Republican George Bush has picked up the bulk of fresh newspaper endorsements, but editorial writers had little heart for their choices and generally little stomach for the 1988 presidential campaign.
Sunday, The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirere gave qualified endorsements to Democrat Michael Dukakis -- but Bush received backing from, among others, The Miami Herald, The San Antonio Light, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The San Francisco Examiner and The Detroit News.
Here are excerpts from selected newspaper endorsements:
-The Times: 'Getting America out of hock is, by far, the next president's most urgent job. Who's likely to do it better? The answer tips a closely balanced scale -- to Michael Dukakis.'
-The Miami Herald: Bush is 'a seasoned leader with growth potential while Mr. Dukakis is ever the earnest technocrat. The nation doesn't need an ill-defined iceman; it needs a president.'
-The Oregonian of Portland, Ore.: Bush 'is exceptionally practiced at bringing people of differing outlooks under one umbrella. His leadership style would incline to cooperation, reasoned discourse and high ethical tone.'
-The Des Moines Register: Dukakis has 'experience in innovative approaches in Massachusetts and he is the kind of person to squeeze the most out of every nickel -- an essential quality in what must be several years of austerity ahead.'
-The San Antonio Light: 'We do not believe the voters of this nation are comfortable with the choice they must make between these two major candidates. Yet, one of these men on Nov. 8 will be elected president. ... After all is said and done, Bush has more experience in governing.'
-The Philadelphia Inquirer: Endorsed Dukakis for 'what he's done and where he's likely to lead us,' but prefaced its editorial with, 'If you turned to this space to read a ringing endorsement of either of the presidential candidates, you've come to the wrong place.'
-The Seattle Post-Intelligencer: 'While we disagree with a number of George Bush's approaches to national problems, we believe him to be an intelligent and competent man who will work diligently on the nation's most vital interests.'
-Newsday, of New York City and Long Island, N.Y.: Endorsed Dukakis and charged Bush's campaign has been 'sniveling, dirty, distorted and irresponsible -- appealing to the worst instincts in the American people.'
-The Denver Post: 'Americans are forced to choose between two good men running two bad campaigns. After wiping away the mud from both candidates, The Post believes George Bush is the better choice.'
-The Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat: 'By electing Dukakis, (voters) can steer away from the affable-monarch model of government of the Reagan administration to one of compassionate competency and focused strength to a government that plays fair instead of favorities.'
-The Akron (Ohio) Beacon-Journal: Endorsed Bush with 'fingers crossed'; said the vice president 'seems better equipped by experience and personality to focus the nation's energies than the stiff and reserved Dukakis.'
-The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer: 'Michael Dukakis may not be the guy you'd most like to go fishing with, but America doesn't need a fishing buddy -- it needs a skilled, intelligent leader. Michael Dukakis is the candidate best suited to meet the challenges our next president will face.'
-The Arizona Republic: 'George Bush is not the perfect choice for president, even as Dan Quayle is not the perfect choice for vice president. But as Life magazine used to advertise, 'Consider the alternative.''
-The News & Record in Greensboro, N.C.: 'When the election is over, the balloons and bands and slick ads will fade, and the hard chores of day-to-day government will loom ahead. Michael Dukakis is better prepared than George Bush to manage the government and to lead us into the future. The Reagan-Bush era is played out. It is time for a change.'
-The Quad-City (Iowa) Times: Picked Bush because 'this is is not the time to try to buy our way out of problems. ... Trying to fix what is not broken is a mistake. The problems that do need fixing, and the unknown challenges that lay ahead, can be handled best by the most experienced candidate.'
-The Virginian-Pilot and Ledger-Star, Norfolk, Va.: 'The long presidential campaign of 1988 has revealed dismaying weaknesses. ... But differences exist between them, both in leadership style and political ideology. Over the course of the campaign, George Bush has emerged as the stronger of the two.'
-The San Francisco Examiner: 'The truth is that Dukakis does not begin to measure up, either in governmental preparation for the world's most awesome task, or in the sensibleness of his views. ... Bush, by contrast, has preparation of unusual depth, spanning more than two decades in the executive and legislative branches.'
-The Boston Globe: While criticizing the tenor and substance of both candidates' campaigns, cited Dukakis as superior on the issues of the environment, the federal budget deficit, addressing the needs of America's cities, and for his problem-solving abilities.
-The San Diego Union: 'Americans need, above all else, a president with the vision and experience to expand the promising horizons of the 1980s. After eight years at Ronald Reagan's side and a far-ranging career on the global stage, George Bush is uniquely prepared to advance the nation toward the goals established during this pivotal decade.'