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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Times endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for U.S. president on Thursday, saying he had "met challenge after challenge, growing as a leader and putting real flesh on his early promises of hope and change."
The Times posted its endorsement on its Internet site on Thursday evening and was to publish it in Friday editions of the newspaper.
Earlier this year, the newspaper endorsed New York Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, but it said Obama had long ago erased the reservations that led it to make that decision.
"He has drawn in legions of new voters with powerful messages of hope and possibility and calls for shared sacrifice and social responsibility," the Times said. "He has shown a cool head and sound judgment. We believe he has the will and the ability to forge the broad political consensus that is essential to finding solutions to this nation's problems."
The newspaper declared that the choice between Obama and Republican John McCain was easy.
"Mr. McCain, whom we chose as the best Republican nominee in the primaries, has spent the last coins of his reputation for principle and sound judgment to placate the limitless demands and narrow vision of the far-right wing," it said.
The endorsement was not unexpected. The Times endorsed Democrats John Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000.
According to Editor & Publisher magazine, Obama is outpacing McCain in newspaper endorsements by about three to one, even winning the nod of the Chicago Tribune, the first time it has endorsed a Democrat for president.
However such endorsements are considered to have little influence on voters, especially in presidential races.
Reporting by Alan Elsner; editing by Mohammad Zargham