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The New York Times endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton for the White House on Saturday, saying she is more qualified than Republican presidential rival Donald Trump to handle the challenges facing the United States.

The newspaper described Clinton as "one of the most tenacious politicians of her generation" and said she had displayed a command of policy and diplomatic nuance while building a reputation for grit and bipartisan cooperation.

"A lifetime’s commitment to solving problems in the real world qualifies Hillary Clinton for this job, and the country should put her to work," the Times said of the former secretary of state and U.S. senator from New York.

Clinton will face off against Trump on Monday night in the first of three presidential debates, with opinion polls showing her once sizable lead over the New York businessman narrowing amid continued public doubts about her trustworthiness.

The Times said Clinton's mistakes had distorted perceptions of her character, but praised her work restoring U.S. credibility in foreign affairs as secretary of state and on behalf of children, women and families throughout her career.

"Mrs. Clinton has shown herself to be a realist who believes America cannot simply withdraw behind oceans and walls, but must engage confidently in the world to protect its interests and be true to its values," the newspaper said.

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It said Clinton's decision to use a private email server for government work as secretary of state deserved the scrutiny it has received in the campaign, but considered alongside the real challenges facing the United States it "looks like a matter for the help desk."

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