(CNN) – Barack Obama and John McCain Friday won the backing of the Los Angeles Times, one of the most-read newspapers in the United States and most influential in delegate-rich California.
In separate editorials, the paper praised Obama as an "inspiring leader who cuts through typical internecine campaign bickering," and McCain as a consistent conservative with "fundamental individualism."
Both presidential endorsements are the paper’s first since 1972.
"[Obama] electrifies young voters, not because he is young but because he embodies the desire to move to the next chapter of the American story," the editorial read. "He brings with him deep knowledge on foreign relations and on this nation's particular struggles with identity and opportunity. His flair for expression, both in print and on the stump, too easily leads observers to forget that Obama is a man not just of style but of substance."
The paper also praised Hillary Clinton, but faulted the New York senator for her original Senate vote authorizing use of force in Iraq.
"Experience has value only if it is accompanied by courage and leads to judgment. Nowhere was that judgment more needed than in 2003, when Congress was called upon to accept or reject the disastrous Iraq invasion. Clinton faced a test and failed, joining the stampede as Congress voted to authorize war," the editorial read.
On John McCain, the liberal editorial board noted it disagrees with many of his stands on social issues, but wrote, "The Arizona senator's conservatism is, if not always to our liking, at least genuine.
"It reflects his fundamental individualism, spanning his distrust of big government, his support for immigration reform and his insistence on a sound American foreign policy," the editorial read.
California voters head to the polls Super Tuesday, February 5.
– CNN Producer Alexander Mooney