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Swing states: how candidates fared in battle for newspaper endorsements

Newspaper endorsements in the swing states represented, in many cases, the same kind of thoughtful grappling with the candidates and their plans that millions of voters have engaged in.

By Staff writer / November 5, 2012

A voter heads in to cast his ballot during early voting at the Wicomico County Youth and Civic Center,Oct. 31, in Salisbury, Md.

Alex Brandon/AP

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The voters are about to have their say. But before they do, newspapers based in pivotal battleground states have rendered their own verdicts on the contest between President Obama and Mitt Romney. Many have endorsed the president for a second term. Many have endorsed his Republican challenger.

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Even collectively, the views expressed in these editorials do not exactly mirror the nation's electoral soul. But the endorsements more than just echo partisan talking points. They represent, in many cases, the same kind of thoughtful grappling with the candidates and their plans that millions of individual voters have confronted en route to Nov. 6.

Those who came out in support of Mr. Romney often characterized him as a moderate, can-do business executive – someone more likely to be effective at reaching difficult compromises with a divided Congress. Those who endorsed Obama often expressed uncertainty about who the "real Romney" is (moderate or conservative), and argued that the current president is at least a known quantity with victories as well as failures under his belt.

Here's a tour of the thinking of editorial boards in eight swing states, starting in Virginia and moving clockwise around the nation – ending in the Midwest.

Virginia: Richmond Times-Dispatch – for Romney

The Times-Dispatch editorial board called Romney's economic plan "plausible and pragmatic," including his call for a cap on federal spending.

"Perhaps most disappointing has been the president's divisive rhetoric and his inability to forge alliances with the opposing party to find solutions. Republicans share the blame for the angry tone in American politics, but it was Obama who pledged just four years ago to bridge the gap between red and blue, liberal and conservative."

North Carolina: Charlotte Observer – for Obama

The Observer pours some cold water on both candidates, saying neither "has offered a credible plan that might spark growth and help create jobs. Similarly, on the issue that profoundly threatens the United States long-term – the debt – neither candidate has come forth with a prescriptive, balanced proposal of program cuts and increased revenues."

But, seeking to choose one or the other, the paper went with Obama. It concluded that Romney's fiscal plan "may be going the wrong direction" with tax cuts and higher military spending.

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