(CNSNews.com) - The New York Daily News has endorsed Vice President Al Gore in the Empire State's March 7 Democratic primary race against former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley.
Characterizing Gore as the Democrat with "a firm command of all the issues," the newspaper said a vote for the vice president is "a slam dunk decision."
The Daily News praised Gore for transforming his campaign from one which initially had Democrats flocking to Bradley, to an endeavor that has shown increased appeal to the party faithful.
The newspaper praised Gore for his education initiatives, including his call for "revolutionary improvements to our public schools," and added, "Gore has a long list of intelligent ideas to spark the revolution," including hiring bonuses to entice young people into education; "rigorous testing" for new teachers and "peer review" for existing teachers.
"Gore deserves the chance to turn those ideas into reality. Because he enjoys the support of most teachers unions, he is perfectly positioned to ease them out of their too defensive crouch."
As for Bradley, who must either win or do very well in the state where he once played professional basketball, the writers characterized him as "a decent man and a worthy opponent," and added, "His truth telling on racial issues is refreshing. But that does not make a campaign for the presidency. More vexing: After more than a year of courting support, the Rhodes scholar and former Knicks star seemingly has no real rationale for his candidacy."
The Daily News was especially critical of Bradley's votes against welfare reform and his opposition to the use of force against Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein, as well as his opposition to Alan Greenspan as chairman of the Federal Reserve. "The world according to Bradley would have been a different, decidedly more miserable place. He was on the wrong side of these issues and, with the belated exception of his Greenspan vote, Bradley refuses to acknowledge his mistakes."
The writers also castigated Bradley for his criticism of Gore's early votes while a member of Congress, including abortion and gun control, telling its readers, "The reality is that Gore is a pragmatic centrist. A new Democrat who mixes common sense with bedrock party principles. What's wrong with that?"
But it is Gore's role in the economy that most pleased the Daily News. "The major plus for Gore is that he helped preside over the greatest peacetime economic expansion in American history. He is widely credited as being a strong proponent of balancing the federal budget in the first term."
As for the anticipated budget surplus, the paper wrote, "While Bradley would blow it all on a universal health care plan, Gore would use it for sensible payments on several initiatives, including health care and tax cuts. He would also begin to pay down the national debt, which is key to keeping the economy strong."
"If New York Democrats hope to retain the White House this fall, their best bet is the man who is already a heartbeat away: Al Gore," said the Daily News.