President Bush and Democratic presidential nominee Bill Clinton gained editorial endorsements Sunday _ Clinton from the Washington Post and Charlotte Observer, and Bush from the Detroit News.
The News said it wasn't enthusiastic about Bush's performance but that Clinton could do worse.
"For that reason, we endorse President Bush for re-election, not with great enthusiasm but out of solid conviction that he is the best available choice for the job," said the News, which also endorsed Bush in 1988.
The Post said Bush "has long since squandered whatever claim he had to national leadership."
"The presidency is in part a test, and Mr. Bush has failed," said the Post, which took the unusual step four years ago of refraining from endorsing a candidate.
The Post credited Bush with accomplishments in federal aid to the poor, child care and the rights of the disabled, "but in the past two years, he has lost it."
It said Clinton and his running mate, Al Gore, "offer by far the stronger hope for the future."
The Arkansas governor, said the Post, "has been much mischaracterized in this campaign.
"His 12 years as governor are what define him much more than his earlier years as a student or even the months he has now spent on the campaign trail," it said. "They are the heart of his record and offer the best means of judging his likely performance in national office. Contrary to the campaign rhetoric of his opponents, that record is by and large a solid, substantial one, promising for a prospective president."
The Charlotte newspaper, which endorsed Michael Dukakis in 1988, praised Clinton's promise to take on the nation's biggest problems and emphasize fiscal responsibility. It called Bush a "prisoner of the status quo" and said he presided over the three largest annual budget deficits.