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Barack ObamaThe center of Mitt Romney‘s campaign, both personally and politically, has revolved around Utah. His remarkable handling of the 2002 Olympics has been touted as proof of his business acumen. And Salt Lake City, the hub of Mormonism and home of the Mormon church, has played a pivotal role in Romney’s religious growth as well.

That is why this has to hurt.

With the scathing indictment: “The president has earned a second term. Romney, in whatever guise, does not deserve a first,” the city’s largest newspaper endorses President Barack Obama for a second time over a “shape-shifting” Romney.

Read below for more on SLT’s editorial board’s decision:

Nowhere has Mitt Romney’s pursuit of the presidency been more warmly welcomed or closely followed than here in Utah. The Republican nominee’s political and religious pedigrees, his adeptly bipartisan governorship of a Democratic state, and his head for business and the bottom line all inspire admiration and hope in our largely Mormon, Republican, business-friendly state.

But it was Romney’s singular role in rescuing Utah’s organization of the 2002 Olympics from a cesspool of scandal, and his oversight of the most successful Winter Games on record, that make him the Beehive State’s favorite adopted son. After all, Romney managed to save the state from ignominy, turning the extravaganza into a showcase for the matchless landscapes, volunteerism and efficiency that told the world what is best and most beautiful about Utah and its people.

In short, this is the Mitt Romney we knew, or thought we knew, as one of us.

Sadly, it is not the only Romney, as his campaign for the White House has made abundantly clear, first in his servile courtship of the tea party in order to win the nomination, and now as the party’s shape-shifting nominee. From his embrace of the party’s radical right wing, to subsequent portrayals of himself as a moderate champion of the middle class, Romney has raised the most frequently asked question of the campaign: “Who is this guy, really, and what in the world does he truly believe?”

The evidence suggests no clear answer, or at least one that would survive Romney’s next speech or sound bite. Politicians routinely tailor their words to suit an audience. Romney, though, is shameless, lavishing vastly diverse audiences with words, any words, they would trade their votes to hear.

Read more at the Salt Lake Tribune.
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