(CNN) - Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has scored the endorsement of Bob Dole, who lauded the former Massachusetts governor in an ad Sunday in Iowa's The Des Moines Register newspaper.
The public endorsement comes one day after the Register - Iowa's largest newspaper - backed Romney in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination and just over two weeks before Iowa's critical presidential caucuses on January 3.
In his advertisement, Dole said Romney is the GOP candidate is best suited to defeat President Barack Obama in 2012.
"I've known Mitt and his family for decades. His parents instilled in him a strong work ethic, rock-solid conservative values, and a deep sense of service to others," the former Kansas senator and 1996 GOP presidential nominee wrote. "These traits - which have shone through in both the debates and in my own visits with him - will serve him well in the White House."
Dole also said Romney "rescued a flailing Winter Olympics when it was mired in financial scandal." And as governor of Massachusetts, Dole wrote, Romney "managed to both balance the state's budget and cut taxes while dealing with an overwhelmingly Democratic state legislature."
The Register's editorial board said Romney was the most qualified candidate competing in the caucuses.
While the paper didn't endorse Romney during his last run for president in 2007, the editorial board said voters now face a different GOP field and Romney "has matured as a candidate."
"Rebuilding the economy is the nation's top priority, and Romney makes the best case among the Republicans that he could do that," the editorial board wrote.
The board hailed Romney for his "solid credentials," saying he was the most likely candidate to see through "knee-jerk, ideological" perspectives and "bridge the political divide in Washington."
Taking issue with the two other top-tier candidates, the paper claimed Romney stood out against former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whom the board called "an undisciplined partisan who would alienate, not unite, if he reverts to mean-spirited attacks on display as House speaker."
It also criticized Texas Rep. Ron Paul as someone with a libertarian ideology that would "lead to economic chaos and isolationism."
Also significant, the board somewhat defended Romney against a line of attack taken by opponents who criticize him as a "flip-flopper."
"Though Romney has tended to adapt some positions to different times and places, he is hardly unique. It should be possible for a politician to say, 'I was wrong, and I have changed my mind'," the paper wrote.
But the paper still reserved questions over his changing tune on issues such as abortion and said it was up to the voters to decide "whether such subtly nuanced statements express Romney's true beliefs or if he's trying to have it both ways."
While the paper's endorsement is highly coveted, it does not necessarily spell success for a candidate.
In the last election cycle, the paper endorsed GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who didn't actively campaign in the state and took third place in the caucuses, while former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee pulled off a surprise victory.
The newspaper has long endorsed candidates for the general presidential election, but it began making endorsements for the caucuses in 1988.
Since then, three of its choices went on to win the contest: Dole in 1996 and 1988 and then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush in 2000.
In addition, three endorsees eventually secured the Republican nomination: Dole in 1996, Bush in 2000 and McCain in 2008.
Only one of its chosen candidates – Bush in 2000 – went on to win the White House.
According to an American Research Group poll taken Dec. 8-11, Romney placed second in the Hawkeye State with 17% of support among likely caucus voters, while Gingrich took first with 22%. Paul tied with Romney at 17%
On Friday, Romney garnered a nod from South Carolina Republican Gov. Nikki Haley. South Carolina's primary, set for January 21, is the first presidential contest in the South and the third overall in the early voting season.
– CNN's Robert Yoon, Peter Hamby, Oliver Janney and Chris Welch contributed to this report.
Romney has integrity. He may change his views on some issues as he contemplates and re-evaluates, but he does not change his views on important things like for example his marriage. He has proved himself through the last 5 years to be a man who is serious about the presidency. He has what we need in a presidency: an ability to endure and keep his vows.
The article states, "Ron Paul’s libertarian ideology would lead to economic chaos and isolationism, neither of which this nation can afford.” HUH? I think author, historian and economist Tom Woods' reply in regards to the comment about Ron Paul just about sums it up: "Apart from the puerile-serioso “this nation,” what is this supposed to mean? The country can’t afford peace? We need more $5 trillion wars? Being more hated and isolated than ever before in history is something we can afford? And after more than a decade of Federal Reserve manipulation of interest rates and federal domination of the mortgage market, we are to fear “economic chaos” from stopping these things?"
Who cares what some conservative rag with declining readership says about this group of GOP imbeciles? Anybody tell these fools that newspaper endorsements in the internet age don't carry the cache or influence they once did? After the idiotic Citizen's United decision anybody with a deep pocket (Koch, Rove, hell, even China) could buy an endorsement for a preferred candidate. Which ailing publication wouldn't take the Benjamins in exchange for an endorsement? Puh–lease!
