The editorial comes at a time when Romney is in need of a boost – his lead has evaporated in Iowa, where he trails Mike Huckabee by double-digit margins in some polls. In New Hampshire, he continues to tussle with Rudy Giuliani while also trying to fight off John McCain and Huckabee.
The endorsement is reflective of a conservative movement that is concerned about its prospects in 2008 and disillusioned by the record of the president it once championed. "Romney is an intelligent, articulate, and accomplished former businessman and governor," the magazine's editors write. "At a time when voters yearn for competence and have soured on Washington because too often the Bush administration has not demonstrated it, Romney offers proven executive skill. He has demonstrated it in everything he has done in his professional life, and his tightly organized, disciplined campaign is no exception. He himself has shown impressive focus and energy."
The editorial addresses worries in some conservative circles that Romney has moved to the right on some issues, including abortion, as a matter of political convenience by noting that he still held many conservative positions even in the mid-1990s. It even calls Romney "a natural ally of social conservatives." But it urges the candidate to "show more of the kind of emotion and resolve he demonstrated" in his speech last week on faith and politics.
The editorial comes after several others that have been strongly critical of Mike Huckabee's economic policy and foreign policy expertise.