The Orlando Sentinel endorsed Mitt Romney on Friday.
This is a switch from the the paper's support for Barack Obama in 2008.
Here's the Sentinel's view now:
Economic growth, three years into the recovery, is anemic. Family incomes are down, poverty is up. [...]
Even the September jobless numbers deserve an asterisk, because more than 4 million Americans have given up looking for work since January 2009.
And while the nation's economy is still sputtering nearly four years after Obama took office, the federal government is more than $5 trillion deeper in debt. It just racked up its fourth straight 13-figure shortfall.
We have little confidence that Obama would be more successful managing the economy and the budget in the next four years. For that reason, though we endorsed him in 2008, we are recommending Romney in this race. [...]
It verges on magical thinking to expect Obama to get different results in the next four years.
From there, the Sentinel laid out its case for Romney:
The core of Romney's campaign platform, his five-point plan, at least shows he understands that reviving the economy and repairing the government's balance sheet are imperative — now, not four years in the future.
Romney has a strong record of leadership to run on. He built a successful business. He rescued the 2002 Winter Olympics from scandal and mismanagement. As governor of Massachusetts, he worked with a Democrat-dominated legislature to close a $3billion budget deficit without borrowing or raising taxes, and pass the health plan that became a national model.
This is Romney's time to lead, again. If he doesn't produce results — even with a hostile Senate — we'll be ready in 2016 to get behind someone else who will.
What's interesting about this is that not only did the Sentinel endorse Obama in 2008, it did so after "enthusiastically" endorsing McCain in the Republican primaries (no link available):
As the primary season began, the candidate who seemed best qualified to be that leader was Republican John McCain. But Mr. McCain then was a different candidate from the one before us now. He has abandoned positions we admired. He has reacted inconsistently, even haphazardly, to events. In making the most important decision of his campaign, he showed shockingly poor judgment.
In contrast to Mr. McCain, Democrat Barack Obama has exceeded our expectations during this campaign. He has demonstrated sound judgment and grace under pressure. Because we are now more confident in his ability to steer America through the rough waters ahead, the Orlando Sentinel is endorsing Barack Obama for president.
Compounding the magnitude of the Sentinel's switch to Obama from McCain in 2008 was its support of Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries:
We favored Hillary Clinton over Mr. Obama in Florida's Democratic primary. We saw him as untested in his three years representing Illinois in the U.S. Senate, and lacking the accomplishments and policy expertise of the former first lady.
Under months of unrelenting scrutiny and withering political attacks since then, the Democratic nominee has proved to be an unflappable and thoughtful leader. He has displayed a remarkable command of issues, both domestic and foreign. It's hard to imagine a quicker study.
So the Sentinel went from backing Clinton and McCain in their respective primaries to Obama once the nominees had been decided.
But here's where the former junior senator from Illinois may have failed the Sentinel:
Mr. Obama would add only slightly less to the deficit through his spending proposals than Mr. McCain would through the tax cuts he's promising...There is reason to be wary of any Democrat in the White House when the party looks likely to pad its majorities in both chambers in Congress. If Mr. Obama wants to fulfill his promise as a leader who rises above a partisan agenda, he will need to strike a moderate course.
Not only did Obama let the Sentinel and the nation down concerning the deficit, he certainly hasn't taken a moderate course.
It therefore makes sense why the seemingly fickle Florida paper has taken its support from Obama and given it to Romney.