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Times editorial page to resume presidential endorsements

The Editorial Board of the Los Angeles Times has decided to end a 36-year tradition and resume editorial endorsements of candidates for president, for both parties in the upcoming California primary and a separate choice later for the November general election.

The endorsement selection for each party in the primary races will be published on the editorial page on an as-yet-undetermined date before the Feb. 5 California primary, according to Jim Newton, editorial page editor.

In recent months and days, the board, which is headed by Publisher David Hiller, has been meeting in private, off-the-record sessions with the candidates. Newton said that by publication date, the board will have met with "nearly all" the current candidates.

Because the sessions were off-the-record conversations designed....

solely to inform the board in its decision-making, he declined to name which candidates had been interviewed. However, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were seen entering and leaving the editorial board room in recent days. Clinton also toured the newsroom.

The Times news department, including political reporters, editors and bloggers, were excluded from these sessions, Newton said, to avoid the appearance that any news personnel are involved in the editorial page's endorsement process. The newspaper's editorial page has routinely endorsed candidates and issues for local, state and federal office, except the nation's chief executive.

The last time The Times editorially endorsed a presidential candidate was Richard Nixon in 1972. Through that year, the newspaper's presidential endorsement process was, shall we say, fairly predictable. Whoever was the Republican candidate got the nod in print. The 126-year-old newspaper has never endorsed a Democrat for president.

--Andrew Malcolm 

Comments () | Archives (19)

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I'm just gonna take a wild guess and say the Times will endorse a Democrat in November.

What are the chances?

"The 126-year-old newspaper has never endorsed a Democrat for president."

Yet. Go Obama!

Ron Paul. Ron Paul. Ron Paul.

And in November when it's a 4 candidate race between Bloomberg, Clinton, McCain and Paul?

Ron Paul!

The Los Angeles Times should endorse the only candidate whose record is consistent, whose integrity is solid, and whose ability to unite the American people to create substantive, positive change from politics as usual: Senator Barack Obama.

Just as a wild guess, I'll bet that the 'nearly all' of the current candidates that have been interviewed by the editorial board won't include Kuchinich or Ron Paul.

It might be interesting to find out exactly HOW they are choosing which candidate to endorse... any chance on an expose?

The Times endorsement is risking a lot in the Democratic race. Previously endorsing no political experienced Arnold Schwarzenegger for Governor.

This Presidential election has that code word, experience. Hillary claims 35 years but not one day as CEO. If the debate is focused only on Senators experience, who wins? It's an even race to me that way between Hillary, Obama and Edwards.

Hillary has First Lady experience. John Edwards has former Vice President Candidate experience. John Kerry and he got 59 million votes.

Obama claimes his social cause experience in Illinois legislation, working with Democrats and Republicans accomplishing goals in a non partisan way.

Primary voting is showing Democrats, Independents and Republican minded are voting for Obama.

Washington is gridlocked with partisan views. Hillary wants to battle Republicans in a partisan way. When she's fails to pass bills, Congress will flip back to Republican majority again in 2010. Republicans can act partisan now and it can get worse.

Senate Democrats led by Harry Reid aren't able to win Republicans to their side. He won't be majority leader for long. His son working for the Hillary campaign will be responsible for his downfall if she wins the Presidency.

Endorsement of Hillary and the Republican candidate, the Times better forecast how those Presidential debates will go. GOP will hammer Hillary and Bill about the 90's and their failed White House policies.

Haven't the Clinton's pardoned enough people? Hillary's brother was pimping access to pardons and making big cash doing it.

A lot of things have to be weighed in this decision on the Democratic side.

Bill with a job in the White House again. He lied under Oath. He fails the background check to get any job in the White House, on that reason alone.

Getting a job in the White House is about truth. No one in the White House should be lying or has lied about their behaviour.

Bill and Hillary are experienced, we lived in the 90's. The world has experienced their diplomacy. Why would the world want to revisit them again? Bill's international policies weren't that great. He was distracted with investigations in his personal life.

Gender is playing a part. It's a given, Hillary' s Presidency will be an advancement for women. But she's a Clinton and America is repeating its politicians in the White House between two families.


This country has plenty of qualified challengers yet we're stuck on repeating politicians. The world looks at America and will distrust us even more. We've had 12 years under Bush rules. Voters of Hillary are saying they want 12 years under Clinton's.

That's nuts!

Obama has enough experience to be President of the United States. So does Edwards. We can make a change from past partisan politics that are stifling Congress.

We must hope the next President can bridge some division between the parties so legislation can pass.

Which candidate has the chance to do that Obama or Edwards?

The Times decision on the Democratic side has to deny Hillary because of Bill. He lied under Oath, that ends his bid to be in the White House again.

