The New York Times endorsed John Kerry (search) in the state's upcoming Democratic presidential primary, saying the Massachusetts senator "exudes maturity and depth."

"What his critics see as an inability to take strong, clear positions seems to us to reflect his appreciation that life is not simple," the newspaper said in its editorial for Thursday editions.

The Times said Kerry's rival, North Carolina Sen. John Edwards (search), has campaigned well and cited his ability to relate to people. But the newspaper said Edwards has less experience.

Of Edwards, the Times said: "It's easy to envision him as the nominee four or eight years down the line, or on the ticket for vice president this fall."

The newspaper said Kerry does not easily fit the mold of a "typical Massachusetts liberal."

"He is a gun owner and hunter who supports effective gun control laws, a combat veteran who, having seen a great deal of death, opposes capital punishment," the Times said.

The Times said Edwards' supporters have charged that Kerry "is on the wrong side of a charm chasm." But the newspaper said Kerry has "warmed up a good deal since the campaign began."

It said his ability to come back when his campaign seemed doomed demonstrates "the toughness to keep going when things turn sour."

Democrats in 10 states, including New York, vote in the March 2 Super Tuesday primary.