The Des Moines Register, the largest and most influential newspaper in Iowa endorsed the presidential candidacy of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney Saturday evening.

SIOUX CITY, IA - DECEMBER 16: Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney greets workers and guests during a campaign stop at the Missouri Valley Steel factory on December 16, 2011 in Sioux City, Iowa. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The endorsement acknowledged that Romney has transformed from a “one-time independent to moderate Republican in liberal Massachusetts to proud conservative today” but added: “It should be possible for a politician to say, ‘I was wrong, and I have changed my mind.’”

In endorsing Romney, the Register also had harsh words for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich who it called “an undisciplined partisan who would alienate, not unite, if he reverts to mean-spirited attacks on display as House speaker.”

As for Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who is running in the top tier along with Romney and Gingrich in Iowa, the Register editorial board said that his “libertarian ideology would lead to economic chaos and isolationism, neither of which this nation can afford.”

It’s not entirely clear that the Register endorsement — particularly in a Republican primary has a large amount of influence. In 2008, the paper endorsed Arizona Sen. John McCain who finished well back of the leaders.

But, Romney winning the endorsement could provide him a bit of a boost in the final two weeks before the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, which kick off the presidential nomination fight.

Unlike 2008, when Romney spent $10 million and untold hours campaigning in the state, he has been far more hands-off in the Hawkeye State this time around. Until the last few weeks, Romney had not run any television ads in the state and had campaigned there only sparingly.