Mitt Romney Snags Des Moines Register Endorsement

VIDEO: David Kerley, Nicolle Wallace discuss candidate's strategies for 2012 election.
ABCNEWS.com

Iowa's largest newspaper has endorsed Mitt Romney, delivering a blow to President Barack Obama, who it endorsed in 2008.

The Des Moines Register's editorial board wrote that Obama's "best efforts to resuscitate the stumbling economy have fallen short. Nothing indicates it would change with a second term in the White House."

Romney becomes the first Republican the paper has endorsed since 1972.

And the Miami Herald renewed its endorsement of Obama on Oct. 28, citing his actions to bailout the auto industry and end the Iraq war. The paper endorsed Obama in 2008.

As the president and Romney crisscross the country in the closing week of the campaign, they're hoping to pick up endorsements from influential newspapers that could help boost their fortunes in key swing states.

In 2008, more than 400 newspapers endorsed a presidential candidate, according to Editor & Publisher magazine, which tracked the endorsements.

Here is a guide to the swing state paper editorial boards picks for the presidency:

Iowa

The visit Romney made to the Des Moines Register editorial board revealed how seriously his campaign takes its endorsement.

After backing McCain and Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primaries, the Register endorsed Obama in that general election. Obama won the state by a wide margin.

Perhaps foreshadowing its 2012 endorsement of Romney, the paper tangled with the Obama campaign last week when the campaign initially refused to allow the editorial board's interview with Obama to be on the record. The campaign eventually relented and released a transcript of the comments.

In the end, the Register endorsed Romney, the first time it endorsed a Republican since 1972.

Florida

In Florida, whose 29 electoral votes may be among the crown jewels of presidential politics, the state's two largest newspapers have split their endorsements.

The Tampa Bay Times, once again, opted for Obama Friday saying that "now is not the time to reverse course.

"The recovery has proven more difficult than anyone imagined," the editorial board said. "But conditions would be far worse without the president's steady leadership."

Romney secured a big vote of confidence from the Orlando Sentinel, the largest newspaper in central Florida, which endorsed Obama in 2008.

"We have little confidence that Obama would be more successful managing the economy and the budget in the next four years," the paper's editorial board wrote. "For that reason, though we endorsed him in 2008, we are recommending Romney in this race."

Obama won Florida by 2.8 percent in 2008.

In the fierce battle for Florida's 29 Electoral College votes, the endorsements of Obama and Romney by the Tampa Bay Times and the Orlando Sentinel, respectively, are major boosts.

The Tampa Tribune also backed Romney in an editorial, hoping to boost his fortunes in the state. The paper endorsed McCain in 2008.

Wisconsin

Mitt Romney's selection of Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate put the normally blue state into play in November. The state's dramatic political shift in the 2010 election toward the Republican Party has added to its swing state status. Its largest paper, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, endorsed Obama in 2008 and Sen. John Kerry in 2004 but has declined to endorse any candidate for president in 2012.

Ohio

After meeting with Mitt Romney earlier this month, the Columbus Dispatch editorial board endorsed the former Massachusetts governor over President Obama.

"After nearly four years of economic stagnation, massive unemployment, record-setting debt and government intrusions into the economy that have paralyzed the private sector, the United States needs a new direction," the paper said in its endorsement.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer, which endorsed Obama in 2008, renewed its backing over the weekend. The paper credited Obama with leading the nation back "from the brink of depression" but conceded that this year's endorsement comes "with less enthusiasm or optimism" than its first.

Ohio's Akron Beacon Journal aksi endorsed Obama, saying that "what matters are his real accomplishments and the direction he proposes for the years ahead."

Virginia

Perhaps it's a sign of the times. Two of Virginia's newspapers, the Virginian-Pilot and the Roanoke Times, said in 2008 they would no longer endorse candidates for president, leaving the Richmond Times-Dispatch as the state's only remaining major endorser, even as Virginia's status as a critical swing state has risen in national politics. The Times-Dispatch endorsed McCain in 2008 and Bush in 2004 but has not yet revealed its 2012 pick.

Notably, several other Washington, D.C.-area newspapers, including the Washington Post and the Washington Times, circulate their papers in Virginia's northern suburbs.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire is a tiny state with a potentially big electoral impact. Similarly, the New Hampshire Union-Leader has typically played an outsize role in electoral politics. After it twice passed up the chance to endorse Romney, who was governor of next door neighbor Massachusetts, in 2008 and in 2012, the paper endorsed him in the 2012 election.

"What Obama offers America is a fantasy," the paper wrote. "Sputtering economies are not sparked back to life by government-directed spending on industries hand-chosen by politicians. They are revived by unleashing the energy and creativity of the American people."

Colorado

Colorado may be one of the purplest states in this year's election, and the endorsements reflect the state's fluid political identity. Obama snagged the biggest prize with the Denver Post's endorsement. The paper notably endorsed George Bush in 2004.

Two other smaller papers, the Colorado Pueblo Chieftain and the Colorado Longmont Times-Call, have endorsed Romney.

North Carolina

Normally, a state squarely in the Republican column, North Carolina shifted to Obama in 2008, giving him a razor thin .3 percentage point win. It's up for grabs again in 2012, with 15 electoral votes at stake.

Last week, one of the state's smaller papers, the Winston-Salem Journal, flipped from its position in 2008 to endorse Obama. But two other of the states larger papers have yet to endorse, including the Raleigh News & Observer, which went with Obama in 2008, and the state's largest paper, the Charlotte Observer, which also endorsed Obama four years ago.

The smaller Ashville Citizen-Times backed Obama in an op-ed, saying that "with Obama, we know what we are getting."

Nevada

Nevada cast its lot with Obama in 2008, but with the housing crash hitting the state's economy hard, it is solidly in the undecided column for 2012. The state's largest newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, endorsed Romney this month. The editorial board endorsed McCain in 2008.

And the Las Vegas Sun, which endorsed Obama in 2008, renewed its support in 2012.

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