The following are excerpts from endorsements made this weekend by newspapers around the country:
"We look back on the past four years with hearts nearly breaking, both for the lives unnecessarily lost and for the opportunities so casually wasted. Time and again, history invited George W. Bush to play a heroic role, and time and again he chose the wrong course. We believe that with John Kerry as president, the nation will do better."
"John Kerry offers an experienced, steady choice to lead the nation in a different direction. Voters have plenty of reasons to deny Bush a second term, but two stand out. Consider the twin centerpieces of the Bush presidency — the war in Iraq and tax cuts."
"When a president is seeking re-election, the contest is inevitably a referendum on his service. ... We think George W. Bush has made the wrong choices on too many matters important to our country."
"Today, the (budget) surpluses are gone, replaced by record deficits that our grandchildren will be paying off. The economic engine is on life support ... The nation is in a seeming endless war in Iraq draining our financial resources and killing American soldiers at a pace the American people should find unacceptable. It's time for change."
"For the last 20 years Kerry has built coalitions, worked with both parties to get things done and been able to communicate in a way that instills confidence in voters and colleagues. ... Kerry will be better than Bush at uniting the country, something that's desperately needed today."
"(President Bush) and his band of neoconservatives have not acted conservatively in any sense of the word. ... (John) Kerry, we acknowledge, stands to the left of this newspaper on many issues. ... Faced with two imperfect candidates, the Daily Herald endorses John Kerry for president."
"John Kerry is not a perfect candidate with a flawless record. But he is a man of obvious intelligence, compassion, patriotism and courage whose presidency would be guided by a clear understanding of what went wrong in the last four years and what needs to be done in the next four."
"The best evidence of the poverty of the Bush administration's record is the Bush re-election team's incessantly negative campaign against John Kerry. ... The cynicism and illogic of those attacks — nobody can be a flip-flopper and a left-wing ideologue at the same time — should be obvious."
"He would be a sound steward, replacing a cowboy ethic with a welcome pragmatism, advancing American interests and values, seeking to reverse a careless course abroad, just as he would at home."
"Bush's sense of a president's duty to defend America is wider in scope than Kerry's, more ambitious in its tactics, more prone, frankly, to yield both casualties and lasting results. This is the stark difference on which American voters should choose a president."
"The Bush administration is more likely to remain resolute on the war in Iraq than would an administration headed by his opponent, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts. The vision of a free democratic Iraq to counter Islamic extremism and dictatorships is worth that resolve."
"John Kerry's record of waffling on issues large and small does not instill confidence that he would provide the steady leadership that these uncertain times demand. With George Bush, however, there never is any doubt about where he stands. That is why he merits another four years in the White House."
"Kerry and his running mate, Sen. John Edwards, have said over and over that they have a plan for this and a plan for that. Where are the plans? ... (Bush) doesn't flip-flop, and this is not the time to jump ship."
"(President Bush) is, in our view, the man who better recognizes the threat posed to the country and the world by international terrorism and the one more willing to do whatever it takes, regardless of world opinion, to neutralize or destroy whose who would wage attacks on American soil."
"The presidential election comes down to one thing: trust. ... Frankly, both President Bush and his Democratic challenger, Sen. John Kerry, have given voters reason to doubt. But we would give the edge to Bush."
"Given the political leanings of the nation and Congress, it requires a Republican president — it requires George W. Bush — to be able to make, and sell, the difficult decisions that the next four years will bring."
"It is time for experience and resolve, which is why George Bush should be re-elected for a second term. Without a re-election facing him, the president can move to do those things he said he would do in his first presidential campaign."
"Despite his mistakes, America knows who Bush is. He has led the country through immense troubles. Kerry, burdened by all the votes that came in the U.S. Senate for 20 years, still leaves many questions about what kind of president he would be."
"This is a presidency in deep trouble, made worse by the refusal to acknowledge the trouble… Unfortunately, Sen. John Kerry has not convinced us that he will be able to steer the nation out of the mess in Iraq and move forward appropriately in the war on terrorism."
"President Bush told us that he was 'a uniter, not a divider,' but shortly after taking office, his administration took a sharp right turn that has divided this country… We're not sure what Kerry thinks. He supported the war in Iraq, then opposed adequately funding the troops. His plan to secure the peace in Iraq is to cozy up to European countries that don't have our interests at heart."