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Dole’s Endorsements Praise Character, Clinton’s His Growth Potential

November 4, 1996

Newspapers that endorsed Republican Bob Dole for president Sunday praised what they saw as his superior character, while those supporting President Clinton said he has the capacity to grow and learn from his mistakes.

One paper that backed Clinton called him a ``morally challenged″ president. Another described him as ``the most unprincipled president ever.″

In the president’s home state, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette gave him a ``nonendorsement,″ as it did in 1992. ``Do you remember ... the wave of Arkansas chic building as the nation began to notice us?″ the newspaper asked. ``What a night it was, and what a morning after it has been.″

The Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C., in endorsing Dole, suggested Clinton could be forced from office by scandal as President Nixon was in 1974.

″What could possibly be compelling enough about this president for voters to take such a risk?″ The Post and Courier wrote.

It praised Dole’s service to his country and said he is ``not only the best man for the job, he’s the honorable man _ the man who has conquered personal adversity and stood fast on his principle.″

The State in Columbia, S.C., cited four reasons why it picked Dole: His fiscal conservatism, despite ``misplacing his priorities″ with a tax-cut proposal; his foreign affairs experience; his respected status among the nation’s lawmakers; and his personal ethics.

Wrote The Oklahoman of Oklahoma City: ``If the incumbent administration is returned to power, America will become mired in an unethical swamp of Bill Clinton’s making. A new team is needed to restore U.S. leadership in the world.″

Nevada’s Reno Gazette-Journal supported Clinton, saying he has grown in the job and Dole offers no compelling vision for the future.

Clinton ″manages the White House much better now than he did four years ago,″ the newspaper said. ″But something else recommends Clinton, and that is Bob Dole. It really seems (his) time has gone by. The past seems more real to him than the future.″

The Shawano Leader in Wisconsin, backing Clinton, noted that Dole offered himself as a bridge to the past while Clinton wants to be a bridge to the future. The paper said Ross Perot may have the best blueprint for building bridges but cannot assemble a political coalition and is essentially unelectable.

The Leader-Telegram in Eau Claire, Wis., endorsed Clinton despite describing him as ``one of the most morally challenged presidents of the century.″

It said Dole appeared headed for one of the worst defeats in recent memory because he failed to convey a vision of where he wants to take the country and because of turmoil in his campaign.

Another Wisconsin paper, the Kenosha News, endorsed Clinton as a ``skilled navigator on today’s hazardous political seas. And we believe that he has the capacity to grow and profit by his mistakes.″

Calling the president unprincipled, the Tampa Tribune said:

``In his draft-dodging, in his wholesale infidelities, in his dubious government appointments, in his endless policy turnabouts and in his surpassing hypocrisy, he stands alone in the history of the presidency.″

The Florida Times-Union, in Jacksonville, also supported Dole. It said of Clinton:

``No one has been more suited for campaigning or less suited for governing than the incumbent. (Dole) is the most qualified candidate ... by any measure except political acumen.″

A Dole supporter in Wisconsin, The Janesville Gazette, said if a man who has spent 35 years crafting a well-respected career in Congress isn’t qualified to be president, no one is.

``Clinton has refashioned himself for this campaign as a moderate conservative,″ the paper said. ``If that is what the country is looking for, it has a much better option in Dole.″

Three New Jersey papers _ The Record of Hackensack, The Home News & Tribune of East Brunswick and the Burlington County Times of Willingboro _ endorsed Clinton.

They said his vision for the future and positions on key issues outweigh concerns about his ethical problems. The papers all worried over the centerpiece of Dole’s campaign, his proposal for a 15 percent tax cut.

The News Journal, Wilmington, Del., and the Anchorage Daily News in Alaska also endorsed Clinton.

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