For the first time in 40 years…
Rupturing a decades long booster club habit of backing Democrat nominees for president, the Des Moines Register, today endorsed Governor Mitt Romney.
Typically, candidates meet with newspaper editorial boards to answer questions, clarify positions, and allow the board to compare each candidate’s stance on the issues. Governor Romney took the time out of his busy campaign schedule to meet for an hour with the Des Moines Register editorial board on October 9, 2012 – in a barn on a farm near Van Meter, Iowa.
Four years ago, then-candidate Barack Obama received the nod from the Iowa paper. This time, Obama wanted to do things differently. His habit of thinking a phone call – instead of being there in person – kicked in. He thought it would be good enough. That’s what he did. He picked up his phone and gave a half hour’s time to Des Moines Register president and publisher Laura Hollingsworth and Rick Green, editor and vice-president. Later, after the call, Green wrote on his blog:
Oct 23, 2012
Just four days before the Register’s presidential endorsement is released, Laura Hollingsworth and I received a phone call from the president. He was calling from Florida, on the heels of a morning campaign appearance and about 14 hours after his debate with GOP nominee Mitt Romney at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.
The conference call lasted nearly 30 minutes…
Just two weeks before Election Day, the discussion, I believe, would have been valuable to all voters, but especially those in Iowa and around the country who have yet to decide between the incumbent Democrat and his Republican opponent.
Unfortunately, what we discussed was off-the-record. It was a condition, we were told, set by the White House.
We repeatedly –- and politely — have asked Obama 2012 campaign officials in Iowa and Chicago for the same access to the president. I believe it earned serious consideration. But despite at least 28 campaign stops and 11 days in our state, we never could convince his team to carve out a few moments for our editorial board –- in our office, on the trail or even in a barn somewhere in Iowa.
Which takes me back to Monday afternoon’s call from the White House, inviting us to chat with President Obama this morning.
It was a “personal call” to the Register’s publisher and editor, we were told. The specifics of the conversation could not be shared because it was off-the-record.
Of course, we immediately lobbied his campaign staff in Des Moines for a formal, on-the-record call. We were told it was not their decision; it came from the White House. We requested that the White House be asked to reverse course so whatever the president shared with us could be reviewed by voters and our readers.
No reason was given for the unusual condition of keeping it private.
We relented and took the call. How could we not? It’s the leader of the free world on line one.
A letter to the editor, published the next day in the Iowa paper, summed up the thoughts expressed by many:
It’s disturbing that President Obama, who promised the most transparent administration in history, refused to go on the record for his interview with The Des Moines Register’s editorial board. …
In stark contrast to Obama’s secretive style, Mitt Romney gave an hour-long, recorded interview with the Register’s editorial board that was shared online for all to see. That’s how it should be. — Sharon DeMers, Ankeny
That same day (Oct 24), without comment, Team Obama released a transcript of Obama’s phone interview.
Here is audio of Governor Romney’s interview with the Des Moines Register editorial board:
18 days later, the Des Moines Register, the largest newspaper in crucial swing-state Iowa, chose to endorse Mitt Romney!
Des Moines Register
October 27, 2012
Ten months ago this newspaper endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination for president. An overarching consideration was which of the party’s candidates could we see occupying the White House, and there was no question that Romney was qualified for the job.
Now, in the closing days of the general election campaign, the question is which of the two contenders deserves to be the next president of the United States.
Both President Barack Obama and Governor Romney are superbly qualified. Both are graduates of the Harvard University Law School who have distinguished themselves in government, in public service and in private life. Both are devoted husbands and fathers.
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 former governor and business executive has a strong record of achievement in both the private and the public sectors. He was an accomplished governor in a liberal state. He founded and ran a successful business that turned around failing companies. He successfully managed the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Romney has made rebuilding the economy his No. 1 campaign priority — and rightly so.
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.
Consumers must feel more confident about their own economic futures to begin spending on the products and services that power the economy. A renewed sense of confidence will spark renewed investment by American companies. Industry will return to full production and hiring will begin again.
That should come with Mitt Romney in the White House.
Throughout the campaign, he has expressed faith in the private sector to fuel a more robust economic recovery if it has more confidence that the federal government will not be an obstacle. Romney has a strategy for job growth through tax and regulatory relief for small businesses, encouraging all forms of domestic energy production, education that prepares graduates with job skills, expanding foreign trade and reducing the burden of federal deficits.
That formula, coupled with his business acumen, should unlock this nation’s economic potential.
Voters should give Mitt Romney a chance to correct the nation’s fiscal course and to implode the partisan gridlock that has shackled Washington and the rest of America — with the understanding that he would face the same assessment in four years if he does not succeed.
We need Iowa to help get America back on track. I am honored to have the @dmregister’s endorsement.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) October 28, 2012
Follow Jayde Wyatt on Twitter @YayforSummer