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Times editorial page to resume presidential endorsements

January 22, 2008 |  9:12 am

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