The Washington Post endorses Obama

US President Barack Obama waves as he crosses the tarmac to greet well-wishers October 25, 2012 upon arrival at Richmond International Airport in Richmond, Virginia. (AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN)

WASHINGTON: The Washington Post editorial board endorsed President Barack Obama for another four years on Thursday, but stressed the "disappointments" of his first term.

A leading US daily newspaper based in the capital Washington, the Post said Obama was "better positioned" that his Republican challenger Mitt Romney to put the United States back on a solid financial track after a bruising recession.

However, it added: "We come to that judgment with eyes open to the disappointments of Mr Obama's first term. He did not end, as he promised he would, 'our chronic avoidance of tough decisions' on fiscal matters.

"But Mr Obama is committed to the only approach that can succeed: a balance of entitlement reform and revenue increases."

The largely symbolic endorsement from the Post was a boost to Obama as he heads in the final grueling days of a neck-and-neck fight with Romney ahead of the November 6 polls. The Post also backed Obama four years ago.

Most of the paper's newsprint readership is based in Washington and its suburbs in both Maryland and Virginia, a toss-up state that is usually considered solidly Republican but went to Obama in 2008.

Obama was the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. But this year, polls show the gap has closed between Obama and Romney in the critical swing state.

The Post criticized Romney for having "embraced his party's reality-defying ideology that taxes can always go down but may never go up."

Although it pointed to the "substantial accomplishments" of Obama's first term, the newspaper also stressed that the president "alienated Congress and business leaders by isolating himself inside a tight White House circle that manages to be both arrogant and thin-skinned."

"He hardly tried to achieve the immigration reform and climate-change policy he promised," it added.

"But economic head winds and an uncompromising opposition explain some of these failures -- and render that much more impressive the substantial accomplishments of Mr Obama's first term."

The Post praised Obama for managing to pull the economy from the brink, pushing through a sweeping health care overhaul, ending the US military's ban on openly gay troops and killing Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

However, it criticized Obama's "hesitant and inconstant" response to the 2009 pro-democracy uprising in Iran and to the wave of Arab Spring uprisings that have swept through the Middle East and North Africa.

In choosing Obama, the paper also pointed to Romney's shifting policy stances.

"The sad answer is there is no way to know what Mr Romney really believes," it said. "Every politician changes his mind sometimes; you'd worry if not. But rarely has a politician gotten so far with only one evident immutable belief: his conviction in his own fitness for higher office."





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