(CNN) – It’s endorsement season, and nearly every day brings at least one of the major presidential candidates a fresh nod from an Iowa or New Hampshire newspaper.
But this weekend brought New Hampshire Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney an unpleasant twist on that campaign season staple: the anti-endorsement.
The Concord Monitor printed an editorial Sunday in which it called the Massachusetts governor “a disquieting figure who sure looks like the next president and most surely must be stopped.”
Romney had earlier sat with the paper’s editorial board. “When New Hampshire partisans are asked to defend the state's first-in-the-nation primary, we talk about our ability to see the candidates up close, ask tough questions and see through the baloney,” they wrote Sunday. “If a candidate is a phony, we assure ourselves and the rest of the world, we'll know it.
“Mitt Romney is such a candidate. New Hampshire Republicans and independents must vote no.”
UPDATE: Romney spokesman Kevin Madden responded to the paper's editorial: "The Monitor's editorial board is regarded as a liberal one on many issues, so it is not surprising that they would criticize Gov. Romney for his conservative views and platform," he said in a statement.
"Governor Romney has taken firm positions that are at odds with the board's support for drivers licenses for illegal immigrants, their position against school choice and their advocacy for taking 'Under God' out of the Pledge of Allegiance. The governor happens to disagree with the editorial board on all those issues."
--CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand