Several U.S. newspapers waited until the Sunday before Election Day to endorse a presidential candidate -- and the editorial support largely went to President Reagan.
The New Orleans Times Picayune said Reagan 'would serve the interest of the vast majority of Americans.'
The newspaper cited the economic recovery and the U.S. military buildup, and said: 'The cumulative effect of Reagan administration policies both at home and abroad has been a reawakening of national confidence and pride and a renewed feeling that the United States is filling its role as the major power in the free world.'
Three North Carolina newspapers -- The News and Observer of Raleigh, The Charlotte Observer and the Greensboro News & Record -- endorsed Democratic nominee Walter Mondale.
The Baton Rouge, La., Sunday Advocate also endorsed Reagan, saying, 'The Reagan record in setting American back on solid economic ground in impressive.'
The Advocate criticized Reagan for cutting into social programs to build the military 'with little apparent thought to the effect of the cuts or to the strain defense spending has placed on the American economy.'
But it said, 'Reagan gets passing marks as president and should be given a chance to lead the nation for another four years.'
Rhode Island's largest newspaper, The Providence Journal, credited Reagan with returning the United States to 'prosperity and energy.'
'The strength of the Reagan years so far, even when assessed against his acknowledged weak spots, is that he has helped pull the nation out of an era of uneasiness and confusion and into a time of prosperity and energy,' The Journal's editors wrote.
They credited Reagan's 'stubborn streak of common sense' and 'can-do spirit, plus a healthy skepticism about intrusive government and its often-stifling cocoon of red tape.'
The editorial criticized Reagan for sometimes appearing 'superficial and uninformed' and for his aides' 'cavalier disregard' for the environment.
'Even so, Mr. Mondale is not succeeding in wooing Americans away from the Reagan banner, for the simple reason that the president has helped restore a sense of pride and purpose to the national adventure,' it said.
The Denver Post also endorsed Reagan, urging voters to 'stop for a moment and think about 'the way we were' four years ago.'
It said Reagan has corrected both inflation and the world's 1920 view of the United States as 'weak and vacillating' in foreign affairs.
The North Carolina News and Observer said Mondale and running mate Geraldine Ferraro would 'give the United States the new leadership it needs for the second half of the 1980s' and that Mondale 'has put substance above style, compassion above retrenchment, fairness and straight talk above wishful thinking.'
'President Reagan talks about Harry Truman and John Kennedy; Walter Mondale would govern like Truman and Kennedy,' the newspaper said.
The Observer, initially cool to Mondale's nomination, called Mondale an 'intelligent, compassionate and seasoned political leader, better qualified by experience to be president than Mr. Reagan was four years ago or Jimmy Carter in 1976.'
'Most important, Mr. Mondale has the capacity to be the kind of strong, effective leader Mr. Reagan only pretends to be,' the newspaper said.
The News & Record said Mondale's record 'has been one of consistent support of civil rights and civil liberties, and of decency and fairness in government policies affecting the lives of people.'
It called Mondale's message 'one of hope and confidence for the future.'
But three Florida papers -- The Orlando Sentinal, The Tampa Tribune and the Florida Times Union-Jacksonville Journal recommended Reagan's re-election.
The Sentinal cited the Grenada invasion and the attempt to restore unity in Lebanon as actons that required leadership, 'even as it took leadership to get out of Lebanon when the cost of staying became too great.'
The Toledo (Ohio) Blade endorsed Reagan with some reluctance: 'He (Reagan) has had some substantial accomplishments,' it said, but he 'has concocted a cocoon that separates him from the American public in a way that raises serious questions about his alertness and acuity in running this country.'
The Blade called Mondale 'inadequate,' however, and said he 'lacks leadership ability.'
But Mondale picked up the endorsement of the Atlantic City (N.J.) Press, earning high praise from the newspaper for his positions on the arms race, the economy and the environment.
In an editorial, the Press said the Democratic presidential challenger is better equipped to deal with the nation's problems than President Reagan.
'America needs much more than an amiable cheerleader; it needs an informed and compassionate leader, a man of sincerity, substance and reality,' the newspaper said.