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Nov 7, 2012

Obama v Romney: who the swing state newspapers endorsed

Who have the swing state newspapers backed in the race for the White House? Crikey reads their editorials today.

The votes are still being counted, but the verdict of US newspaper editors is in. The result from their editorials: a narrow victory for President Barack Obama, who scored 41 endorsements to Mitt Romney’s 35. But watch out for the swing states, where it’s a different story.

Big-selling liberal papers The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times both backed the incumbent; so did The Economist, The Washington Post and New Yorker magazine. The New York Daily News, however, switched support to the Republican candidate.

To the extent that such endorsements sway votes — and their impact is especially dubious in this era of falling newspaper circulation — it’s in the swing states. There, Romney has won significant support. Here’s Crikey‘s summary of newspaper endorsements in swing states …

Florida (29 electoral college votes):

The Tampa Bay Times, with a circulation of 296,605, backed Obama:

“We wish the economic recovery was more vigorous, and we would like the President to present a sharper vision for a second term. But Obama has capably steered the nation through an incredibly difficult period at home and abroad, often with little help from Congress. The next four years will not be easy for whoever occupies the Oval Office, but Obama has been tested by harsh circumstance and proven himself worthy of a second term.”

The Orlando Sentinel, circulation: 187,841, editorialised for the Democrats in 2008 but is now rooting for Romney:

“This is Romney’s time to lead, again. If he doesn’t produce results — even with a hostile Senate — we’ll be ready in 2016 to get behind someone else who will. We reject the innuendo that some critics have heaped on the President. We don’t think he’s a business-hating socialist. We don’t think he’s intent on weakening the American military. We don’t think he’s unpatriotic. And, no, we don’t think he was born outside the United States. But after reflecting on his four years in the White House, we also don’t think that he’s the best qualified candidate in this race.”

Ohio (18 electoral college votes):

Cleveland’s The Plain Dealer, circulation: 254,372 , gave a lukewarm tick to Obama:

“Today, we recommend President Obama’s re-election. He has led the nation back from the brink of depression. Ohio in particular has benefited from his bold decision to revive the domestic auto industry. Because of his determination to fulfill a decades-old dream of Democrats, 30 million more Americans will soon have health insurance. His Race to the Top initiative seeded many of the education reforms embodied in Cleveland’s Transformation Plan. He ended the war in Iraq and refocused the battle to disrupt al-Qaida and its terrorist allies. He ordered the risky attack inside Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden. And yet our endorsement this year comes with less enthusiasm or optimism. Obama has changed — and it’s more than gray hair.”

The Cincinnati Inquirer, circulation: 161,858, backed Romney:

“President Barack Obama has had four years to overcome the job losses of the Great Recession he inherited, but the recovery has been too slow and too weak. It’s time for new leadership from Mitt Romney, a governor and business leader with a record of solving problems … Romney as president should stay true to who he is — a moderate leader who can work with the Left and Right, with business and with government, and who will set an example, both as an individual and as the leader of the United States of America.”

The Columbus Dispatch, circulation: 142,786, also endorsed Romney:

“In 2008, The Dispatch warned of the problems that would result if Barack Obama were chosen as president. Noting the scant experience that Obama offered the nation in 2008 –eight unremarkable years in the Illinois Senate and less than one term in the US Senate — the newspaper said: ‘A resume containing so little evidence of leadership and accomplishment leaves in question Obama’s ability to handle the most responsible and difficult job in the world, especially at a time when the nation faces a combination of problems so large and complex that they would challenge even the most seasoned leader.’ Four years later, the nation is in the grip of the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression.”

North Carolina (15 electoral college votes):

The Charlotte Observer, circulation: 155,497, supported Obama with little enthusiasm:

“Obama has worked to protect vulnerable Americans — the uninsured, gays, the children of illegal immigrants. He’s governed with a philosophy that all Americans deserve at least the opportunity for success, and he’s advocated for tax reform and an educational infrastructure that would promote fairness. The America he believes in celebrates the common good as well as the individual good. When the economy improves — and it will — the country needs a president with that agenda, with those values. We endorse Barack Obama for another four years.”

