The Newspapers Betting That Moderate Mitt Is the Real Romney

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When Andrew Sullivan complained of ABC's This Week Sunday that at the presidential debates, Mitt Romney "ripped off his mask and said, 'I'm brand new now.'" But we liked the new Romney, former Bush adviser Nicolle Wallace responded. Whether that's true of voters, we don't yet know, but it's definitely true of many newspapers who've backed the Republican this month. The real change newspaper editorial boards can believe in, Slate's Dave Weigel writes, is Romney's change from right-winger in the primary to moderate. Weigel noticed that of the 21 newspapers who backed President Obama in 2008 and switched to Romney this year, half of them hope that Romney the new Romney is the real Romney. "Would he resist?" Weigel asks of the Tea Party's demands on Republicans. "The editorial writers don’t know. But they know that he should."

Not every editorial board shares this view. Of those backing Romney, some use language that would go over well in the Republican primary, like saying Obama went on an apology tour or is a socialist. Others just point to his business career. You can see them all -- plus whether the pro-Obama papers are disappointed or thrilled with his record -- in our handy chart showing this year's endorsements so far. From left to right, the columns show the newspaper, the endorsee, the argument for the endorsee, and who the newspaper endorsed in the last three elections.

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