All four major Iowa newspapers back Romney

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney holds a rally at Defiance High School, in Defiance, Ohio, October 25, 2012.
Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

As far as newspaper endorsements are concerned, Mitt Romney made a clean sweep in Iowa: all four major newspapers, including the state's largest paper, The Des Moines Register, backed Mitt Romney.

The Register's editorial board said it engaged in a "vigorous debate" over whom to endorse this election. Ultimately, the newspaper that hasn't backed a Republican since Richard Nixon in 1972, decided to throw its weight behind the Republican nominee. 

Central to the editorial board's decision is who has a better chance of working with Congress. "When the question is framed in those terms, Mitt Romney emerges the stronger candidate," the editorial board wrote. They cautioned Romney, however, on "wasting time on issues that animate many in his party."

The Cedar Rapids Gazette's editorial board said President Obama "made his mark during his historic first term" with passage of the health care law, reforms to the financial sector and investments in green energy, but they say the president has "come up short" on the economy and debt. 

Simply put, the Quad City Times' editorial board wrote, "We invested heavily in hope back in 2008. Our 2012 endorsement of Mitt Romney comes with an imperative for change." The Sioux City Journal editorial board offered a similar assessment: "We are neither satisfied nor confident. In our view, change is needed." 

Related: Swing-state papers offer endorsements, albeit unenthusiastically

Romney also received the endorsements of a couple of Ohio newspapers this weekend, including the Cincinnati Enquirer. "This is a precarious time for America. We'd expect a President Romney to lead toward the center, to resist the calls for a hard turn to the right that are sure to come from within his party," they wrote. 

Mr. Obama picked up the endorsement of an Ohio newspaper as well. The Toledo Blade editorial board wrote that "the choice between the candidates is clear and momentous." However, they offered a measured assessment of the president, saying he has said "too little" about entitlement reform, climate change, oil and gas production, gun control and mass incarceration. "But Mr. Romney's prescriptions on such matters, to the extent he has any, are worse."

Newspapers elsewhere also threw their support behind the president this weekend.

The Detroit Free Press editorial board called Mr. Obama's record "stunning." They pointed to the auto bailout, the Affordable Care Act health care law and the end of the war in Iraq and the near end of the war in Afghanistan. "Romney has been a shape-shifter, his message twisting and reconfiguring itself to fit the needs of the moment," the editorial board wrote about the Republican who was born in Michigan and whose father was governor there five decades ago.

The president received the backing of major newspapers in the battleground states of North Carolina and Pennsylvania. The Raleigh News and Observer editorial board wrote that "the president has accomplished much in his first term" and that he would continue to fight for the middle class. 

"There will be no stimulus money for jobs, regulations will be cut back severely on the environment and Wall Street (where the recession was hatched due to loose rules in the first place) and, of course, the well-to-do will be showered with tax cuts," the editorial board at the Pittsburgh Post Gazette wrote. "Because we still hope, we endorse for president Barack Obama, whose heart -- unlike his challenger -- has not wavered nor his principles changed." 

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    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for