(CNN) - President Barack Obama again secured the endorsement of Ohio's largest newspaper, but the Cleveland Plain Dealer gave it with far less enthusiasm than in 2008.
The paper 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."
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"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 paper to endorse GOP presidential nominee Mitt 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 paper has endorsed Republicans and Democrats over the past five decades. Most recently, it threw its weight behind Obama in 2008, former President George W. Bush in 2000, former President Bill Clinton in 1996 and 1992 and former President George H.W. Bush in 1988.
The paper opted not to endorse a candidate in 2004, when Bush was seeking re-election and was challenged by Sen. John Kerry.
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.
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