Salt Lake Tribune throws support behind Obama

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By: CNN’s Dana Davidsen

(CNN) — The Salt Lake Tribune announced in an editorial published Friday its endorsement of President Barack Obama for the 2012 race, questioning the “pragmatic, inclusive” former Massachusetts governor’s change into Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

“The president has earned a second term. Romney, in whatever guise, does not deserve a first,” the Utah newspaper said in the editorial.

The Tribune threw their support behind then-Illinois Sen. Obama in 2008 and Republican George W. Bush in 2004.

Utah is a reliably Republican state that split overwhelmingly for Sen. John McCain in 2008 – 63% support to Obama’s 34% – and will likely hand its six electoral votes to Romney in November.

Obama, however, narrowly bested McCain in the urban area and home to the Tribune in Salt Lake County, 49% to McCain’s 48% in 2008.

In its endorsement, the paper notes the state’s large Mormon population and lauds the former Massachusetts governor and member of the Mormon church for his “adeptly bipartisan governorship of a Democratic state, and his head for business.” Furthermore, the Tribune applauds Romney’s efforts in saving the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games, which was wrought with financial corruption and scandal prior to the former business executive’s take-over of the Games’ management.

The editorial called Romney the “Beehive state’s favorite adopted son,” but ultimately cited his change in positions from the Republican primary contest as reason to support the Democratic incumbent.

“The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board had hoped that Romney would exhibit the same talents for organization, pragmatic problem-solving and inspired leadership that he displayed here more than a decade ago,” said the Tribune.

“Instead, we have watched him morph into a friend of the far right, then tack toward the center with breathtaking aplomb. Through a pair of presidential debates, Romney’s domestic agenda remains bereft of detail and worthy of mistrust.”

Of more importance, the paper said, was Romney’s lack of clarity and specifics on his proposal to reduce the deficit, asserting that GOP nominee’s plan doesn’t add up. The paper also pointed to Romney’s now-infamous “47%” comments caught on a secretly-recorded video at a private fund-raiser in Florida suggesting that nearly half of Americans will vote for Obama because they are reliant on government services.

In throwing their support behind Obama, the Tribune editorial cites the president’s signature health care initiative, the Affordable Care Act, and the administration’s concerted effort to encourage economic growth, passing stimulus bills that “helped stop the hemorrhaging of public sector jobs” after taking office amidst a devastated economy in 2009.

The paper highlights Obama’s foreign policy credentials but said the endorsement, however, comes notwithstanding what the editorial calls a “glaring exception, still unfolding” – the September attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans including U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens. The Obama administration has come under fire in recent weeks for its failure to directly call the attack terrorism in the days following the event.

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