Heading into the final weekend of the 2012 presidential campaign, President Barack Obama has been endorsed by 35 of the top newspapers in the country, based on circulation. Republican candidate Mitt Romney has garnered the endorsements from 28 newspapers. Nine papers do not endorse candidates, according to the American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara (www.presidency.ucsb.edu).
The election will be decided by the electoral votes in a handful of swing states. Below are excerpts from endorsements from newspapers in Florida with 29 electoral votes, Ohio with 18, Colorado with 9 and Iowa with 6.
Miami Herald (Oct. 26)
(Romney) has taken so many contradictory positions on important issues abortion, immigration, even Obamacare (first he said he would repeal it; then he said he would keep the parts most people like) that he could take any action he chooses once in office and claim that it fulfills a campaign promise he made at one point or another. He has run on his record, and he has run from his record.
That's not an issue for the president. Not all Americans like what he stands for, but they know who he is. He has championed the middle class and has a larger, more tolerant notion of America that includes closing the inequality gap and evening the playing field, as exemplified by making an equal-pay-for-women bill the first law he signed. He has fought for the DREAM Act on behalf of the immigrant youths brought here by their parents, and he wants a Supreme Court that will continue to support Roe v. Wade. That's crucial.
In the end, Mr. Obama's policies across the board the environment, social policy, taxes and immigration offer a more generous vision for America. The issues he has fought for, coupled with the lingering doubts about Mr. Romney's persona and his true intentions, make this a clear choice.
Tampa Tribune (Oct. 21)
Mitt Romney is the man who can lead the nation out of its lingering economic doldrums and restore faith in the United States.
A successful executive in the public and private sector, Romney is a committed capitalist who understands that the nation's prosperity is driven by free enterprise, not government.
Under President Barack Obama's liberal and inconsistent leadership, the country has limped along, barely a step ahead of another recession.
Seasoned executive Romney would come to office ready to put the country on the course to more freedom and prosperity.
Cleveland Plain Dealer (Oct. 20)
Consider a defining moment early in Obama's first term one with special resonance in Ohio: The outgoing Bush administration had used TARP funds to throw a lifeline to General Motors and Chrysler, but the two automakers were still at death's door. They wanted more cash and offered vague promises to change their ways. Public opinion opposed another bailout. Romney urged the companies to file for traditional bankruptcy at a time when private-sector credit was frozen even for healthy firms.
Obama told the companies to restructure using the Bankruptcy Court and set conditions for government financing: GM's chairman had to go. Excess plants and dealerships had to close. Chrysler had to be bought out by Fiat. Contracts had to be renegotiated.
It was unpopular but gutsy. And it worked.
That's leadership that deserves a chance to finish the job.
Columbus Dispatch (Oct. 21)
As a career businessman and former governor, Romney brings a wealth of executive experience in the private sector and the public sector that dwarfs that of Obama. From working both sides of the government/private-sector equation, he understands how that relationship can aid or impede prosperity. His election would be an immediate signal to the private sector that someone who knows what he is doing is managing the nation's economic policy.
In 2008, Americans made a leap of faith when they elevated the inexperienced Obama to the White House. That faith was not rewarded. This time, voters should place their hopes for change in experience, by electing Romney.
Denver Post (Oct. 19)
And though there is much in Mitt Romney's résumé to suggest he is a capable problem-solver, the Republican nominee has not presented himself as a leader who will bring his party closer to the center at a time when that is what this country needs.
His comments on the 47 percent of Americans who refuse to "take personal responsibility and care for their lives" were a telling insight into his views and a low point of the campaign.
Obama, on the other hand, has shown throughout his term that he is a steady leader who keeps the interests of a broad array of Americans in mind.
Obama's record of accomplishment under trying circumstances and his blueprint for a second term make him the best pick to move the nation forward.
Des Moines Register (Oct. 27)
Barack Obama rocketed to the presidency from relative obscurity with a theme of hope and change. A different reality has marked his presidency. His record on the economy the past four years does not suggest he would lead in the direction the nation must go in the next four years.
Voters should give Mitt Romney a chance to correct the nation's fiscal course and to implode the partisan gridlock that has shackled Washington and the rest of America with the understanding that he would face the same assessment in four years if he does not succeed.