'Reno Gazette-Journal' endorses Obama, Romney

In a set of endorsements that will appear in Friday's newspaper, the Reno Gazette-Journal has chosen two candidates that have the vision and ability to be their party's nominees.

Here are the editorials.

Obama embodies party's vision

Nevada Democrats should caucus for Barack Obama, the freshman senator from Illinois, to represent them as the party's nominee to run for president of the United States.

He has the personal characteristics and political instincts expected of the person who leads this nation.

The Democratic front-runners make strong presidential candidates. New York Sen. Hillary Clinton has worked to be an excellent public servant and has aimed toward this end for the past 35 years; former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards' climb up the economic ladder has placed him in a position where he can understand and also aid the middle class.

Clinton, however, continues to struggle under the cloud of her husband, former President Bill Clinton. She is challenged to escape the perception that she represents the status quo and that the advisers, the bureaucracy and the baggage from the former president's administration would follow her into the White House — if she were to make it through the November election.

And, although well meaning and concerned about the welfare of the grass roots, Edwards does not seem to connect with the Democratic base, and he has not demonstrated the kind of bipartisanship that gets things done.

Obama embodies the political and ideological perspectives that the party projects.

He represents the platform of political unity and workable populist economics that he and party members believe will reinvigorate the economy and solve many of the other problems the nation is facing, such as questions regarding health care, immigration, war, energy independence, the tax structure and particularly the mortgage crisis. Fixing the housing market is critical to restoring our economic health.

One can fairly describe Obama's philosophical optimism and charismatic manner as too idealistic, even a tad dreamy. But he also demonstrates the courage to stand his ground where necessary, willing, for instance, to salute both President John Kennedy and President Ronald Reagan as agents of change in times when the country needed change.

Meanwhile, his background and experience have given him the insight needed to deal with the world in a different way. He knows how to listen and to respond appropriately to questions, propositions and opinions, regardless of whether he agrees.

The Democratic caucus is about looking at the candidates through a lens focused on the party and its goals. It also is about looking past the primary season and choosing the individual who can win in November. It must be someone who can unify the nation on domestic issues, successfully uphold its democratic ideals and restore its reputation as a global force.

Obama should be the party's choice.

Romney has proven his abilities

Nevada Republicans who want to participate in their party's choice of a presidential nominee have a problem: The party and the candidates have shown little interest in them in the run-up to Saturday's GOP caucuses.

State Republican officials made a mess of the process, including erroneous information on caucus locations on their website. So it's no surprise that the candidates have largely ignored Nevada.

Republican voters have had little chance to get to know the candidates.

The only candidate who has spent a significant amount of time in Nevada is Rep. Ron Paul, the Texas libertarian who has campaigned on an anti-war, anti-tax and return-to-the-Constitution platform. His message is an important one for those who are tired of politics as usual. His defense of the Bill of Rights is refreshing amid "patriot" initiatives that infringe on free speech, privacy and gun ownership. But he doesn't represent a large part of the Republican Party, which casts doubt on his electability.

The best candidate — and the one who would give the party its strongest chance in the fall — is former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Romney is a successful businessman who showed his ability to get voters to cross party lines when he won the governor's office in Massachusetts, home of the Kennedys, Michael Dukakis and John Kerry. He left that office with his reputation and his relationships intact.

Romney's most remarkable feat, however, was his stewardship of the Salt Lake City Olympics. He showed that he could bring disparate groups together, clean up a mess left by his predecessor and put on possibly the most successful games ever.

Romney's No. 1 opponent since the New Hampshire primary is Arizona Sen. John McCain. McCain is a genuine war hero. He's also a government insider who has outlived scandal.

But McCain is no friend to Nevada. In 2000, he was chief sponsor of a bill that would have banned betting on college sports, a business legal in Nevada. He also is a supporter of the Yucca Mountain project.

The other top candidate is former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, winner in Iowa. His campaign has been slow to catch fire, and Nevadans know little of him. He does not appear to offer the party much new. Neither do the other candidates remaining in the race, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who became a hero by his response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks but was not a successful mayor to that point; the sometimes actor and sometimes former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson; and Rep. Duncan Hunter from California.

Republicans need a candidate who represents conservative values, builds bipartisan support and signals change for a restless electorate.

Romney is that candidate.