In the battle for Ohio, newspapers of record in the state’s most populous county, a northeast industrial comeback city and the Buckeye State’s largest city by population and capital offered their endorsements Sunday for president just 16 days before Election Day.
Newspaper endorsements: help or hurt?
While it can be argued that newspaper endorsements both have little to no effect on political contests and can simultaneously exercise some sway with independent or undecided voters, there is little argument that winning Ohio is a must for Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan, given the historical fact that no Republican who has won the White House has failed to win it.
For the incumbents, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, winning Ohio would lock up the election, while losing it isn’t the deal breaker for them as it would be for Team Romney-Ryan, because the Democrats have more paths that lead to 270 electoral college votes and the White House than do the Republicans.
Three Ohio newspapers endorse
The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, The Akron Beacon Journal and The Columbus Dispatch split their endorsements with the former publications again endorsing President Barack Obama while the latter, adhering to tradition, again backed the Republican, Mitt Romney.
The Plain Dealer, whose Sunday circulation of 403,001 ranks it 20th among the top 100 newspapers in the land, said the incumbent President Obama should be re-elected based on his sound leadership.
The Akron Beacon Journal, whose Sunday circulation of 124,841 ranks it 82md among the top 100 newspapers in the land, said, “Disappointment burdens the president’s pursuit of a second term. Yet he shouldn’t be measured merely against his soaring words. What matters are his real accomplishments and the direction he proposes for the years ahead. On both those counts, he has succeeded far more than his critics contend. We recommend the re-election of Barack Obama on Nov. 6.”
The Columbus Dispatch, whose Sunday circulation of 266,488 ranks it 51st on the same list, said Mitt Romney should be elected, based on its reasoning that after nearly four years of economic stagnation, massive unemployment, record-setting debt and government intrusions into the economy that have paralyzed the private sector, the United States needs a new direction.
Cleveland newspaper endorses Obama
The Plain Dealer, like The Denver Post, The Tampa Bay Times and The Salt Lake Tribune, made important points about why President Obama deserves a second term:
“Today, we recommend President Obama’s re-election. He has led the nation back from the brink of depression. Ohio in particular has benefited from his bold decision to revive the domestic auto industry. Because of his determination to fulfill a decades-old dream of Democrats, 30 million more Americans will soon have health insurance. His Race to the Top initiative seeded many of the education reforms embodied in Cleveland’s Transformation Plan. He ended the war in Iraq and refocused the battle to disrupt al-Qaida and its terrorist allies. He ordered the risky attack inside Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden.
“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. Obama’s leadership has made a difference when it mattered most. His stimulus package helped avert an even worse economic collapse and initiated investments in education, manufacturing and green energy that should yet pay dividends. His commitment to a balanced path toward deficit reduction won’t please the most zealous members of either party, but it makes sense for the nation.
“Much of what beset America during Obama’s first term lay outside his direct control. 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.
“But Romney’s frequent changes raise questions about his core principles and make his lack of policy details all the more troubling. They make you wonder if he would stand up to the more extreme elements in his own party, especially to the House Republicans who undercut Ohioan John Boehner’s attempts to negotiate a deficit and debt deal.
“Romney’s tendency to bluster on foreign policy provides more cause for doubt. With tens of thousands of young Americans still in harm’s way in Afghanistan, the United States cannot afford to be drawn into new wars without clear national interests at stake or to sap its resources in further open-ended conflicts. The Benghazi killings reveal the risks of an “Arab Spring” in which terrorists have gained new weaponry and new freedom to operate. But these challenges require inventive diplomacy and international engagement, not slogans or swagger.
“Obama has shown that he favors engagement over bluster, and practical solutions over easy bromides. That’s what the country needs.
“Consider a defining moment early in Obama’s first term — one with special resonance in Ohio: The outgoing Bush administration had used TARP funds to throw a lifeline to General Motors and Chrysler, but the two automakers were still at death’s door. They wanted more cash and offered vague promises to change their ways. Public opinion opposed another bailout. Romney urged the companies to file for traditional bankruptcy — at a time when private-sector credit was frozen even for healthy firms.
“Obama told the companies to restructure using the Bankruptcy Court and set conditions for government financing: GM’s chairman had to go. Excess plants and dealerships had to close. Chrysler had to be bought out by Fiat. Contracts had to be renegotiated.
“It was unpopular but gutsy. And it worked. Ohioans today are making cars in Lordstown and Toledo. They’re making parts and steel for Ford, Honda and other automakers. They’re back on the job.
“That’s leadership that deserves a chance to finish the job. Re-elect President Obama.”
Akron newspaper endorses Obama
“The accomplishments on the president’s watch haven’t stopped there. The list is impressive and bears repeating, if just in part,” The Akron Beacon Journal wrote.
“Health-care reform, a landmark advance toward universal care, long sought, finally achieved.
“A restructured student loan program and expanded Pell Grants.
“A modernized food-safety system.
“The repeal of the corrosive “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy against gays in the military.
“A dramatic increase in fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks.
“Greater clarity and accountability in the way credit-card companies operate.
“An end to restrictions on stem-cell research.
“A deal to cut $1.5 trillion in spending, or half the amount proposed by Bowles-Simpson.
“Limits on mercury and other toxic emissions, rules 20 years in the making.
“Finally, Romney cannot walk back easily his comments at a Florida fund-raiser about 47 percent of Americans refusing to take responsibility or care for their lives. He either was telling the crowd what he thought it wanted to hear, or he believes what he said. Either way, the words aren’t worthy of a president.”
Columbus newspaper endorses Romney
The endorsement of Romney by The Columbus Dispatch largely followed the GOP campaign’s talking points:
“Four years after promising hope and change, and after a deficit-driving $787 billion stimulus program, here is the result:
“12.1 million unemployed, with an unemployment rate above 8 percent for 43 of the past 44 months.
“8.6 million working part time because they can’t find full-time work
“2.5 million who wanted to work, but have stopped looking for jobs.
“In 2009, real median household income was $52,195. By 2011, it had fallen to $50,054
“In 2009, the U.S. poverty rate was 14.3 percent. By 2011, the poverty rate climbed to 15 percent.
“On Obama’s watch, 12 million more Americans joined the food-stamp program, which has reached a record of more than 46 million enrollees.
“Annual federal budget deficits above $1 trillion for the past four years, increasing the national debt to an all-time high of $16 trillion.
“In 2008, Americans made a leap of faith when they elevated the inexperienced Obama to the White House. That faith was not rewarded. This time, voters should place their hopes for change in experience, by electing Romney.”
Three other Ohio newspapers on the list of 100 newspapers—The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Toledo Blade and The Dayton Daily News—have yet to post their endorsements.
Candidates in Ohio
On Tuesday, following the third and final Presidential debate, President Obama and Vice President Biden will deliver remarks at a grassroots event in Dayton. On Wednesday, Vice President Biden will deliver remarks at a grassroots event in Marion.
On Saturday, Paul Ryan was in Ohio, where he attended a Victory Rally at Valley View Campgrounds in Belmont in southeastern Ohio.
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