Liberal Iowa Newspaper Des Moines Register Backs Romney for President

Iowa’s liberal-leaning newspaper, the Des Moines Register, which endorsed Barack Obama for president in 2008, has endorsed Mitt Romney for the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses.

In giving its endorsement on Saturday, the paper cited Romney’s “sobriety, wisdom and judgment” and noted that he graduated from the Ivy League, finishing “in the top 5 percent in his MBA class at Harvard.”

The Register said that, although Romney is not a Democrat, he has distinguished himself from others in the GOP field because “he offers smart and well-reasoned alternatives rather than simply proposing to swing a wrecking ball in Washington . . . His detailed policy paper on the economy contains 87 pages of carefully crafted positions on taxes, energy, trade and regulatory policy, complete with 127 footnotes.”

The paper applauded Romney for his controversial healthcare program he instituted and mandated as governor of Massachusetts.

“He helped create healthcare reform in Massachusetts that is strikingly similar to the much-derided ‘Obamacare,’ for example. Yet Romney argues reasonably, though not entirely persuasively, that while all states should be free to experiment with their own reforms, it is wrong for the federal government to force a one-size-fits-all plan on the entire nation,” the paper’s editorial said.

The editorial also noted that Romney may have to overcome claims that he is a “flip-flopper,” and detailed his strong stance in favor of abortion rights before and after he became governor of Massachusetts.

The editorial cited Romney’s strong support of a healthcare program similar to President Barack Obama’s as a key reason for the newspaper’s endorsement: “While other Republican candidates are content to bash the president’s health reform law without offering meaningful reforms of their own, Romney has defended the principal goal of the Massachusetts healthcare legislation, which was to ensure that all residents there had access to healthcare.”

The Romney endorsement may not be such a coup for the Republican aspirant, however. The Des Moines Register has a strong editorial history of backing President Obama and endorsed him during the 2008 presidential race.

“Obama has earned the Register’s endorsement for the presidency because of his steadfastness in the face of uncertainty, his clear-eyed vision for a more just America and his potential for rallying the country to do great things,” the paper’s 2008 endorsement read.