.
“Competence, courage and conviction are enormously important for our next president to possess. No one has a better understanding of U.S. interests and dangers right now than does McCain,” McQuaid wrote. “He was right on the mistakes made by the Bush administration in prosecuting the Islamic terrorist war in Iraq and he is being proved right on the way forward both there and worldwide.”
The newspaper generally favors conservative Republicans in its editorials. But even though he received the highly coveted endorsement, McCain says he can’t let up in New Hampshire.
“People expect to see you and we’re working hard there,” he said.
A new poll finds that former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has taken the lead in Iowa over former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, but McCain says he and his team are still ready to put up a fight in that state.
“We have a very good organization in Iowa,” he said. “We have a very strong organization there and I’m trying to continue to make headway. We’re going to be out there the 12th, 13th. There’s a – I think a Des Moines Register debate, and we’ll keep working there.”
In The Washington Post, David Broder speculated Huckabee and McCain could make a winning ticket for the Republicans. McCain said it’s a little early for him to be thinking about a running-mate.
“But he certainly brings a lot to the table,” McCain said. “But that decision is something that, after I win the nomination, I’ll come on this show and we’ll go through the various attributes of a lot of good people.”