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Staff photo by Don Himsel


Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney talks with Telegraph reporters and editors in a live-streamed editorial board interview Monday, November 21, 2011.
Thursday, January 5, 2012

Romney our choice for GOP nomination

One of the common refrains during the dozen Republican presidential debates – and a reliable applause generator at that – is that “anybody up on this stage” could beat Democratic President Barack Obama in the November 2012 election.

Don’t believe it. Only 10 sitting presidents have lost their bid for re-election in U.S. history – just three of them Democrats – and it only has happened three times since World War II: George H.W. Bush in 1992, Jimmy Carter in 1980 and Gerald Ford in 1976.

So if Republicans are serious about reclaiming the White House – an office they have controlled for 28 of the past 40 years – it is imperative they get behind a candidate capable of reaching beyond the party ideologues and attracting the support of independents and disenchanted Democrats across the nation.

That candidate, who also just so happens to be the most qualified candidate, is Mitt Romney.

As a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School, he would go on to found a successful investment firm at the relatively young age of 37.

As a respected businessman, he was recruited by the governor of Utah to take over as chief executive of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee and help save the scandal-plagued Winter Olympics of 2002.

Entering public service, he was elected governor of Massachusetts in 2002 at a time of fiscal crisis and worked with a Democratic Legislature to close a projected $3 billion shortfall.

With the possible exception of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman – who can boast of a similar private business/government background – Romney is the only GOP candidate with a proven record of success at the top levels of business and government to warrant serious consideration for the highest elective office in the land in these challenging times.

A lackluster economy marked by snail-like job growth? Romney has private-sector experience in business management and job creation from his days at Bain Capital, the Boston investment firm he founded in 1984.

Rampant hyperpartisanship and dysfunction in Congress? Romney can rely on lessons learned from his four years as a Republican governor with a Democratic-controlled Legislature in Massachusetts.

A lack of effective leadership in Washington? Romney promises to introduce a detailed economic program on Day 1 – five pieces of legislation coupled with five executive orders – to stimulate job creation.

That doesn’t mean we agree with him on every issue, of course. We disagree with him on the proper role of the federal government during times of economic crisis. We disagree with his latest positions on abortion rights (opposed), same-sex marriage (opposed) and man’s contribution to global warming (no longer sure). And we disagree with his call for the outright repeal of the president’s signature health care reform law, which already has improved the lives of thousands of Americans, rather than working within its framework to improve it.

But we do agree with him Washington is broken. That there is a leadership gap – more like a cavern – that imperils the nation. And that he is the most-accomplished Republican in the field to fix it.

For us, evaluating a party’s potential nominee for president is much like interviewing applicants for a job opening. We check their resume. We look them in the eye and evaluate how they respond to our questions during their meetings with our editorial board. We observe how they conduct themselves on the campaign trail and in the televised debates with their peers.

When we put that all together, we can come to no other conclusion than Romney has the intelligence, business acumen, political skills and leadership ability to earn our endorsement as his party’s nominee for president.

And, with it, the right to compete head-to-head with our Democratic president come November, giving voters a clear choice on the future direction of the nation in the process.