For all the biased coverage the Times has done in the past against the interestes of African-Americans and Latinos, it would behoove your editorial board to join the historical movement and endorse a visionary man who can actually unite this country...the candidate for real change...Barak Obama!

Do the right thing!

(FYI, this isn't the place to tell the totally separate Editorial Board what you think. Try:
Thanks for reading us though.)


The Times decision to endorse is an indication of how important this election result is going to be.

I hope that Top Of The Ticket can stay unbiased.

(We'll be going after everybody who's left, count on it. Equal opportunity offender. Thanks for being a regular, Tony.)

My guess, with how you are covering the 2008 political race so far, that you will endorse Clinton. Bad Choice!!!

A little bird mentioned your paper would be endorsing. How I HOPE the Times steps up and hits this endorsement out of the park...

I'll end this by saying Yes.We.Can. in California!

In 1976, the Times said that it would only endorse candidates for President, US Senate and Governor if there were extraordinary circumstances. In 1976, the Times did endorse John Tunney, the Democratic incumbent, for US Senate. In later years (1990's??), the Times again began to endorse candidates for Governor and Senate. In 1976, the speculation was that the Times did not want to endorse a Democrat for President given the historical Republican leanings of the Chandler family.

Also, in 1972, Otis Chandler did allow a letter to the editor to be published endorsing George McGovern for President signed by over 100 Times writers.

(Thanks, Fred. That's well before my time. You're probably right. I know they've been endorsing for all other offices for many years. Thanks for reading.)

The LA Times needs to do the RIGHT THING and endorse Barack Obama. He is by far the most honest candidate that will bring true change to Washington. If Hillary is elected, she would continue the Bush-Clinton dynasty. What kind of a message and what kind of a change is that?

PLEASE make the right choice at the right time. The time for Barack Obama is NOW!

(Appreciate your opinion on the newspaper's endorsement. But this is a blog. It has nothing to do with the Editorial Board or its decision. So please address your endorsement urgings to it at )

I’m confident David Hiller will look at Ron Paul’s 20 year voting record summarized below and will instantly endorse Ron Paul!

Ron Paul has never voted to raise taxes.
He has never voted for an unbalanced budget.
He hasn’t voted to raise congressional pay.
He hasn’t voted to increase the power of the executive branch.
He voted against regulating the Internet.
He doesn’t participate in the lucrative congressional pension program.

This video should seal the endorsement:

David Hiller - Come Join the Revolution! - Everybody’s invited - Vote Ron Paul!

I urge the LA Times to vote for the only candidate who has inspired people this electoral season and that candidate is Barack Obama!

The real Uniter is Obama. We are riding the wave, and the whole world is watching us take back our country!

Experience trumps flowery rhetoric. Vote for progress and stability.

Vote for Hillary!

With Barack Obama we have the opportunity to elect a President with excellent leadership qualities, solid character and sound judgment. I, too, hope the LA Times will do the right thing and endorse Senator Barack Obama!

With so much in flux on the Democratic side, I think this endorsement will carry particular weight. Barack Obama has truly risen to this position on his own merits; he's in that respect in the same mold as a Lincoln or a Teddy Roosevelt. My guess is that if Hillary Clinton hadn't married Bill we would never have heard of her. She's bright and hardworking no doubt but you'd think we'd have learned the lesson that electing people with familiar last names is a mistake. There is a place where being First Lady is qualification to be President. It's called Argentina. I hope the LA Times will bravely endorse Senator Obama.

Dear Congressman,

I know someone famous said that the "root of all evil was money". Now I know that the health care has a root, and money as well as power has a lot to do with it.
There are in my opinion too many Congressmen influenced by their campaign contributors and lobbyists than by the people they're supposed to represent.
This is what I call "A government of the highest bidder, by the highest bidder, for the highest bidder". Doesn't sound Constitututional. "Lobbying" should be outlawed. If someone wants to promote an adgenda to his own Representative or Senator in a recorded and publicized communication, good, that's his right. If he wants to promote an agenda outside of his district or State, he should have to plead to the public, not their representatives.

"Campaign Contributions" should be held in an account and all elligible candidates should get an even cut. All candidates should get equal time in all media. I'm sure more than once the best candidate for the job was neither a Republican or a Democrat. Goerge Bush said campaign reform was in violation of freedom of speech. What about the freedom of speech for the Reform, Libetarian, Green etc. parties?Contributions should go the system, not the candidate. The people need to here from all of them equally.

I see this government is broken and nothing what the founding fathers had in mind, and I think most of the country agrees with me. It's in complete gridlock. It's no wonder a majority of citizens don't bother to vote.This is a country of sinics, and I'm one of them.

Abe thought a government "Of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth". I get the impression from my own government that sentiment is not worth the cyberspace it's written on.

Pete Van Ammers


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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