Florida’s largest newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times, has come out in favor of Mitt Romney as the Republican presidential candidate two weeks before the state’s vital primary.
Romney “is the candidate best prepared to make the Republicans' case that change is needed in the White House,” it said in an editorial.
Romney’s experience at Bain Capital, heading the 2002 Winter Olympics, and as Massachusetts governor gives him “a breadth of experience and a record of pragmatism that makes him the most viable Republican candidate," the editorial said.
But the Times’ endorsement is somewhat half-hearted.
“More attractive Republican alternatives, from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, sat this election out,” it pointed out.
“And the remaining candidates are too burdened with old baggage [former House Speaker Newt Gingrich], too extreme [former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum], too unprepared [Texas Gov. Rick Perry] or too eccentric [Texas Rep. Ron Paul].”
The paper, which changed its name from the St. Petersburg Times effective Jan. 1, said, “Romney’s signature accomplishment as governor was a sweeping healthcare reform law that has resulted in nearly universal coverage in Massachusetts and is similar to the national reforms that [President Barack] Obama pushed through Congress.
“In a Republican primary, that accomplishment somehow becomes a negative. Romney's tortured efforts to downplay the state reforms and pledge to pull the plug on the federal law fuels the notion that he sacrifices principle for political convenience. So does his opposition to abortion rights, efforts to reduce carbon emissions and enlightened immigration reforms — all causes he once supported.”
But the paper said, “We prefer Romney's public record to his political rhetoric.”
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