Posted at 10:17 AM ET, 01/15/2012

Huntsman, Romney win S.C. newspaper endorsements

Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman has won the endorsement of South Carolina’s largest newspaper, while his rival for the GOP nod, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, has secured the backing of the Palmetto State’s Greenville News.

Republican Presidential candidate former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman (L) greets a supporter while speaking to voters at the Honeycomb Cafe on Daniel Island in Charleston, South Carolina on Thursday. (RANDALL HILL - REUTERS)
In an editorial titled “Huntsman could bring us back together,” The State newspaper writes that the GOP presidential contender and former ambassador to China “is more principled, has a far more impressive resume and offers a significantly more important message” than Romney.

“What makes him attractive are the essential values that drive his candidacy: honor and old-fashioned decency and pragmatism,” the paper writes of Huntsman. “As he made clear Wednesday to a room packed full of USC students on the first stop of his “Country First” tour, his goal is to rebuild trust in government, and that means abandoning the invective and reestablishing the political center.”

The Greenville News, which has endorsed Romney, writes that the former Massachusetts governor represents the best choice to take on President Obama in the fall.

“If Romney wins in conservative South Carolina, it’s nearly impossible to imagine anyone else being the party’s pick to take on President Barack Obama,” the Greenville News writes. “Florida is up next, and an S.C. victory would give Romney a sweep of the three early states and
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, campaigns at American Legion Post 15 in Sumter, S.C. on Saturday. (Charles Dharapak - AP)
momentum to build on an already strong position there. Throwing a speed bump in that march would undercut South Carolina Republicans’ own interests in a number of ways.”

The paper notes Romney’s “evolving positions” on the issues but argues that “he’s no leftist, fiscally or socially.”

In addition, the Charlotte Observer, a North Carolina newspaper, also weighed in on the South Carolina race, writing that Romney “is best qualified to mount a serious campaign this fall.”

“As Romney is quick to point out, he took over the governor’s office in Massachusetts during a time of budget problems and escalating taxes,” the paper writes. “At the end of his term, he said the state had a healthy rainy day fund, the economy was supporting thousands of new jobs and he had eliminated a $3 billion deficit without raising taxes. That’s an impressive track record.”

By  |  10:17 AM ET, 01/15/2012

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