Ohio Newspapers Endorse Presidential Nominees

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(CNN) — President Barack Obama has again secured the endorsement of Ohio’s largest newspaper, but the Cleveland Plain Dealer gave it with far less enthusiasm than in 2008.

Meanwhile, the Columbus Dispatch chose Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, saying that in 2008 it “warned of the problems that would result” if Obama was elected.

And the Akron Beacon Journal endorses Obama, saying Obama has “succeeded far more than his critics contend.”

With 18 electoral votes, Ohio is the second-largest battleground state on the CNN Electoral Map and has been squarely in the eyes of both campaigns this year.

The Plain Dealer said Obama has fumbled and “often been his own worst enemy,” but he has the potential to continue economic growth after leading “the nation back from the brink of depression.”

“Much of what beset America during Obama’s first term lay outside his direct control,” the Plain Dealer opined. “The bobsled slide into recession was in full motion when he took office. The economic calamity has been global; recovery, sporadic and weak. Obama’s attempts to reach across the aisle politically were met with unbending resistance, even belligerence.”

Obama’s failings and lacking “vision for the many challenges that still confront America” in this campaign almost led the Plain Dealer to endorse Romney.

“This litany of missed opportunities, as much as the grim economic statistics that have become America’s unacceptable new normal, left us sorely tempted to endorse Gov. Romney this fall,” the editorial board wrote. “Like President Obama, he is a man of public achievement and private honor. He was born to wealth and power, but used those advantages well: building a prosperous business; rescuing the 2002 Winter Olympics; being a leader in his church and serving as an effective governor. It is the track record of a man who gets things done. No wonder so many frustrated Americans appear eager to elect him.”

“But which Romney would they elect?” it continued. “The rather liberal one who ran for the Senate in 1994? The pragmatic governor? The sharply conservative candidate of this year’s GOP primaries? The reborn moderate of recent weeks?”

On the other hand, Obama made the “unpopular but gutsy” decision to further bail out automakers Chrysler and General Motors, significant players in the Ohio economy. “Romney,” the newspaper wrote, “urged the companies to file for traditional bankruptcy — at a time when private-sector credit was frozen even for healthy firms.”

The Columbus Dispatch says in its endorsement of Romney that the country has had “four years of economic stagnation, massive unemployment, record-setting debt and government intrusions into the economy.” It often cites its own 2008 endorsement of Republican John McCain.

The 2008 Dispatch endorsement states: “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.”

In its endorsement, the Dispatch cites Romney’s experience, saying “Romney’s adult life has been spent turning around troubled private and public institutions…As governor of Massachusetts, he made tough decisions to lead the state out of a budget deficit, and he did so in a state dominated by Democrats.”

The Dispatch went on to say “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.”

It says, “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. The effect on business confidence would be dramatic and immediate, and business confidence is the vital ingredient needed to spur investment and hiring, the two things that the United States so desperately needs.”

“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,” the Dispatch says.

The Akron Beacon Journal says Obama will struggle for re-election, but that Romney is “benefiting not just from the troubled economy but also from the grandiose promises of Obama the candidate.”

The Beacon’s endorsement says that “Washington wasn’t going to change,” so “disappointment burdens” Obama’s battle for a second term. It says when he arrived at the White House, the economy was already plunging.

It says “the Obama White House and a Democratic Congress acted as aggressively as the political landscape would allow. They enacted a stimulus package that prevented something much worse and set the economy on a path of growth. They rescued the auto industry. They strengthened regulation of Wall Street.”

The Beacon Journal also mentioned Obama’s efforts regarding General Motors and Chrysler, and that he “avoided what would have been calamitous liquidation.” It says Romney’s “vague policy proposals” deepen doubt in his promises.

The Beacon Journal states, “No question, Romney is a smart, successful financier, a man of faith and accomplishment. What troubles is his public character, the opportunistic shifts and more. It is unacceptable that in seeking the presidency, he refuses to share his income tax returns in a way comparable to what he required of his running mate, Paul Ryan.”

For more coverage of the 2012 presidential election, click here.

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