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Florida newspapers refuse to back Bush

By Dan Glaister

LOS ANGELES, OCT. 25. The United States President, George W. Bush's campaign in Florida, which handed him victory in 2000, took a blow yesterday when two of the State's newspapers failed to endorse his candidacy.

The Orlando Sentinel, which has not endorsed a Democrat for President since Lyndon Johnson, opted for John Kerry.

``This President has utterly failed to fulfil our expectations,'' an editorial said.

``We turn now to his Democratic challenger, Senator John Kerry, with the belief that he is more likely to meet the hopes we once held for Mr. Bush.''

`Decisiveness crucial'

Another Florida newspaper, the Tampa Tribune, chose not to endorse either candidate. It is the first time since 1952 that the paper has not backed the Republican candidate for the presidency.

But in Colorado, another swing State, the Denver Post endorsed Mr. Bush. In 2000, it backed Al Gore, but despite misgivings about Mr. Bush's performance since taking office, it decided that the candidates' approach to the war on terror should take precedence over all other considerations.

``Decisiveness is a crucial characteristic in the showdown with the nation's elusive enemies,'' an editorial in the paper said. Mr. Kerry has been endorsed by 66 papers with a combined daily circulation of 10.6 million, while Mr. Bush has the backing of 57 papers with a combined daily circulation of 6.6 million.

A Time magazine poll at the end of last week gave Mr. Bush a 5 per cent advantage over the Mr. Kerry among likely voters, with independent Ralph Nader securing 2 per cent. A week ago Time gave Mr. Bush a single point lead over Mr. Kerry.

- Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

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