Here are excerpts of some editorial board recommendations for president from newspapers across America. For a full list and to read the complete editorials, go to the American Presidency Project at tinyurl.com/prezendorse.
Salt Lake Tribune: Obama
Nowhere has Mitt Romney's pursuit of the presidency been more warmly welcomed or closely followed than here in Utah. The Republican nominee's political and religious pedigrees, his adeptly bipartisan governorship of a Democratic state, and his head for business and the bottom line all inspire admiration and hope in our largely Mormon, Republican, business-friendly state.
But it was Romney's singular role in rescuing Utah's organization of the 2002 Olympics from a cesspool of scandal, and his oversight of the most successful Winter Games on record, that make him the Beehive State's favorite adopted son. After all, Romney managed to save the state from ignominy, turning the extravaganza into a showcase for the matchless landscapes, volunteerism and efficiency that told the world what is best and most beautiful about Utah and its people.
In short, this is the Mitt Romney we knew, or thought we knew, as one of us. Sadly, it is not the only Romney, as his campaign for the White House has made abundantly clear, first in his servile courtship of the tea party in order to win the nomination, and now as the party's shape-shifting nominee. From his embrace of the party's radical right wing, to subsequent portrayals of himself as a moderate champion of the middle class, Romney has raised the most frequently asked question of the campaign: "Who is this guy, really, and what in the world does he truly believe?"
The evidence suggests no clear answer, or at least one that would survive Romney's next speech or sound bite. Politicians routinely tailor their words to suit an audience. Romney, though, is shameless, lavishing vastly diverse audiences with words, any words, they would trade their votes to hear.
Des Moines Register: 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.
The former governor and business executive has a strong record of achievement in both the private and the public sectors. He was an accomplished governor in a liberal state. He founded and ran a successful business that turned around failing companies. He successfully managed the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Romney has made rebuilding the economy his No. 1 campaign priority — and rightly so.
New York Times: Obama
The economy is slowly recovering from the 2008 meltdown, and the country could suffer another recession if the wrong policies take hold. The United States is embroiled in unstable regions that could easily explode into full-blown disaster. An ideological assault from the right has started to undermine the vital health reform law passed in 2010. Those forces are eroding women's access to health care, and their right to control their lives. Nearly 50 years after passage of the Civil Rights Act, all Americans' rights are cheapened by the right wing's determination to deny marriage benefits to a selected group of us. Astonishingly, even the very right to vote is being challenged.
That is the context for the Nov. 6 election, and as stark as it is, the choice is just as clear.
President Obama has shown a firm commitment to using government to help foster growth. He has formed sensible budget policies that are not dedicated to protecting the powerful, and has worked to save the social safety net to protect the powerless. Mr. Obama has impressive achievements despite the implacable wall of refusal erected by congressional Republicans so intent on stopping him that they risked pushing the nation into depression, held its credit rating hostage, and hobbled economic recovery.
Detroit News: Romney
As a venture capitalist, the ability to make a deal was the key to Romney's success. He understands that most deals begin with the parties in adversarial positions but must end with them both satisfied that they've got as much as they've given.
What's missing in Washington is that willingness to move toward a middle ground. This all-or-nothing attitude has resulted in the inexcusable failure for three years of the president and Congress to pass a budget, a gridlock that has thwarted bipartisan solutions to the debt and deficit, and has now placed the country on the edge of a frightening fiscal cliff.
That's not leadership.
Romney has been an effective leader his entire career, both in business and politics.
Washington Post: Obama
Mr. Obama is committed to the only approach that can succeed: a balance of entitlement reform and revenue increases. Mr. Romney, by contrast, has embraced his party's reality-defying ideology that taxes can always go down but may never go up. Along that road lies a future in which interest payments crowd out everything else a government should do, from defending the nation to caring for its poor and sick to investing in its children. Mr. Romney's future also is one in which an ever-greater share of the nation's wealth resides with the nation's wealthy, at a time when inequality already is growing.
Orlando Sentinel: Romney
We have little confidence that Obama would be more successful managing the economy and the budget in the next four years. For that reason, though we endorsed him in 2008, we are recommending Romney in this race.
Miami Herald: Obama
Voters rightly complain that they don't know what the candidates would do in office. Both the president and the former governor are big on rhetoric and stingy on details. But for Mr. Romney, the problem goes deeper, raising doubts about what he stands for and what he believes.
He 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 vs. Wade. That's crucial.
New York Post: Romney
America needs more than hope. It needs leadership. That is why the Post today endorses the candidacy of Mitt Romney for president of the United States.
Scrape it down to bedrock, and Mitt Romney knows that there is but one issue in this campaign: America's woeful economy, and the demonstrated inability of President Obama to cope with it.
Obama says he inherited the mess, but he's done nothing to fix it. Borrow, spend, regulate and redistribute is not a prescription for sustainable growth, yet that has been the totality of his program.
Dallas Morning News: Romney
On the central issue that will define his presidency — a stalled U.S. economy weighed down by crushing annual deficits and accumulated debt — Obama showed himself to be less leader than follower. While he expended his political capital on new government programs, unemployment stayed at debilitating heights. For that reason, this newspaper recommends Republican challenger Mitt Romney for president.
Los Angeles Times: Obama
Today, Obama is a very different candidate. He has confronted two inherited wars and the deepest recession since the Great Depression. He brought America's misguided adventure in Iraq to an end and arrested the economic downturn (though he did not fully reverse it) with the 2009 fiscal stimulus and a high-risk strategy to save the U.S. automobile industry. He secured passage of a historic health care reform law — the most important social legislation since Medicare.
Just as important, Obama brought a certain levelheadedness to the White House that had been in short supply during the previous eight years. While his opponents assailed him as a socialist and a Muslim and repeatedly challenged the location of his birthplace in an effort to call into question his legitimacy as president, he showed himself to be an adult, less an ideologue than a pragmatist, more cautious than cocky. Despite Republicans' persistent obstructionism, he pushed for — and enacted — stronger safeguards against another Wall Street meltdown and abusive financial industry practices. He cut the cost of student loans, persuaded auto manufacturers to take an almost unimaginable leap in fuel efficiency by 2025 and offered a temporary reprieve from deportation to young immigrants brought into the country illegally by their parents. He ended the morally bankrupt "don't ask, don't tell" policy that had institutionalized discrimination against gays in the military.
The nation has been well served by President Obama's steady leadership. He deserves a second term.