Obama racks up newspaper endorsements

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The Denver Post, The Tampa Bay Times and The Salt Lake Tribune all endorsed him, same as they did in 2008.

But The Orlando Sentinel broke from its 2008 endorsement of Obama and picked Mitt Romney for president this time.

The most surprising was the Tribune's endorsement of Obama, given Romney's ties to Utah and its heavily-Mormon population.

But, in an editorial titled "Too Many Mitts," the paper lays out its reasoning:

From his embrace of the party’s radical right wing, to subsequent portrayals of himself as a moderate champion of the middle class, Romney has raised the most frequently asked question of the campaign: "Who is this guy, really, and what in the world does he truly believe?

The paper noted that its editorial board had hoped to endorse Romney, citing his leadership in the 2002 Olympic Winter Games:

In considering which candidate to endorse, The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board had hoped that Romney would exhibit the same talents for organization, pragmatic problem-solving and inspired leadership that he displayed here more than a decade ago. Instead, we have watched him morph into a friend of the far right, then tack toward the center with breathtaking aplomb. Through a pair of presidential debates, Romney’s domestic agenda remains bereft of detail and worthy of mistrust.

Therefore, our endorsement must go to the incumbent, a competent leader who, against tough odds, has guided the country through catastrophe and set a course that, while rocky, is pointing toward a brighter day.

But Romney did win the endorsement of the Orlando Sentinel in the coveted battleground state of Florida, where recent polling has shown him leading Obama. Like the Tribune endorsement, much of the Sentinel endorsement is devoted to criticizing the candidate the paper did not endorse:

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.

The Sentinel endorsement also says that Romney is not the "ideal candidate" citing his "appeals to social conservatives and immigration extremists." The endorsement continues:

But the core of Romney's campaign platform, his five-point plan, at least shows he understands that reviving the economy and repairing the government's balance sheet are imperative — now, not four years in the future.

The Denver Post endorsement, published online and set to appear in the Sunday Oct. 21 edition of the paper, argued that although Obama has not completely solved the country's economic woes, he's set the correct course for closing the deficit and lowering unemployment. The editorial also cites Obama's decision to bail out the auto industry and pass healthcare reform, and kill Osama bin Laden as notable accomplishments.

The editorial goes on to say that much of the country's woes are actually because of a "largely intransigent Republican Party," "particularly because of unwillingness to cede any ground to Obama in the last two years on policies — such as the president's American Jobs Act — that attempt to bolster the economy."

The Tampa Bay Times, another major newspaper in Florida, also endorsed Obama on Friday. In 2008 the Times, then the St. Petersburg Times, endorsed Obama. The Times editorial also praises Obama's handling of the economy, passage of the healthcare reform law, and shift toward supporting same-sex marriage during his time in office. The editorial concedes Obama's term has included stumbles but still says the president should be reelected:

We wish the economic recovery was more vigorous, and we would like the president to present a sharper vision for a second term. But Obama has capably steered the nation through an incredibly difficult period at home and abroad, often with little help from Congress. The next four years will not be easy for whoever occupies the Oval Office, but Obama has been tested by harsh circumstance and proven himself worthy of a second term.