BOSTON — The Boston Globe's editorial board has endorsed Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain ahead of the New Hampshire presidential primary and the Iowa caucus, while the Des Moines Register gave its nod to McCain and Sen. Hillary Clinton, the newspapers reported Saturday.
The Register, Iowa's statewide newspaper, called McCain and Clinton the candidates it believes are most competent and ready to lead.
"The times call for two essential qualities in the next American president," the Register's editorial board said on the paper's Web site. "The times call for competence. Americans want their government to work again. The times call for readiness to lead. Americans want their country to do great things again."
According to the Globe's editorial board, McCain "has done more than his share to transcend partisanship and promote an honest discussion of the problems facing the United States," while Obama fulfills America's need for "a president with an intuitive sense of the wider world."
The Globe said Obama's diverse and international life experience helped the Illinois Democrat develop a unique perspective of the world.
"The most sobering challenges that face this country — terrorism, climate change, disease pandemics — are global," the board said in early excerpts of its endorsement. "America needs a president with an intuitive sense of the wider world, with all its perils and opportunities. Barack Obama has this understanding at his core."
Obama's relative lack of Washington experience may enable him to explore creative solutions to national problems, according to the Globe's endorsement.
"It is true that all the other Democratic contenders have more conventional resumes, and have spent more time in Washington," the board wrote. "But that exposure has tended to give them a sense of government's constraints. Obama is more open to its possibilities."
The Register, however, placed a different value on experience — or the perceived lack thereof.
Video: Shifting strategies on campaign trail "Readiness to lead sets [Clinton] apart from a constellation of possible stars in her party, particularly Barack Obama, who also demonstrates the potential to be a fine president," the newspaper's endorsement editorial concludes. "When Obama speaks before a crowd, he can be more inspirational than Clinton. Yet, with his relative inexperience, it's hard to feel as confident he could accomplish the daunting agenda that lies ahead."
The Register has a track record of backing the losing Democratic candidate in the Iowa caucuses.
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In 1988 it supported Sen. Paul Simon who lost to Rep. Dick Gephardt. In 2000 it backed Bill Bradley who lost by a wide margin to Al Gore.
Four years ago the Register endorsed Edwards who finished a strong second to Sen. John Kerry in the caucuses.
McCain earns points for straight talk
The Globe's editorial board praised McCain as a straight talker whose honesty, despite the political cost, might help a polarized nation. The board described the Arizona Republican as a possible antidote to the "toxic political approach" of the last two presidential elections.
"McCain's views differ from those of this editorial page in a variety of ways. Yet McCain's honesty has served him well," the board wrote. "As a lawmaker and as a candidate, he has done more than his share to transcend partisanship and promote an honest discussion of the problems facing the United States. He deserves the opportunity to represent his party in November's election."
The Globe also endorsed McCain before the New Hampshire primary in 2000.
The Associated Press and msnbc.com's Tom Curry contributed to this report.