Four years after throwing its support behind then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, the Orlando Sentinel is saying it's time to change course.
In an editorial announcing the paper's endorsement of GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the editorial board of the large Florida daily delivers some harsh criticisms of the president, while admitting that they're not entirely satisfied with Romney's positions.
"We have little confidence that Obama would be more successful managing the economy and the budget in the next four years," the editorial board writes, after outlining their displeasure with nagging deficits and a slow economic recovery. "For that reason, though we endorsed him in 2008, we are recommending Romney in this race."
The editorial goes on to accuse Obama of not pursuing sufficient bipartisan efforts to tackle the debt and deficit, while praising Romney for making entitlement reform a prominent campaign issue. The paper also makes clear that its opposition to Obama doesn't stem from conspiracy theories or fringe arguments about his supposed lack of patriotism, and that its support for Romney doesn't come without some reservations.
"Romney is not our ideal candidate for president," the board writes. "We've been turned off by his appeals to social conservatives and immigration extremists. Like most presidential hopefuls, including Obama four years ago, Romney faces a steep learning curve on foreign policy."
The Sentinel is not alone in expressing dissatisfaction with a candidate they endorsed in 2008. The Tennessean, a pro-Obama paper four years ago, came out with a Romney endorsement earlier this week. The New York Observer, owned by Donald Trump's son-in-law, also recently announced its support for Romney after backing Obama in 2008.
Romney also picked up the endorsements of some more reliably conservative newspapers this month, two of which could provide a swing state boost. Romney's campaign, aware that Obama trounced 2008 GOP presidential candidate John McCain in newspaper endorsements, has been making a play for support from big papers in battleground states, meeting with editorial boards in the hopes of winning them over.
One other key swing state paper, the Denver Post, also made its pick on Friday, endorsing Obama. The Post also supported him in 2008.
UPDATE: 2:25 p.m. -- The Salt Lake Tribune also endorsed Obama on Friday, criticizing Romney for "lavishing vastly diverse audiences with words, any words, they would trade their votes to hear." While not a swing state -- it's gone red for the last 11 presidential elections -- Romney has strong ties to Utah both through its large Mormon population and his overseeing of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The paper also endorsed Obama in 2008.
UPDATE: 3:25 p.m. -- Another large Florida daily newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times, offered an endorsement for Obama on Friday. It supported Obama in 2008 as well.