The establishment backs Romney? Wow, big surprise there.
Yes, Romney is sobriety, wisdom and judgment. I understand the wisdom is kind of friendly. Perhaps, I should be in the habit of seeing the losers who were surrounded by the smoke. But the winners never told me that. Good luck to Romney!
Romney is a choir boy waiting to be initiated, abused and manhandled by the peoples representatives of the US government
The Register rocks. Faith is restored in my home state. I was afraid they might have fallen for Newt's garbage.
Who cares who a newspaper endorses? Have we become so lax as voters to allow a business to sway our opinions?
I'll be voting for Ron Paul he dosnt Flip Flop.
It's time the republican party coalesce around the one candidate who can attract independents (Gingrich has no chance in the general election getting the independent vote and Obama knows it) and who also happens to be the one guy most likely to be able to repair this joke of an economy. While we all have some concerns with him, that guy is Romney.
Romney endorsement by another Iowa newspaper:
“If as a Republican your No. 1 priority is the defeat of Obama, consider this: Romney is the candidate within this field who is best-positioned to win general election votes from not simply Republican voters, but from the all-important Independents in the middle, as well as from moderate Democrats on the left.”
Go Romney! I guess not everyone in Evangelical Iowa is as Mormonphobic as I originally thought. Glad to be wrong.
The support just keeps coming in for Romney...Tim Pawlenty, Chris Christy, Nikki Haley, Des Moines Register, and now the Oklahoman.
The economy is our country's #1 issue and Romney is the best equipped get us back on track.
A vote for Romney or Gingrich is a vote for the status quo. A vote for Paul is a vote for much needed change.
News Paper? Newspaper? whats this? Well if they report "news" what business do they have endorsing anyone or anything.
The poor new Newt isn't feeling the love from his part. I would ask of Willard M. Romney one thing. Mitt please tell the 'same church you've been going to all your life' to stop using posthumous baptism by proxy of deceased Jews, especially Holocaust victims. They pledged in the mid-90's that they would stop and the number was already at 400,000. Holocaust Survivors, have said that enough is enough. They formally wrote the LDS "We ask you to respect us and our Judaism just as we respect your religion," said in the statement. "We ask you to leave our six million Jews, all victims of the Holocaust, alone, they suffered enough." Posthumous baptism by proxy allows Mormons to have Jews baptized into the Mormon church, which they believe in the afterlife converts them to Mormon Christianity. This is still happening today! Your Church is still desecrating Jewish cemeteries!
Why dont the media outlets say out of this type of reporting Stop trying to be king makers and just report the news Hopefully people will make the right choice by themselves Your not selling brands
Oh the corruption that will be foiled if we get Ron Paul elected!
We can do this guys, spread the word, we don't get press, but we have word of mouth, and social media!
Lets make our stand, Romney is a political robot saying whatever it takes to get into office.
We've seen it before!
Spread the word.
Vote Ron Paul!
Does anyone actually care who a publication or individual endorses?
Romney is a good man and a good choice. Gingrich is a PROGRESSIVE. I'd go with Romney any day of the week.
Who cares who the "owned" media endorses or what they report? There has been an organized and effective 'anti-Ron Paul' sentiment amongst the media since the last presidential election. They essentially 'black-list' him. Ron Paul is much more popular and 'electable' than any mainstream media outlets want you to think.
The Des Moines Register's editorial page (and its front page, sports page and every one of its other pages) is an uber, ultra, hard and far, far, far, far, far left, virulent, militant, fundamentlist, extremist, hardline, leftist political advocacy and lobbying group. There isn't one Republican anywhere who gives a flip what those whack job leftist fanatics "think".
He's the only cute one in the bunch and he will "capture" the female vote. Keep it simple
For you people who keep supporting that crazy old man Ron Paul who will be 77 years old on election day let me say this: A vote for Paul is a vote for Obama. Ron Paul is the man the Democrats want to run against next fall.
Would Paul make a good President? Who knows as i'm sure he would be taking several naps each day..
Oh, great. So the Register endorses another Business As Usual candidate disguised as "Change You REALLY Can Believe In". Sometimes it seems our country is locked into crash route and it is inevitable that the only way out of this is going to be to start over, picking ourselves out of the ashes of complete ruin.