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The Times' Paradox Of Choice

As my former New York Observer colleague Michael Calderone notes over at Politico, today's New York Times editorial is a surprisingly harsh rebuke of Hillary Clinton's Pennsylvania campaign. "It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election," the Times writes. Nice words for the candidate that the Times endorsed on the morning of her most important primary victory! 

In recent weeks, watching the Times editorial page waver and contort over the paper's Clinton endorsement has been agonizing. As I reported back in February, the Gray Lady's editorial board was deeply divided over the paper's endorsement leading up to the New York primary. Initially, the 20-member board had supported Obama, but then some, including editorial page editor Andy Rosenthal, tilted back toward Clinton. Ultimately, Times Chairman and Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., a close friend and confidant to Clinton donor Steve Rattner, weighed in and made the decision for the Times to back Hillary. Clearly, the paper was uncomfortable with the Clinton endorsement--and still is.

On February 4, Rosenthal wrote a bylined Editorial Observer praising a star-studded Obama rally in California, on the eve of Super Tuesday. "It wasn't buyer's remorse, it wasn't a waffle," Rosenthal told me back in Feb. "People have a misconception about endorsements. When we endorse a candidate, we're not joining their campaign."

Maybe the editorial board needs to read this.

--Gabe Sherman