The Chicago Tribune editorial board announced its endorsement Wednesday of presidential hopeful and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, but failed to endorse a Democratic presidential candidate.
The Tribune's endorsement credited Rubio for his foreign policy experience, his bilingual fluency and his youth. It also noted his policy stances, which include spending limits, line-item vetoes and a balanced-budget amendment.
Rubio trails businessman Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in pledged delegates in the Republican presidential race. Trump holds 458 pledged delegates, while Cruz holds 359 and Rubio holds 151. Rubio failed to win any of Tuesday's four primaries. He has been ramping up campaign efforts in his home state of Florida in the lead-up to the March 15 primary. Ohio Gov. John Kasich holds 54 pledged delegates.
"Right here is where liberal and conservative critics fire howitzers at this or that Rubio drawback," the editorial board wrote. "We look forward to debating those points in a general election campaign. But we won't be able to do so if Trump or Cruz is the nominee."
"The Tribune today endorses Marco Rubio for the Republican presidential nomination," the board added.
On the Democratic side, the board faulted former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for proposing "vast new expenditures by a federal government already committed to wildly more spending than its taxpayers and low-growth economy can afford."
Clinton leads Sanders in pledged delegates, 760 to 546. Clinton won Mississippi on Tuesday and Sanders, in an upset, won Michigan.
The board referred to Sanders' plans for a universal system of Medicare and free tuition at public colleges and universities as well as Clinton's plans for Social Security as cause for alarm. They claimed these were empty promises that could not be fulfilled by the highly indebted American government.
"Clinton and Sanders are smart and shrewd enough on economics to know they essentially are promising Americans whole fleets of Lamborghinis that never ... will ... be ... built," the board wrote. "This year, federal deficits begin a new climb that rises, every year, for as far as the Congressional Budget Office projects — to fiscal 2026."
The board explained that Rubio has a clear and realistic plan for his presidency, while the Democrats do not.
"Agree or disagree with Marco Rubio on various issues, he offers Illinois voters the framework of a presidency that realistically could exist," the board wrote. "Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have not met this fundamental economic test."
The editorial board claimed that it will keep an open mind, with regard to the Democrats, but warned against the aforementioned promises and pledges made by the candidates.
Rubio will face Trump, Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the March 15 Illinois Republican presidential primary.
Clinton and Sanders will face off in the Illinois Democratic presidential primary on the same day.