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Clinton, McCain Backed by 'Des Moines Register'

Presidential hopefuls John McCain and Hillary Clinton received some good news over the weekend in Iowa. With less than three weeks to go before the primary caucuses there, each was endorsed by the state's largest newspaper, the Des Moines Register.

The backing of the paper is the best news in weeks for Clinton, as she battles for Iowa's delegates with Democratic rivals Barack Obama and John Edwards.

For McCain, the endorsement comes despite the fact that he is running well back in the Republican field in Iowa and has put little effort into the state.

McCain — once seen as a front-runner for his party's presidential nomination — has had an unexpectedly difficult year. He has been short on money and long on controversy, with a campaign that has tried to focus on his leadership abilities and his willingness to take on vested interests in Washington.

He continues to lag in the polls nationally and in early voting states. In Iowa, McCain draws support in the single digits and is running in fifth place. But he has been getting a lot of support from editorial boards, such as the endorsement from the Register.

Bypassing new front-runner Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney, who has spent a tremendous amount of time and resources in Iowa, the newspaper said McCain could rebuild trust at home and abroad.

But the endorsement defies conventional wisdom. McCain has spent relatively little time and money in Iowa. Also, he is known to oppose something near to many in the farming state — federal subsidies for ethanol production.

McCain's good fortune over the weekend extended beyond Iowa. He also won backing Sunday from The Boston Globe, which is widely read in New Hampshire — which will have the nation's first primary Jan. 8. He also got an endorsement from the Manchester Union Leader, the Granite State's largest paper. It is a golden moment for McCain to revive his fortunes.

The endorsement from the Register was also welcome news for Clinton.

"I am very grateful that they zeroed in on the work that needs to be done by the next president, by my vision for the country, my plans for change and my ability to lead," she said.

Obama, also campaigning in Iowa over the weekend, found a few things to like in the Des Moines Register's editorial. Even though he did not get the paper's nod, Obama's press secretary sent reporters an e-mail noting that the Register described the Illinois senator as "smart."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

You're most likely to find NPR's Don Gonyea on the road, in some battleground state looking for voters to sit with him at the local lunch spot, the VFW or union hall, at a campaign rally, or at their kitchen tables to tell him what's on their minds. Through countless such conversations over the course of the year, he gets a ground-level view of American elections. Gonyea is NPR's National Political Correspondent, a position he has held since 2010. His reports can be heard on all NPR News programs and at NPR.org. To hear his sound-rich stories is akin to riding in the passenger seat of his rental car, traveling through Iowa or South Carolina or Michigan or wherever, right along with him.