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Des Moines Register Endorses Clinton, Rubio Before Caucuses

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio.

Iowa's Des Moines Register, the largest newspaper in the state that will cast the first votes for U.S. presidential nominees on February 1, has endorsed Republican Marco Rubio and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

"No other candidate can match the depth or breadth of her knowledge and experience," the paper's editorial board wrote of Clinton.

For Republicans, the Register recommended Rubio as the candidate that could "chart a new direction for the party" — one that rejects current sentiments of anger, pessimism and fear and instead emphasizes "opportunity and optimism."

An endorsement for the Republican front-runner billionaire Donald Trump had seemed unlikely after the paper published a withering editorial last July calling on him to end his "bloviating sideshow" and drop out of the election.

Winners of the Iowa caucuses do not always go on to become their parties' standard-bearers in the November general election or even win the state's poll.

The paper had endorsed Clinton during her 2008 presidential run, saying she was distinguished by her "readiness to lead." Barack Obama ultimately won the Iowa caucuses and Clinton finished third behind John Edwards.

The same year, the Register endorsed Senator John McCain on the Republican side. He came in fourth in Iowa but went on to become the party's nominee before losing the general election to Obama.