Newspapers split on best man for White House
NY Times endorses Obama while editorial of paper in key state says vote for Romney
Both presidential candidates have picked up key newspaper endorsements as they head into the final stretch in the race for the White House.
The New York Times endorsed Barack Obama on Saturday, while Mitt Romney earned the endorsement of battleground Iowa's biggest newspaper, the Des Moines Register, which cited the Republican's "fresh economic vision" for America.
It was a blow for Obama, whom the influential publication backed four years ago. The Romney endorsement was the paper's first of a Republican candidate since it supported Richard Nixon in 1972.
The New York Times said it supported Obama because, among other things, he had achieved the most sweeping health care reforms since 1965, prevented another Great Depression and ended the war in Iraq.
"Mr Obama and his administration have been resolute in attacking al-Qaeda's leadership, including the killing of Osama bin Laden. He has ended the war in Iraq," the editorial said.
"Mr Romney, however, has said he would have insisted on leaving thousands of American soldiers there."
The New York Times likewise praised strides in civil rights under Obama, the first black US president, who oversaw a legislated end to the military's official exclusion of gays and lesbians from its ranks.
The Des Moines Register's editorial board said it had a vigorous debate over the endorsement, discussing who could best pull the economy out of the doldrums, create more jobs, balance the budget and forge compromises in Congress.
"When the question is framed in those terms, Mitt Romney emerges the stronger candidate," it said, citing his business record and his ability to govern as a Republican in a liberal state.