Newt gets big endorsement in NH

Although newspaper endorsements aren't the big deal they used to be, the Manchester Union-Leader isn't just any newspaper. It is a state-wide publication that has been an opinion leader for several generations.

The newspaper came out for Newt Gingrich in today's edition.

Fox News:

The endorsement of the conservative newspaper's editorial board places an exclamation point on Gingrich's impressive surge from has-been GOP contender to frontrunner, and sets him apart as the new anti-Romney candidate among his competitors.

"Newt Gingrich is by no means the perfect candidate. But Republican primary voters too often make the mistake of preferring an unattainable ideal to the best candidate who is actually running. In this incredibly important election, that candidate is Newt Gingrich," the editorial board wrote in Sunday's edition.

The Leader added in a banner headline across the front page that the former Georgia lawmaker has something the rest of the candidates don't -- a track record of success in Washington.

"America is at a crucial crossroads. It is not going to be enough to merely replace Barack Obama next year. We are in critical need of the innovative, forward-looking strategy and positive leadership that Gingrich has shown he is capable of providing," the endorsement reads.

"He did so with the Contract with America. He did it in bringing in the first Republican House in 40 years and by forging balanced budgets and even a surplus despite the political challenge of dealing with a Democratic president. A lot of candidates say they're going to improve Washington. Newt Gingrich has actually done that," it continues.

We'll see how this affects the polls, which still show Romney with a commanding lead - 41% to 14% for Gingrich and Ron Paul.

And Romney picked up his own significant endorsements this past week when Senator Kelly Ayotte and Rep. Charlie Bass came out for him. It's still Romney's race to lose at this point, but with the Union-Leader endorsement, Newt should pick up some ground in the next few weeks.