A growing number of newspapers are making editorial endorsements for president, but many are less than enthusiastic about the choices.
While The Washington Post had no reservations in announcing today its support for Democrat Walter Mondale, the Chicago Tribune endorsed President Reagan in words that were less than glowing.
The San Francisco Examiner backed Reagan, describing Mondale as having a 'pathetic lack of power to inspire.'
With the election eight days away, Reagan appears to have garnered most of the major newspaper endorsements.
A few, like the Clarion-Ledger and Daily News of Jackson, Miss., pointed to Reagan's character and leadership, saying he 'has made people feel good about themselves and their country.' At the same time, the Philadelphia Inquirer accused the administration of 'racism with a smile.'
The Washington Post said Mondale, who 'has been maddeningly misread and mistreated by the political trendmakers this year, just as Mr. Reagan has been maddeningly indulged and overpraised -- is unambiguously the better candidate.'
The Chicago Tribune said both Reagan and Mondale are decent, honorable, well-intentioned men that have styles that are unattractive and their policies are difficult to champion.
'Their campaigns have left us with the feeling that we have a choice between Mr. Reagan asleep at the switch or Mr. Mondale groping wildly in the dark for it.'
'Reagan is not Roosevelt,' the San Francisco Examiner said in its lead editorial Sunday. 'In neither eloquence nor the stamp of historic greatness does he yet compare to FDR. But if he does not have the fullest measure of magnetic leadership, he has quite a lot of it. And the lamentable fact is his opponent, Walter Mondale, has almost none of it.
'The vast majority of the American public recognizes, quite obviously, the Democratic candidate's pathetic lack of the power to inspire.'
In a similar fashion, the Detroit Free Press supported Mondale.
'Mr. Reagan, far from being the guardian of fiscal responsibility, has virtually destroyed whatever vestige of it there was before he came to office. Mr. Reagan's cheery assurances that everything will work out fine are not very believable.'
The Omaha World-Herald said '(Reagan's) conservative leadership has pointed the nation toward economic progress.' The Daily News of New York concurred.
But the Philadelphia Inquirer denounced Reagan, saying:
'The Reagan administration ignores, rejects or simply stands ignorant of the institutionalized poverty and hopelessness eating at the bodies and tyrannizing the spirits of millions of Americans trapped in the backwaters beneath the national economic and social mainstream. ... The deeper essence of that administration has been racism with a smile.'
The New York Times and other papers endorsed Mondale for his pledge to reduce both nuclear weapons and the deficit.
The Miami Herald said publisher Richard Capen overruled a majority of the editorial board to back Reagan. The Milwaukee Journal endorsed Mondale but on the opposite page its chairman endorsed Reagan. ---
Reagan also was endorsed by the New York Daily News, Cleveland (Ohio) Plain Dealer, Columbus Citizen Journal, Sunday Oklahoman of Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh Press, Albuquerque Journal, Indianapolis Star, the Richmond Times Dispatch, Denver Rocky Mountain News, South Carolina State, Los Angeles Daily News and Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader.
Mondale received endorsements from the Arkansas Gazette, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Minneapolis Star & Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Tallahassee Democrat, St. Petersburg Times, Beacon Journal of Akron, Ohio, Milwaukee Journal and Louisville Courier-Journal.