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Obama, Romney compete for newspaper endorsements

Influential newspapers from around the globe are taking sides in the US Presidential election — and it looks like Obama has a strong edge abroad.

Obama romney debate 2012 10 24Enlarge
US President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney shake hands at the end of the third and final presidential debate Oct. 22, 2012 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

On the eve of the presidential election, President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney are racking up newspaper endorsements from papers both close to home and across the globe.

Here's a quick round-up:

ISRAEL'S HAARETZ: Obama is good for Israel

Obama may be perceived as struggling for support among Israelis, but he picked up the endorsement of the influential — albeit left-leaning — Israeli news organization, Haaretz.

In an editorial published Friday, the English-language newspaper argued that "Obama is good for Israel," and that there is no reason for all of the negativity directed toward the President.

Haaretz said that Obama would continue the policies adopted under former president George W. Bush that helped Israel. The newspaper credits Bush for temporarily deterring Iran's march toward a nuclear weapon and giving his support to the two-state solution.

"Obama continued this two-way track vis-a-vis Iran and the issue of Palestinian statehood. Under his pressure, Israel suspended for the first time - for a while - construction in the settlements. Relations between the two countries' armed forces have never been so close. Obama's challenge in his second term, if he wins the elections, is to lead the region to a stable arrangement of peace and security."

Obama enjoys the support of many Jewish Americans, but Romney has accused the president of having a chilly attitude toward Israel and its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

A survey released in late October by Tel Aviv University showed Israeli Jews preferred Romney to Obama by almost a three to one margin — the inverse of the predicted American Jewish vote, according to Reuters.

The editorial acknowleges the rift between Obama and Israelis, but says there are no grounds for the negativity.

"Obama has been accused of taking a cool and hostile stance in relation to Israel on several issues, from Iran to Palestine. Romney promises a warmer, more supportive approach. Indeed, one would hope the realization of Romney's wishes would further advance Washington-Jerusalem relations, in the tradition of all recent U.S. administrations, both Republican and Democrat. But a deeper examination of the core issues comprising the two countries' relations - devoid of political and personal interests - reveals no grounds for portraying Obama in a negative light."

 

THE ECONOMIST: Our American endorsement: Which One?

London-based magazine The Economist narrowly chose to back President Obama for a second time on Saturday.

The magazine seemed to struggle with its choice, laying out positives and negatives for both candidates, but ultimately saying "the Democrat narrowly deserves to be re-elected."

To the Economist, Obama scores points for his handling of foreign policy and health care reform. It was less enthusiastic about his economic policies but ultimately concluded that, given the difficult task of digging the US out of recession, Obama "stopped it all being a lot worse."

"His responses—an aggressive stimulus, bailing out General Motors and Chrysler, putting the banks through a sensible stress test and forcing them to raise capital (so that they are now in much better shape than their European peers)—helped avert a Depression."

However, the magazine noted that Obama has showed "no readiness" to tackle the huge economic problems that face the US.

"America cannot continue to tax like a small government but spend like a big one. Mr Obama came into office promising to end “our chronic avoidance of tough decisions” on reforming its finances—and then retreated fast, as he did on climate change and on immigration. Disgracefully, he ignored the suggestions of the bipartisan Bowles-Simpson deficit commission that he himself set up. More tellingly, he has failed to lay out a credible plan for what he will do in the next four years."

The Economist's critique of the President seems to leave the magazine wide open to consider a Republican alternative. Indeed, the Economist said that it would have chosen the Romney that "flickered across television screens in the first presidential debate."

But instead of the moderate Massachusetts Governor, the magazine said it found that there were "a lot of Romneys and they have committed themselves to a lot of dangerous things." It acknowleged that Romney is aligned with many of the Obama administration's policies on the Middle East.

"But Mr Romney seems too ready to bomb Iran, too uncritically supportive of Israel and cruelly wrong in his belief in “the Palestinians not wanting to see peace”. The bellicosity could start on the first day of his presidency, when he has vowed to list China as a currency manipulator—a pointless provocation to its new leadership that could easily degenerate into a trade war."

 

CANADA'S THE GLOBE AND MAIL: Despite flaws, Obama is the better candidate to lead real recovery

The Toronto-based Globe and Mail endorsed President Obama in a Friday editorial, focusing on a deciding issue that rings loudest with so many voters: the economy.

"The question for US voters is, Who can best reduce public spending and lead a robust recovery?" the outlet wrote.

The Globe and Mail continued with an argument that Obama has demonstrated his ability to stave off extreme financial crisis:

"His policies, including massive stimulus spending, helped to arrest the deterioration, and to put the country on the path of recovery, albeit gradually."

