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The New Hampshire Union Leader Endorses…

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By Doug Powers  •  November 27, 2011 11:59 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

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The New Hampshire primary is set for January 10th, and the RCP poll average has Mitt Romney with around a 20 point lead over Newt Gingrich. It’s unclear what impact if any the New Hampshire Union Leader’s endorsement of Newt will have on those numbers, but it is apparent that the paper doesn’t care for Mitt Romney. In 2008 the Leader endorsed John McCain, and this time around Romney once again wasn’t among the finalists:

The New Hampshire Union Leader, a powerful voice in the early-voting state, endorsed Newt Gingrich in the Republican presidential primary Sunday, saying the nation needs his “innovative, forward-looking strategy and positive leadership.”

The newspaper’s endorsement is among the most coveted in the state. The relatively early support — six weeks before the state’s primary — could threaten what has been a consistent, comfortable lead for Mitt Romney.

Romney is unmentioned in the paper’s front-page endorsement. But, the board writes, readers know “that we don’t back candidates based on popularity polls or big-shot backers.”

The other finalist for the endorsement was Rick Perry.

The endorsement is a nice pickup for Gingrich, but it doesn’t exactly guarantee him a primary win:

The Union Leader’s endorsement while coveted and influential has not always translated into a victory in the Granite State. The paper endorsed Ronald Reagan for the 1976 GOP primary, yet saw then-President Gerald Ford win. In 1980, the paper backed Reagan again who went on to win the primary and his party’s nomination.

In 1988, however, the paper backed Pete du Pont who fell to George H.W. Bush in the primary. Pat Buchanan won the board’s support in 1992, but failed in his challenge to then-President Bush, eventually winning with the paper’s backing in 1996.

In 2000, the paper backed businessman Steve Forbes who would lose the primary to Arizona Sen. John McCain.

The New Hampshire Union Leader isn’t the only high-profile praise Newt has received in the past few days:

“He’s articulate and he tries to think of a conservative version of an idea that will solve a legitimate problem,” Clinton said, by way of explaining the Gingrich resurgence. “For example, I watched the national security debate last night. And Newt said two things that would make an independent voter say, ‘Well, I gotta consider that.'”

And one of those two things that Bill Clinton said would make independent voters say “I gotta consider that” is something that might make conservatives say “Whoa!”. Click the pic to roll tape:

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Update: Jonah Goldberg: Congrats, Newt, and don’t get cocky.

**Written by Doug Powers

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