11/27/2011 11:20 am ET Updated Dec 02, 2011

New Hampshire 'Union Leader' Editor Calls Mitt Romney 'Perfect' President For The 19th Century

New Hampshire's largest newspaper, the Union Leader, announced Sunday that it was endorsing Newt Gingrich in the 2012 GOP primary race. This comes as a blow to presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who up until recently has been heavily favored to win the state's important primary.

Union Leader editorial page editor Andrew Cline said on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that Romney is a "very play-it-safe candidate" which is not what America needs right now. "Perhaps in the late 19th century, perfect."

"He doesn't want to offend anybody, he wants to be liked, he wants to try to reach out and be very safe," said Cline. "And that's not very realistic, but imagine what that would be like as president."

The paper, which has a record of passing over frontrunner candidates, narrowed down its choices to Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, eventually going with Gingrich because of his political experience, Cline said.

"I'm really not sure precisely what we get out of a President Romney -- who might very well be a good president -- but we don't really know," he said. "Given the choice between the candidate who wants to be liked and the candidate who wants to be respected, we would rather have the guy who wants to be respected."

Publisher Joseph W. McQuaide wrote in the endorsement that Gingrich is "by no means the perfect candidate," but is the best one in the running.

"We don't have to agree with them on every issue. We would rather back someone with whom we may sometimes disagree than one who tells us what he thinks we want to hear," he wrote.