The newspaper also said Obama's drawdown of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as his plans to proceed with cuts to defense spending, are the fiscally responsible choices. Meanwhile, it wrote that Romney's economic plan for the country simply "does not add up."

"His fiscal and economic program has some gaping holes, especially with respect to “tax expenditures,” that is, his proposed elimination of unspecified tax deductions, which will not suffice to do what he promises. More importantly, it would be impossible to maintain the armed forces on a war-time footing, now that the Iraq mission has ended and the U.S. military role in Afghanistan is winding down, and also deal with the country’s ruinous levels of debt."

Obama has also demonstrated a much-needed "tolerance," the paper said, while Romney has taken "some unreasonable positions, from defunding Planned Parenthood to a provocative pledge to declare China a currency manipulator."

THE FINANCIAL TIMES: Obama is the wiser bet for crisis-hit US

The Financial Times, based in London, put forward their vote for President Obama on Sunday, writing:

"... As in his response to Hurricane Sandy, Mr Obama has shown that purposeful government can be part of the solution rather than the problem. Four years on from the financial crisis, with extreme inequality an affront to the American dream, there remains a need for intelligent, reformist governance. Mr Obama, his presidency defined by the economic crisis, looks the better choice."

In addition to its defense of Obama, the FT gave its justification for counting Mitt Romney out of the game, citing, like other outlets, his morphing positions on major issues:

"The more serious objection to Mr Romney is that he has gone through so many contortions to win his party’s nomination that it is hard to see how he would govern in practice. His wishlist includes an aspiration to raise Pentagon spending by a fifth while cutting everyone’s taxes and still somehow balancing the books. Such fiscal alchemy is an exercise in evasion, not a recipe for sustainable economic recovery.... His protean persona relies more on market research than any innate political philosophy."

 

NEW YORK POST: Our choice for America’s future: The Daily News endorses Mitt Romney for president

In the US, Mitt Romney's biggest endorsement so far has come from a blue state newspaper that backed Obama in 2008, the New York Post.

In an editoral published Saturday, the Post aired its frustrations with President Obama.

"Four years ago, the Daily News endorsed Obama, seeing a historic figure whose intelligence, political skills and empathy with common folk positioned him to build on the small practical experience he would bring to the world’s toughest job. We valued Obama’s pledge to govern with bold pragmatism and bipartisanship.... The hopes of those days went unfulfilled."

The paper says that Obama has had four long years to fix the economic mess and that recovery isn't happening fast enough. It cites a 7.9 percent national jobless rate and nine million fewer jobs.

"Recovery from the disaster that Obama inherited was going to take time. But four years is a long, long slog. Had the President guided a typical upswing, America would by now have regained essentially all its lost jobs. At his present pace, Obama would reach that milestone in the third year of a second term."

Mitt Romney, the editoral board says, will bring the focus back to jobs and the economy:

"The centerpieces of Romney’s plan call for spending restraint and rewriting the Internal Revenue code to lower rates by 20%. He would make up much of the lost revenue by eliminating deductions and loopholes that have made the tax system a thicket of strangling complexities. On its own, paring the personal and corporate rules to the basics would catalyze business and consumer spending."

In addition, Romney has picked up several influential endorsements from swing-state newspapers.

 

THE NEW YORK TIMES: Barack Obama for Re-election

New York's largest newspaper continued its support for President Obama in an editorial published October 27.

The Grey Lady's editorial board cited nearly every issue facing the country as reasons for backing the President: the economy, Middle East instability, health care reform, women's reproductive rights, marriage equality and voting rights.

"In the poisonous atmosphere of this campaign, it may be easy to overlook Mr. Obama’s many important achievements, including carrying out the economic stimulus, saving the auto industry, improving fuel efficiency standards, and making two very fine Supreme Court appointments."

The paper singled out health care reform as one of the president's great achievements, but argued that Republican opposition to the Affordable Care Act would wipe out policies that benefit many Americans.

"That would eliminate the many benefits the reform has already brought: allowing children under 26 to stay on their parents’ policies; lower drug costs for people on Medicare who are heavy users of prescription drugs; free immunizations, mammograms and contraceptives; a ban on lifetime limits on insurance payments. Insurance companies cannot deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Starting in 2014, insurers must accept all applicants. Once fully in effect, the new law would start to control health care costs."

The Times offered a blistering indictment of Romney, saying voters may be confused about his real identity but that he represents the base of the Republican party.

"Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, has gotten this far with a guile that allows him to say whatever he thinks an audience wants to hear. But he has tied himself to the ultraconservative forces that control the Republican Party and embraced their policies, including reckless budget cuts and 30-year-old, discredited trickle-down ideas."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/121104/obama-romney-compete-newspaper-endorsements