Saturday, October 27, 2012

Urgent: Des Moines Register endorses Mitt Romney; first Republican to win support since Nixon in 1972

The paper's endorsement in an editorial published online moments ago comes less than two weeks before the Nov. 6 election, where Iowa is viewed as a battleground state in a very close race.

Romney
Today's choice of Mitt Romney is a big surprise. He's the first Republican to win the daily's support in 40 years; the paper endorsed Richard Nixon for re-election in 1972. Four years ago, the Register picked Barack Obama over the GOP's John McCain.

In choosing Romney, the Register said the former Massachusetts governor stood a better chance of forging necessary compromises in Congress.

"Romney has made rebuilding the economy his No. 1 campaign priority -- and rightly so,'' the editorial says. "The president’s best efforts to resuscitate the stumbling economy have fallen short. Nothing indicates it would change with a second term in the White House."

Still, the paper offered a caution amid detractors' claims that Romney has flip-flopped on issues.

But is Romney 'real'?
"Romney had to tack to the right during the primary season," the editorial says. "Since then, he has recalibrated his campaign to focus on his concern for the middle class, and that is believable if the real Mitt Romney is the one on display as governor of Massachusetts who passed a health care reform plan that became the model for the one passed by Congress."

Obama
The Register is the state's biggest daily, and the endorsement will appear in print tomorrow, the biggest day for readership. The Register's Sunday circulation is 211,762 and weekday is 101,915, according to the March 31 ABC report.

In Iowa polls, Obama is ahead of Romney -- but just barely: 49% to 47%, according to USA Today's poll tracker.

The Register's record of endorsing winning presidential candidates has been poor. In 21 consecutive endorsements since 1928, the paper supported the eventual winner only nine times.

Over the past 100 years, the paper supported Republican presidential candidates exclusively until 1964, when it chose Lyndon Johnson over Barry Goldwater.

The Register’s editorial board consists of Publisher Laura Hollingsworth, Editor Rick Green, Opinions Editor Randy Evans and editorial writers Rox Laird and Andie Dominick.

Hollingsworth has been publisher since 2007. Green's been the top editor since January 2011.

Controversial phone call
Today's endorsement follows a controversy this week after Hollingsworth and Green agreed to speak with the president in an off-the-record telephone conversation -- terms that had been set by the Obama campaign.

But the campaign reversed itself, agreeing to make a transcript of the conversation public, after Green wrote about the incident in a blog post. Green said the campaign's original off-the-record terms would not affect the paper's endorsement decision.

Which candidate is your site endorsing? Please post your replies in the comments section, below. To e-mail confidentially, write jimhopkins[at]gmail[dot-com]; see Tipsters Anonymous Policy in the rail, upper right.

56 comments:

  1. It wasn't the editorial board endorsing Romney. It was the publisher. Period. This ain't no stinking democracy, folks.

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  2. " Anonymous said...

    It wasn't the editorial board endorsing Romney. It was the publisher. Period. This ain't no stinking democracy, folks. "

    You're right.. It's a republic just like it always has been.

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  3. Intellectually dishonest endorsement.

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  4. Never has there been a more ill-conceived, dishonest endorsement. This stinks of corporate influence over the editorial board. As an Iowan and native of Des Moines I am ashamed of my hometown newspaper.

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  5. WTF in the editorial does it say, it was the decision, of one person?

    This is the worst part of this blog - "the sky is falling" statements with no supporting information.

    Later, someone finds info that proves 100% that previous "sky" statement was absolute shit and useless.

    So many morons, dopes, and idiots on this blog, making things even worse.

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  6. The last time the Register endorsed a Republican, things didn't work out so well in the end.

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  7. 10:26 What's odd is that the editorial essentially wraps up its praise of Romney by suggesting he might still be a fraud:

    "He has recalibrated his campaign to focus on his concern for the middle class, and that is believable if the real Mitt Romney is the one on display as governor of Massachusetts."

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  8. It's not been a good campaign season for the Register. Add incompetence to the list of reasons newspapers need to stop doing endorsements. It looks like payback time for Obama for the off-the-record-thing, which makes Green et al look even worse.

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  9. I won't discuss the merits of the editorial. But to suggest "corporate influence" had anything to do with it is absurd. I don't know how many Gannett sites will offer endorsements in the presidential elections, but you are going to find some for Romney and some for Obama. These are local decisions. Sure, publishers have veto power but, for a variety of reasons, they aren't always inclined to use it. It depends on the publisher and sometimes depends on the situation. As a member of an editorial board, I can honestly say these issues are usually not as clear-cut as many might believe.

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  10. Des Moines Register is getting serious attention on twitter.
    Drive up those page views.

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  11. Let's see, a paper can endorse a political candidate, but their employees cannot?

    Typical Gannett and corporate hypocrisy.

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  12. If Romney wins,Register and AZ Republic tout economic plan as main reason, this will mean an end to furloughs, right?

