Romney lands key endorsement in crucial swing state - Iowa
October 27th, 2012
08:36 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney lands key endorsement in crucial swing state - Iowa

(CNN) - The Des Moines Register, Iowa's largest newspaper, endorsed Mitt Romney for president Saturday, reversing its 2008 support for President Barack Obama and marking the first time the paper has endorsed a Republican in 40 years.

While the editorial praised both Romney and Obama, the decision ultimately came down to one question, the newspaper stated. "Which candidate could forge the compromises in Congress to achieve these goals? When the question is framed in those terms, Mitt Romney emerges the stronger candidate."

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According to the announcement, the editorial board, which enthusiastically endorsed Romney ahead of the state's Republican presidential caucuses in January, had "a vigorous debate" over which candidate to choose for the November election.

While "Romney has made rebuilding the economy his No. 1 campaign priority," the paper stated, "the president's best efforts to resuscitate the stumbling economy have fallen short. Nothing indicates it would change with a second term in the White House."

The editorial board said the country needed a "renewed sense of confidence" in the economy. "That should come with Mitt Romney in the White House."

With six electoral votes, the swing state is highly contentious territory in the tight presidential race. The president campaigned in the Hawkeye State on Wednesday, while Romney was also in the state Wednesday, as well as Friday.

An NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll released last week indicated the president was ahead of Romney by 8 points, 51% to 43%, while a separate American Research Group survey released days earlier showed the two candidates tied at 48%.

Obama frequently points to Iowa as the state that launched him on the path to winning the Democratic nomination in 2008. During the state's caucuses, the then-Illinois senator captured a surprising victory over then-Sen. Hillary Clinton and former Sen. John Edwards.

Saturday's editorial stated that Romney's record as Massachusetts governor proved he could work across the aisle and would be more likely to bridge Congress and the White House than Obama would in a second term.

It continued: "Voters should give Mitt Romney a chance to correct the nation's fiscal course and to implode the partisan gridlock that has shackled Washington and the rest of America - with the understanding that he would face the same assessment in four years if he does not succeed."

Earlier this week, the paper blasted the Obama campaign after the president sat down with the editorial board for an interview Tuesday but refused to go on the record.

The newspaper's editor, Rick Green, wrote in a blog post that Obama's team should have granted the paper an on-the-record interview, as Romney did earlier in the month, saying the president's remarks in the private conversation would have helped undecided Iowa voters make up their minds.

"What the President shared with us this morning - and the manner, depth and quality of his presentation - would have been well-received by not only his base, but also undecideds. From a voter standpoint, keeping it off-the-record was a disservice," Green wrote.

Green added that, despite their frustration with the Obama campaign, the dust-up would not have an effect on their endorsement decision.

The following day, the campaign released the transcript to the Des Moines Register, which then posted the interview online. In the interview, Obama said he is confident his administration will pass immigration reform next year and achieve the equivalent of a grand bargain with Congress.

The Des Moines Register endorsed Obama in 2008 and Sen. John Kerry in 2004. The last time it backed a Republican was in 1972 with its support for Richard Nixon.

Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • Mitt Romney
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. TeamChaos

    Bye bye obama, we will get America working again and socialism will go away.

    October 28, 2012 04:42 am at 4:42 am |
  2. Snicky123

    This is great news...Romney/Ryan 2012

    October 28, 2012 05:13 am at 5:13 am |
  3. maxmbj

    I read the news of the Des Moines Register endorsement as I ate my morning toast. I looked at that toast and - lo and behold - saw the face of Barack Obama there.

    October 28, 2012 05:30 am at 5:30 am |
  4. neal

    ..i guess that this news paper wasnt paying attention to the the GOP to make Obama a ONE TERM PRESIDENT...and to block as much of his agenda as possible....with RECORD FILLIBUSTERS...

    there's the REAL reason nothing has gotten accomplished in CONGRESS!!!!

    the republican obstructionist machine.

    October 28, 2012 05:50 am at 5:50 am |
  5. Hindsight 20/20

    So it's Obamas fault that the Republicans do nothing but obstruct him? There's a reason why this is the lowest rated congress. It's not any surprise since their leader's number one priority was to make the president one termed. Not jobs or the economy but making Obama a one term president. I'd say unbelievable but they've proven themselves sadly.

    October 28, 2012 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  6. Chris

    Romney would be a disaster, please dont let him become pres!

    October 28, 2012 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  7. ken

    Tea Party Republicans were responsible for gridlock in Washington from 2010-2012 and voters will send a clear message by electing more democrats this year. The Republicans will have no incentive to block Obamas 2nd term policies so he will have more successes in 2nd term. Romney will be a disaster as he will make decisions based on political fall out much like he has done his entire life. Des Moines Register got this one wrong.

    October 28, 2012 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  8. Lefty Lib

    Yeeeeaaaaahhhhh!!!!! (done in Howard Dean's scream-voice)

    October 28, 2012 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  9. jack

    Who cares? Newspapers have not had the influence clout since the advent of the computer and internet.

    October 28, 2012 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  10. none of your business

    One of the (though the certainly not the greatest) problem facing our democracy is the media's inability to to properly do their job. Once you take sides you lose credibility and objectivity, at least in my eyes, leaving little room for presenting an accurate and unbiased view of what's going on in our government. This is a general criticism of media, not just the Des Moines Register. I mean, they really had their board vote to decide who to endorse? I suppose at least they voted, unlike Fox News who automatically plant themselves in the Republican Camp.

    October 28, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  11. mk

    Good job burying this story CNN. First time a paper endorses a Republican in 40 years and you stick it on the back page. What are you going to do when Romney gets elected?? Oh thats right, you won't be finacially solvent and a distant memory. Oh I miss the days of Bernard Shaw....

    October 28, 2012 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  12. Name

    It is wrong to reward deliberate Republican obstructionism from Day 1 of the Obama presidency by then blaming the President for not being bipartisan enough. If you do you promote a new political model that will continue to be followed by the minority party to obstruct and destroy the objectives of the majority. Choose based first upon whose policies you agree with and condemn obstructionism in the future using your newspaper as a voice.

    October 28, 2012 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  13. incredulous

    – "Voters should give Mitt Romney a chance to correct the nation's fiscal course and to implode the partisan gridlock that has shackled Washington and the rest of America – with the understanding that he would face the same assessment in four years if he does not succeed." –

    Sure give him a chance. We don't mind another war and another great recession right?

    October 28, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
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