(CNN) - Barack Obama scored three high-profile newspaper endorsements Friday, including two from papers that have never endorsed a Democratic presidential candidate before.
The Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and The Washington Post all praised Obama's handling of the grueling presidential campaign and the historical nature of his candidacy as the first African American to be the nominee for a major political party. It's the first time either the Times or the Tribune, Obama's historically conservative hometown newspaper, has endorsed a Democrat for the White House.
"The excitement of Obama's early campaign was amplified by that newness," wrote the Times, which hasn't endorsed a presidential candidate since 1972. "But as the presidential race draws to its conclusion, it is Obama's character and temperament that come to the fore. It is his steadiness. His maturity. These are qualities American leadership has sorely lacked for close to a decade."
"We have tremendous confidence in his intellectual rigor, his moral compass and his ability to make sound, thoughtful, careful decisions. He is ready," wrote the Tribune, originally led by founding members of the Republican Party. "The change that Obama talks about so much is not simply a change in this policy or that one. It is not fundamentally about lobbyists or Washington insiders. Obama envisions a change in the way we deal with one another in politics and government.
"Mr. Obama is a man of supple intelligence, with a nuanced grasp of complex issues and evident skill at conciliation and consensus-building," The post, which has a history of endorsing Democrats said.
With 18 days remaining before Election Day, more newspaper are expected to weigh in on the presidential race.
But it remains unclear if newspaper endorsements translates into a White House win. According to the newspaper trade magazine Editor and Publisher, John Kerry's losing 2004 presidential bid was endorsed by 211 newspapers while President Bush's successful campaign had the backing of 197. However, the president did win the backing of more key newspapers in the crucial presidential battlegrounds that propelled him to victory.
It is likely then that the endorsements of local papers in key states such as Missouri, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Colorado will have a greater impact than those of the Times, Post, and Tribune.