Numerous newspapers announced presidential endorsements Sunday, but sometimes with little heart for their choices and little stomach for the 1988 election campaign generally.
The New York Times gave a qualified endorsement to Democrat Michael S. Dukakis, saying he "tips a closely balanced scale" over Republican George Bush.
Newsday, the Des Moines Register, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer and the Minneapolis Star Tribune also were among those endorsing Dukakis, whereas Bush backers included the Miami Herald, the Denver Post, the Arizona Republic of Phoenix, the Detroit News, the Akron (Ohio) Beacon-Journal, the San Antonio Light, the Sunday Oregonian of Portland and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
The Denver Post said: "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."
But the Minneapolis Star Tribune argued that any Dukakis shortcomings were overshadowed by Bush's "sleazy campaign shots at prison furloughs and Dukakis' patriotism."
A more enthusiastic endorsement for Bush came from the Oregonian, which found the vice president "exceptionally practiced at bringing people of differing outlooks under one umbrella" and contended: "His leadership style would incline to cooperation, reasoned discourse and high ethical tone."
And the Des Moines Register saw promise in Dukakis' record, citing "experience in innovative approaches in Massachusetts," and saying: " . . . 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."