(CNN) - Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney nabbed the backing of the Des Moines Register, a decision the editor of the largest Iowa paper attributed Monday to "maturity" and experience.
"Gov. Romney focused on the most important issues," Rick Green told CNN's "American Morning" anchor Ali Velshi. And although the board did not select Romney when he ran four years ago, this cycle, he stood out for his "focus."
Green said the editorial board examined the positions, platforms, and visions of each of the 2012 GOP presidential candidates for the past 15 months, but Romney "knew the issues much better than he did four years ago" when it came to domestic as well as international policy.
"This is a different field," Green said.
Recent polling in the first-in-the-nation caucus state places Romney second–close behind former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
But while other candidates "jockey and one-up each other on who (can) wield the biggest wrecking ball in Washington," Green asserted that Romney was committed to "bipartisan collaboration and cooperation."
The editor described the governor as a candidate who "has morphed himself, transforming from an independent to a moderate Republican and liberal Boston with the Massachusetts legislature to now a proud conservative."
Many may view Romney's shifting policy as perennial flip-flopping, but Green argued it was a refreshing reflection of his maturity.
"He has taken a close perspective with the issues that he's traditionally had beliefs on and in some cases adjusted it, he's acknowledged that in some cases he's made mistakes in the communication of it, but what we thought was very refreshing– you had a candidate who acknowledged that perhaps different positions at different times in response to some of the things that are unfolding in this country, I think that shows maturity," Green said.
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