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  13. Jim, since you've brought politics in, about "fraud" and endorsement --

    Read WSJ lately?

    Fact: they've been calling Obama a fraud, about every third day, since 1/1/2011. http://bit.ly/U6VyJO

    Without fear or favor, Jim.

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  14. Iowa has early voting. I've already voted, and so have many people I know. Is anyone sitting around waiting for the Register's endorsement to decide how to vote?

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  15. It just shows that the Register is struggling to make it's bottom line.
    Profit,money, greeen paper.
    The board believes that Romney is the only chance to bring this economy and America back to strong growth and a strong country.
    May be this endorsement will wake up Iowans.
    Really,Iowa is a very conservative state ia almost all ways,except when they vote.Iowa is certainly not liberal in their lifestyles,and I don't believe they even know the meaning of the party.

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  16. As a retired editorial page editor from a number of Gannett newspapers I can testify that publishers can and will dictate in these decisions. And I have had to write those endorsements. I am deeply disappointed in the Register abandoning The President for Mitt Romney (someone nobody has a clue about what kind of president he might be, he has changed his positions so drastically over recent years.) Hard for me to not start looking for petty reasons ...

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  17. The publisher is a Republican. Her husband is a banker. That's pretty much all you need to know, folks.

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  18. Anyone who saw Thursday's DMR 1A
    http://twitter.com/Timodc/status/261418619248992256/photo/1/large
    would have expected this.

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  19. Hey Jim:
    The last time the Register endorsed a Democrat, things didn't (haven't) work out so well either!

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  20. Jim — On your note above, I don't have a problem with a tepid endorsement, or one that isn't 18 paragraphs of "rah rah this guy is perfect." I think that putting nuance into an editorial and endorsing with some reservation is what makes a general interest thing like a newspaper important, as opposed to the polarizing views of opinion-makers elsewhere.

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    1. Another blatent attempt by publisher/editor to make the news (as they have often the past few weeks) instead of accurately assessing and portraying reality. It's embarrassing to have this editorial board/leadership "represent" Iowa and the Midwest. It's been sad to watch the paper decline from the inside since Green took over. Just the most recent example.

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  21. Florida Today also endorsed Romney...

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  22. I think the Register folks got a first-hand account of the President's disingenuous ways. They also were confronted with another example of him using his position to NOT work with people on generally accepted terms.

    The Register took his record and treatment of people into account. It might be the Washington way but not the Iowa way.

    Why would they endorse a guy like that?

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  23. As it too many papers inside and outside Gannett, the Register's top news executive -- Rick Green -- is on the editorial board and participated in deciding which candidate to endorse.

    On top of that, Green served as a spokesman for the board when he was interviewed by Poynter Online about the endorsement decision.

    "We had vigorous debate, and that’s how it should be,'' he said.

    There's supposed to be a solid wall between the opinion and news sections at a newspaper to avoid the appearance of bias in news columns. Is it any wonder that readers question whether that's true when an editor like Green straddles that wall?

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  24. Fox commentators were convinced Dead Moines was gonna endorse Obama. Shows you how much O'Reilly & Company know.

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  25. Jim, why don't Romensko and you ask DMR for how they voted on endorsement?

    Was it just the publisher? Because if it was, that ultimately leaks. Why not just be honest and frank?

    Heck, now you can call publisher and say, "gee I hate to do this, but people are asking .."

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    1. People don't care about endorsements, haven't for 25 years. The only folks who care are in the industry. Get over yourselves.

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  26. The Des Moines Register is run by Gannett which is owned by Bain, Mitt's former stomping ground and one he still owns major stock in. They don't have a great track record with their endorsements. I wouldn't look favorably on it. The last Republican was Nixon who lost after one endorsement and won having another. The register's editorial board that debated on the endorsement were Publisher Laura Hollingsworth, who has final say, editor Rick Green, Opinions editor Randy Evans and writers Rox Laird and Andie Dominick. It appears that there were some that opposed the endorsement of Mitt as it was stated that not all agreed, but Laura Hollingsworth has the final say. It appears she chose Mitt as did Green. They did so because they are Romney supporters and were also peeved at the President because he didn't give them an interview until recently and then it was off-the- record. It was childish for them to basically throw a temper tantrum because the president snubbed them at first. So they got back at him by not endorsing him. Rick Green's blog about this issue is available online.

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  27. The Cincinnati Enquirer endorsed Romney. Its editorial board is Publisher Margaret Buchanan, Editor Carolyn Washburn and Editorial Page Editor David Holthaus.

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  28. George, prove it. Put up the information, directly from the link. That's what a professional would do.

    Otherwise, you are just like most of the non-GCI BSers here -- full of it.

    BTW: if you have a brain, try to look up GCI on Yahoo! Finance.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=GCI&ql=1

    GCI is 92% owned by ETFs, MMFs, money-center banks, pension funds, and other institutional investors. Duh.

