US media falls behind each candidate as Presidential fight enters final days

As the 2012 US presidential election enters its final days, newspapers in key swing states have started to take sides, reports Caroline Mortimer.


As the American Presidential Election enters its final days, the candidates have been racing round the country trying to get the major swing states in their corner before polling day.

In the Blue Corner:

To no-one’s surprise, liberal heavyweight The New York Times made its already unofficial support for Barack Obama official on Sunday with a three-page editorial listing the many ways America had improved in the last four years and the many ways Romney would ruin it.

For them, the “choice was clear”:

“The economy is slowly recovering from the 2008 meltdown, and the country could suffer another recession if the wrong policies take hold. The United States is embroiled in unstable regions that could easily explode into full-blown disaster. An ideological assault from the right has started to undermine the vital health reform law passed in 2010.

“Those forces are eroding women’s access to health care, and their right to control their lives. Nearly 50 years after passage of the Civil Rights Act, all Americans’ rights are cheapened by the right wing’s determination to deny marriage benefits to a selected group of us. Astonishingly, even the very right to vote is being challenged.”

Somewhat less enthusiastically, earlier this month, the largest newspaper in the key swing state of Ohio, The Plain Dealer, in the key swing state of Ohio, came out in favourite of the Democratic incumbent as well.

The editorial said it would not back the President as spiritedly or optimistic as it had done in 2008 because the “big dreamer of 2008 offers little in the way of a second-term agenda” and they were almost tempted to endorse Mitt Romney as, if nothing else, he had “the track record of a man who gets things done”.

We wish President Obama had used this campaign to showcase a more substantial vision for the many challenges that still confront America. The nation needs to get more people back to work. It needs to get its financial house in order, reform its tax code and streamline — though not gut — regulation in order to reassure business and speed recovery. It needs to invest in infrastructure, education and job training. It needs to expand exports and engage the world.

“Not only do we still believe this president can do those things, we think he can do it with policies most likely to lift Ohio and Ohioans.”

However, in the Red Corner:

Two leading newspapers in two hotly-contested swing states, the The Des Moines Register in Iowa and the Orlando Sentniel in Florida have backed Romney for the White House.

The Des Moines Register explained in an editorial why it had decided to back its first Republican candidate since 1972:

“American voters are deeply divided about this race. The Register’s editorial board, as it should, had a vigorous debate over this endorsement. Our discussion repeatedly circled back to the nation’s single most important challenge: pulling the economy out of the doldrums, getting more Americans back in the workforce in meaningful jobs with promising futures, and getting the federal government on a track to balance the budget in a bipartisan manner that the country demands.

“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.

“Romney has made rebuilding the economy his No. 1 campaign priority – and rightly so.”

Just before the third debate, the Orlando Sentinel endorsed Romney in far more stringent terms, condemning Obama’s failure to get Florida back to work:

“We have little confidence that Obama would be more successful managing the economy and the budget in the next four years. For that reason, though we endorsed him in 2008, we are recommending Romney in this race.

“Obama’s defenders would argue he inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression, and would have made more progress if not for obstruction from Republicans in Congress. But Democrats held strong majorities in the House and Senate during his first two years.

“Other presidents have succeeded even with the other party controlling Capitol Hill. Democrat Bill Clinton presided over an economic boom and balanced the budget working with Republicans.

“Leaders find a way.”

Polls still show the race between Obama and Romney is uncomfortably tight in nearly all swing states with neither candidate managing more than a percentage point lead over the other.

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