NH Paper Blisters McCain in Front Page Editorial

By Jerry Miller | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

Manchester, NH (CNSNews.com) - As he continues to gain support among this state's Independent voters, Republican presidential hopeful John McCain's day got off to a rocky start Tuesday, when he was greeted with a front page editorial in Tuesday's Union Leader, written by publisher Joseph McQuaid.

McQuaid, whose newspaper, the largest in the state, has already endorsed publisher Steve Forbes, said the Arizona senator is "running in the wrong race," given his Sunday endorsement by "the ultra-liberal" Boston Globe.

"The Globe likes McCain for the same reasons New Hampshire conservatives and Republicans in general ought to oppose him. He wants big government to take over even more of our decisions," McQuaid wrote.

Characterizing McCain as "phony" on the issue of campaign finance reform, the writer added, "He campaigns as the golden knight who will 'reform' political fundraising, even as he thumbs his nose at the voters by continuing to take big corporate money AND still doing favors for those companies by leaning on the government agencies that are supposed to regulate them."

The reference was to McCain's relationship with Paxson Communications, whose owner is a major contributor to the McCain campaign, and the senator's intervention with the Federal Communications Commission, on Paxson's behalf.

"When he is not defending this kind of cozy relationship, when it involves him, he is attacking it and pleading with people to make him stop doing it, by making him president. 'Please,' he says. 'Make me stop.'"

McCain was also pilloried Tuesday by the paper's editorial page and editorial writer Bernadette Malone Connolly, in an opinion piece which said McCain "parades as a Democrat."

Citing his tax plan which advocates closing the "gap between the rich and poor" and the "haves and have-nots;" his Social Security proposal, which the writer contends would make the program into "another welfare system;" McCain's "surprisingly anti-free market position" on education, which includes a 25 percent income tax credit for so-called "good teachers," and other positions, including campaign finance reform, the environment, foreign policy and guns, the writer said, "John McCain is fast becoming a doctrinaire, orthodox Democrat."

"Sure, the Union Leader has a dog in this fight, Steve Forbes. If that makes you skeptical about our analysis of McCain, take it from arch-liberal Richard Cohen, a Washington Post columnist. "McCain's people whisper, 'don't worry. He's not really so anti-abortion. He'll come around on gay rights, gun control and almost everything else you can name,' Cohen wrote in a Dec. 14, 1999 column, expressing hope that he can support McCain for president, even though he's a Republican."

"Don't worry, Mr. Cohen. McCain's not a Republican anymore. Go ahead and vote for him. He's on your team now," wrote the editorialist.