National Review has endorsed Mitt Romney to be the Republican candidate for President in the 2008 election:
Our guiding principle has always been to select the most conservative viable candidate. In our judgment, that candidate is Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts. Unlike some other candidates in the race, Romney is a full-spectrum conservative: a supporter of free-market economics and limited government, moral causes such as the right to life and the preservation of marriage, and a foreign policy based on the national interest. While he has not talked much about the importance of resisting ethnic balkanization — none of the major candidates has — he supports enforcing the immigration laws and opposes amnesty. Those are important steps in the right direction.
NR's editors have claimed in interviews that they were inclined to endorse Romney or noone; this suggests that their endorsement is a little less than ecstatic. Romney appears to have met a minimum criteria for conservatism set by the editors. However, the editors also acknowledge another factor that we feel Romney lacks - the ability to lead and inspire:
...Romney has been plagued by the sense that his is a passionless, paint-by-the-numbers conservatism. If he is to win the nomination, he will have to show more of the kind of emotion and resolve he demonstrated in his College Station “Faith in America” speech.
If that speech is a highest tide in his leadership, inspiration, thoughfulness and eloquence, well...yuck.
NR did note high marks for John McCain and Thompson. We were very impressed with McCain's ability to command the respect and interest of New Hampshire college students in a recent town hall meeting on MTV (the best and most serious candidate forum to date, and a event that other Republican candidates have declined).