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  29. Jim, IMHO, the DMR publish. got sand-bagged by Obama. Everyone has to take calls from the White House and President's office.

    It was Obama's handlers that got the OTR thing going.

    Give RG this -- he put it on his blog, and he didn't have to. Which any honest journalist would admit, made Obama look odd, silly and bizarre.

    And Obama backed down.

    Heck, let's be sarcastic for a moment -- those 147 days as a U.S. senator sure prepared Obama for dealing with newspapers, didn't they? He showed Biden on to deal with newspapers, didn't he?

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  30. The world is turning folks. Get a grip.

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  31. Early voting started October 2 in Ohio.

    The Cincinnati Enquirer published endorsements October 28.

    That's holding to a schedule that goes back, oh, a hundred years?

    Another example of throwback management unwilling or unable to adapt.

    Under the current unimaginative and out-of-touch management, the Enqy looks more ignorant and grows more irrelevant every day.

    A dynamic company wouldn't waste any time on a shakeup to hire managers who know what century it is.

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    Replies
    1. 6:19 that is an issue at many newspapers around the country. Now this is a good discussion point.

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  32. Yeah, and the sun's gonna set tonight, too. Obama goofed with the DMR and wound up looking goofy.

    That's called "news" - duh. Get a grip on that.

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  33. Something is afoul with the Gannett endorsements today.


    Several local papers seem to have the same tempo (and even the same wording and structure) as though they all worked off the same boilerplate and simply reworded and tailored their endorsements to fit their local audiences.


    Read each one to find the same share similarities.


    There is no way these editorial boards independently wrote these endorsements:


    http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/article/20121028/GPG0602/310280116/Press-Gazette-endorsement-We-recommend-Romney-president?nclick_check=1

    http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20121027/OPINION03/121026026/The-Register-endorsement-Mitt-Romney-offers-a-fresh-economic-vision?Opinion&gcheck=1&nclick_check=1

    http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20121028/OPINION/310280112/1004/rss12/We-recommend-Mitt-Romney-president

    http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20121028/EDIT01/310280050/Enquirer-presidential-endorsement-Mitt-Romney?nclick_check=1

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  34. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  35. The Times in Shreveport has also endorsed Romney.

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  36. blustery bob dickey is a republican enthusiast and these metro market newspaper publishers who endorsed Romney report to blustery bob

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  37. "There is no way these editorial boards independently wrote these endorsements"

    Attempt to prove it (e.g., content analysis with statistics).

    Bet you can't. You're just an Obama supporter, complaining like Axelrod on MTP. Only words, no actions.

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  38. 11:31 The Times in Shreveport DID NOT endorse Romney, Big Boy Bailey endorsed Romney. I am a former Shreveport employee and knew before I left who he endorsed and who he was going to force the paper to endorse. Bailey's close mind is one of the reasons I left the newspaper but it appears I am not the only one leaving---look at the advertisers and the community.

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  39. 11:31 WHAT - this smells BAILEY.

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  40. The Gannett executives have much to gain from a Romney presidency. Namely, lower taxes on their six and seven-figure bonuses for running the company in the ground.

    Therefore, it is in their best interest to promote Romney. Which of course, is a conflict of interest. Something that they love to order their employees to avoid.

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  42. 7:26 You are correct, I was personally attacked by Bailey before I left for my writings towards the elections. Good luck Shreveport because you are in need of a leader!

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  43. I don't think the average voter gives a shit-and-a-half about newspaper endorsements. The whole concept is a throwback to the old days when papers were family-owned, partisan enterprises. We can't get the public to read the paper, let alone take its advice. Time to retire the practice altogether.

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  45. I'd be shocked, SHOCKED, if it's true that Gracia & Co. would send out a boilerplate EdOp backing someone who got rich by sucking a collection of mismanaged entities dry and putting that largesse in their own pockets! Why, that would be so...







    ...ironic!

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  46. 8:46, compare Ms. Gracia to Big Al. Who has more writing experience?

    Waiting for your answer.

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  47. Washburn is a genius. I say bring her in to run Usa Today's political team.

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  48. Those of us who have been forced to suffer through any extended period of time with Rick Green have been forced to hear his Obama bashing. Not a surprise.

    As for Carolyn she's so busy playing "gotcha" journalist and saying "look at me" in her own passive yet quirky aggressive way that she's either a savant or complete fool.

    With these two at the helm that steam ship will run aground soon enough.

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  49. "There is no way these editorial boards independently wrote these endorsements"

    Attempt to prove it (e.g., content analysis with statistics).

    Bet you can't. You're just an Obama supporter, complaining like Axelrod on MTP. Only words, no actions.

    Is that a $10k bet you Gracia hack?

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  50. The Reno Gazette-Journal also endorsed Romney, saying Obama has failed to revive the economy...

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  51. If newspaper endorsements were relevant, candidates would advertise in newspapers. They aren't, and they don't.

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