Virginia (13 electoral college votes):

The Richmond Times Dispatch, circulation: 115,431, backed Romney:

“Mitt Romney will not raise taxes on the middle class. He will not destroy Medicare. And he will not lie to the American people every time he opens his mouth. Political campaigns exaggerate grossly, play loose with the facts and cast the opposition in the worst light imaginable. Yet it is difficult to recall a campaign less truthful than President Obama’s in 2012 … Mitt Romney has succeeded as a family man, governor, entrepreneur, Olympic leader. He is a man of character, a problem-solver, a turnaround specialist. He has earned our enthusiastic endorsement. America needs president Romney.”

Wisconsin (10 electoral college votes):

The state’s biggest seller, The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, did not editorialise this year. Competitor The Wisconsin State Journal, circulation: 87,629, withdrew support from Obama and endorsed Romney:

“Not enough hope and too little change. That is President Barack Obama’s record on the economy, debt and Washington gridlock after four years in the White House … It was Obama and his fellow Democrats who went it alone on health care, making subsequent deals even harder to find. It was Obama who too often let Congress steer the ship in circles. It still is Obama who hasn’t laid out a clear vision for the next four years. We endorsed Obama for change last time around. Now we’re endorsing change again: Mitt Romney.”

Colorado (nine electoral college votes):

Big-selling paper The Denver Post, circulation: 401,120, stuck with Obama:

“Romney’s approach is one of tax cuts for all, drastic Medicare reform, increased defense spending, and what would be catastrophic cuts to other discretionary programs. In the Republican primary, he said he couldn’t support a plan that included even $10 in cuts for every $1 in new revenue. To expect the country to balance its budget without additional revenue, in our view, is nothing short of fantasy. The President’s most recent plan for budget-cutting is closer to being the right recipe in that it includes a mix of revenue increases and spending cuts.”

Iowa (six electoral college votes):

The Des Moines Register, circulation: 108,247, has supported Democratic candidates for the past nine elections. But not this year; it’s on Team Romney:

“American voters are deeply divided about this race. The Register’s editorial board, as it should, had a vigorous debate over this endorsement. Our discussion repeatedly circled back to the nation’s single most important challenge: pulling the economy out of the doldrums, getting more Americans back in the workforce in meaningful jobs with promising futures, and getting the federal government on a track to balance the budget in a bipartisan manner that the country demands. Which candidate could forge the compromises in Congress to achieve these goals? When the question is framed in those terms, Mitt Romney emerges the stronger candidate.”

Nevada (six electoral votes):

The Las Vegas Review Journal, circulation: 166,182, took a punt on Romney:

“No state had a bigger stake in Wednesday’s presidential debate than Nevada. No state has a greater need for jobs than Nevada, which leads the nation with a real unemployment rate of at least 22%. No state will benefit more from a real economic recovery … Mr. Romney is a fine family man who donates millions of dollars to his church and charity every year. There is not a whiff of scandal about him. This is why his opponents have tried to turn his very successes against him. It’s all they have.”

New Hampshire (four electoral college votes):

The New Hampshire Union Leader, circulation: 45,536, said Mitt’s their man: 

“Barack Obama was in Manchester on Thursday. When he came to Veterans Park in 2008, he sold ‘hope and change’. He was uplifting, inspiring. Last week, that was gone. In its place was the negativity, the deception, the nastiness that Obama once said he wanted to remove from politics. Obama offered New Hampshire nothing but bitterness and envy. He attacked Romney with a litany of mischaracterizations and deliberate falsehoods … Obama had four years — half of them with a Democratic majority in Congress — to try his way. Romney offers a better way, a realistic way, to restore American prosperity. We tried the fantasy. It did not work. Now it is time to stop dreaming and start growing again.”

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