The Nashville Tennessean, the traditionally liberal newspaper that gave Al Gore his start in journalism, endorsed Republican challenger Mitt Romney for President Thursday.
It was another stunning setback for the Obama campaign, already reeling from plunging poll numbers.
While the state of Tennessee is not in play, the Tennessean's endorsement says a great deal about the growing disappointment with President Obama among those who supported him in 2008. Indeed, the Tennessean has a long tradition of endorsing Democrats for President -- from Barack Obama in 2008 to John Kerry in 2004 to Al Gore in 2000.
The endorsement's critique of the Obama presidency could well find its way into some Romney campaign ads:
President Obama’s steps to get spending under control and reduce the debt are too tentative, and again hark back to his inability to possess the leadership to break the partisan gridlock in Congress.
That said, there is real fear that a Romney administration, including his more conservative running mate, Paul Ryan, would go too far with austerity measures that could rip the social safety net. For that reason, the hope is that Romney, as president, would be a moderate influence, bringing both parties together on a debt-reduction plan that is firm but fair...
Should President Obama, as some suggested, have devoted his early political capital to jobs and debt reduction and pursuing Wall Street criminals, instead of health reform? Time will tell. But it’s clear whatever shaky bridges were burned in the push for health reform only emboldened Republicans to oppose his subsequent economic proposals. That has rendered much of his presidency ineffective.
Barack Obama was elected in 2008 with a call for hope and change. Perhaps the change he spoke of could only come with the help of Mitt Romney.
More Romney endorsements from liberal newspapers disappointed with President Obama's poor job performance are expected to come over the remaining days of the campaign.