The Des Moines Register endorsed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton for their parties’ nominations, just nine days before the crucial Iowa caucus.
“At his best, Rubio offers an uplifting message of a ‘new American century.’ He shares his compelling story and calls for a referendum on the nation’s identity,” the paper said about its preferred Republican party candidate.
About Clinton the paper said she “has demonstrated that she is a thoughtful, hardworking public servant who has earned the respect of leaders at home and abroad. She stands ready to take on the most demanding job in the world.”
“I am very pleased. Obviously, it means a lot to me,” Clinton during a campaign event in Iowa on Saturday.
Lynn Hicks, the Register’s opinion editor told CNN on Saturday that the paper “felt that Sen. Rubio has the chance, the opportunity, to chart a new direction for the Republican Party,” adding, “We had questions about his experience, like a lot of people do, but we felt he was the best hope for the party, not only because he can attract independents, but his ideals can appeal to the base of the party and unify the party.”
Hicks also explained the paper’s decision to back Clinton for the Democratic nomination saying that, “there’s no question that she has the most experience, depth and breadth of knowledge and we really felt that she is the one that is prepared to help America face the many challenges that it faces.”
The endorsements from Iowa’s biggest paper can be crucial as many likely caucus-goers have not yet decided on a candidate. According to the Register’s recent polls, 56 percent of Republicans and 40 percent of Democrats said they have not yet made up their mind and could be persuaded to support a different candidate.