Des Moines Register endorses first Republican for president in 40 years

Updated
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gets out of his vehicle to board his campaign plane in Akron-Canton Regional...
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gets out of his vehicle to board his campaign plane in Akron-Canton Regional...
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

The Des Moines Register released an editorial on Saturday night endorsing Mitt Romney for president. This is the first time the Iowa paper has endorsed a Republican nominee for president since they picked Richard Nixon in the 1972 election. Though the editorial board describes both Romney and President Obama as “superbly qualified,” it concludes that Romney “emerges the stronger candidate.”

“The Register’s editorial board, as it should, had a vigorous debate over this endorsement,” reads the 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,” the endorsement concludes, citing Romney’s achievements in both the public and private sector.

Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter took to Sunday’s This Week to give the Democratic campaign’s rebuttal. ”They endorsed Mitt Romney in the primary, so this is not much of a surprise,” she said. “It was a little surprising to read that editorial because it didn’t seem to be based at all in reality. Not just in the president’s record but in Mitt Romney’s record.”

The Obama campaign recently got some good news in the endorsement wars as well, however. On Friday, the president’s hometown Chicago Tribune endorsed him for reelection, citing his “steadiness in office” and “pragmatism and focus.” The paper’s editorial board typically leans conservative, though it also endorsed Obama in 2008.

Des Moines Register endorses first Republican for president in 40 years

Updated