President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney
President Barack Obama and Mitt RomneyReuters

The New York Times endorsed President Obama for reelection on Saturday in an editorial that touts the president's record on domestic and foreign policy.

“The economy is slowly recovering from the 2008 meltdown, and the country could suffer another recession if the wrong policies take hold. The United States is embroiled in unstable regions that could easily explode into full-blown disaster. An ideological assault from the right has started to undermine the vital health reform law passed in 2010. Those forces are eroding women’s access to health care, and their right to control their lives,” the endorsement begins. “Nearly 50 years after passage of the Civil Rights Act, all Americans’ rights are cheapened by the right wing’s determination to deny marriage benefits to a selected group of us. Astonishingly, even the very right to vote is being challenged.”

While The Times editorial board admits that "we have criticized individual policy choices that Mr. Obama has made over the last four years, and have been impatient with his unwillingness to throw himself into the political fight," but nonetheless expressed optimism that he is "ready for the partisan battles" that will come after the election.

The Times said that Obama's work on healthcare reform, his nomination of two Supreme Court justices and his support of gay marriage were all reasons to back his bid for a second term. It also criticized Republican candidate Mitt Romney, asserting that he's "gotten this far with a guile that allows him to say whatever he thinks an audience wants to hear."

In terms of foreign policy, the board writes that, “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,” it adds. “Mr. Romney, however, has said he would have insisted on leaving thousands of American soldiers there.”

The paper also asserts that, “Mr. Obama negotiated a much tougher regime of multilateral economic sanctions on Iran.”

“Mr. Romney likes to say the president was ineffective on Iran, but at the final debate he agreed with Mr. Obama’s policies. Mr. Obama deserves credit for his handling of the Arab Spring. The killing goes on in Syria, but the administration is working to identify and support moderate insurgent forces there,” the endorsement states.

“In the broadest terms, he introduced a measure of military restraint after the Bush years and helped repair America’s badly damaged reputation in many countries from the low levels to which it had sunk by 2008,” it adds.

The paper has not endorsed a Republican since 1956, when it endorsed Dwight Eisenhower for president.

Mitt Romney, however, scored the endorsement of the Des Moines Register, Iowa’s largest paper, on Saturday night.

The Register, which had backed Obama in 2008 and not endorsed a GOP nominee in 40 years, said that Romney was more likely than President Obama to forge bipartisan compromises on the economy and federal deficits.

“Voters should give Mitt Romney a chance to correct the nation’s fiscal course and to implode the partisan gridlock that has shackled Washington and the rest of America — with the understanding that he would face the same assessment in four years if he does not succeed,” the paper states.

The endorsement will likely give a jolt to Romney’s efforts to secure Iowa’s six electoral votes. Recent polling has shown a tight race in the state, with Obama holding a slight edge in several recent polls. 

Swing state paper editorial boards also weighed in with The Orlando Sentinel, The Tampa Tribune, The Columbus Dispatch, The New Hampshire Union-Leader, The Colorado Pueblo Chieftain, The Colorado Longmont Times-Call, The Los Vegas Review-Journal, endorsing Romney.

The Tampa Bay Times, The Denver Post,The Winston-Salem Journal,The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ohio’s Akron Beacon Journal backed Obama.