McCain received a major endorsement from an influential New Hampshire newspaper on Sunday.
(CNN)–GOP presidential hopeful John McCain received a major endorsement of his candidacy Sunday, from the New Hampshire Union Leader, New Hampshire's largest and most influential newspaper.
"We don't agree with him on every issue. We disagree with him strongly on campaign finance reform," the paper wrote in its Sunday edition. "What is most compelling about McCain, however, is that his record, his character, and his courage show him to be the most trustworthy, competent, and conservative of all those seeking the nomination. Simply put, McCain can be trusted to make informed decisions based on the best interests of his country, come hell or high water."
The newspaper's traditionally conservative editorial page is influential to the state's Republican primary voters who vote in the first Republican primary on the presidential nominating calendar. The endorsement is among the most coveted and sought after of the candidates in the GOP field each election cycle.
The endorsement appeared on the front page of the newspaper's Sunday edition.
The paper went on to say McCain, in their view, was the most qualified, and ready to lead 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," the paper said. "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 paper also noted McCain's time as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam war, and the torture he endured at the hands of his captors after being shot down, saying "he never gave in then, and he won't give in to our enemies now."
"I am honored to receive the endorsement of the New Hampshire Union Leader, the only statewide newspaper in the Granite State," McCain said in a statement released by his campaign. "It is yet another indication that I have the momentum to win the first-in-the-nation primary. New Hampshire voters deserve straight talk, and it is a privilege to answer their questions in living rooms and town hall meetings across the state."
"I alone have the experience, knowledge and judgment to lead as commander in chief from day one, and my candidacy will rally the Reagan coalition to win a great victory next November," McCain said.
New Hampshire will hold the nation's first primary in the race for the 2008 Democratic and Republican presidential nominations on January 8th. They will follow Iowa's first in the nation caucuses on January 3rd.
McCain is scheduled to campaign in New Hampshire on Monday.
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-CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford