The two national frontrunners won the endorsement of the New York Times (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
(CNN) - The New York Times is endorsing hometown senator Hillary Clinton, but picked Republican John McCain over former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, for their party's presidential nominations in editorials published on the paper's Web site Thursday night, moments before the Republican presidential debate in Florida began.
The editorial board - which frequently clashed with Giuliani during his two mayoral terms - devoted the heart of its endorsement of McCain to a brutal repudiation of the New York Republican. "The real Mr. Giuliani, whom many New Yorkers came to know and mistrust, is a narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man who saw no need to limit police power. ...Mr. Giuliani’s arrogance and bad judgment are breathtaking.
"The Rudolph Giuliani of 2008 first shamelessly turned the horror of 9/11 into a lucrative business, with a secret client list, then exploited his city’s and the country’s nightmare to promote his presidential campaign."
The paper said it disagreed with McCain over many issues but that "with a record of working across the aisle to develop sound bipartisan legislation, he would offer a choice to a broader range of Americans than the rest of the Republican field."
On the Democratic side, the Times called Clinton "the best choice for the Democratic Party as it tries to regain the White House."
It said Barack Obama had built an "exciting campaign around the notion of change, but holds no monopoly on ideas that would repair the governing of America."
Clinton, wrote the editorial board, "sometimes overstates the importance of résumé," but "hearing her talk about the presidency, her policies and answers for America’s big problems, we are hugely impressed by the depth of her knowledge, by the force of her intellect and by the breadth of, yes, her experience.
"We know that she is capable of both uniting and leading."
The Times, which backed Clinton in both her 2000 and 2006 Senate bids, also urged her to "take the lead in changing the tone of the campaign."
New York's voters head to the polls on Super Tuesday, February 5.
UPDATE: Shortly after the endorsement was posted, several opposing campaigns, including Rudy Giuliani's, issued releases highlighting it - since the support of the paper's liberal editorial board is not necessarily a helpful one for a GOP presidential candidate.
The Giuliani campaign even included a link to the article - despite the piece's attacks on the former mayor and his record.