WASHINGTON (CNN) - John McCain and Hillary Clinton both picked up primary endorsements from New Hampshire’s Concord Monitor this weekend.
“Earlier in the campaign, when McCain was being counted out, a consultant might have urged a makeover: Lose the moral compass on torture and immigration, ditch the vision for a turnaround in Iraq,” the paper said in a Saturday editorial.
“Not a chance. John McCain held on to his principles and defended them with dignity. New Hampshire residents who vote in the Republican primary should reward that integrity with their votes.”
The Arizona senator has gotten similar nods from almost two dozen Granite State papers. Earlier this week, the Monitor took aim at his chief Republican rival in the state, Mitt Romney, giving the former Massachusetts governor a rare “anti-endorsement.” The two men are just a few points apart in most recent Granite State polls.
The Monitor’s editorial board said Hillary Clinton got their backing because her “unique combination of smarts, experience and toughness makes her the best choice to win the November election and truly get things done.”
“Clinton's ambitious to-do list for her first few weeks in office gives us confidence that her priorities are right and that she would act swiftly to make a positive difference,” the board wrote in an excerpt of its Sunday editorial posted on the paper’s Web site Saturday.
But the board also praised her Democratic rivals, noting “Joe Biden's pragmatic foreign policy” and “John Edwards's insistence that we pay attention to the poorest Americans.”
Barack Obama, who is statistically tied with Clinton in most recent New Hampshire polls, earned high marks from the board. Obama, “more than most, has the power to inspire. The positive tone of his campaign is not a gimmick. He is a serious candidate with sober ideas. For reasons symbolic and substantive, he would also be a nominee Democrats could feel proud to vote for,” they wrote.
New Hampshire’s voters head to the polls January 8.
–CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand