The Philadelphia Daily News on Wednesday backed Democrat John Kerry (search) for president, saying it was endorsing a candidate early because Pennsylvania is a swing state and residents who didn't vote in 2000 must be pressed to action to defeat President Bush (search).

"For Kerry supporters to prevail they must do more than just vote, they must bring a ringer into this contest: the more than a million people in the region who did not vote in the last presidential election," the newspaper said in an 1,800-word editorial in Wednesday editions.

"We believe these nonvoters - who will have to be mobilized over the next few months - are the key to victory."

The endorsement comes six weeks before the Democrats gather in Boston to choose Kerry as their presidential nominee.

The paper said that the Bush administration, though deserving of praise for its leadership immediately after the Sept. 11 (search) terrorist attacks, has made poor economic decisions since then, been divisive, ideologically driven and has led the nation into a "senseless war" in Iraq (search).

The newspaper said Kerry, "who fought in the swamps of Vietnam, can lead us out of the quagmire of the Bush administration" and urged readers to register to vote and get others to do the same.

"While the rest of the state tilts heavily Republican, Philadelphia has a rich vein of Democratic votes, which has not always been mined. It's because of Philadelphia voters that (Bill) Clinton and (Al) Gore have won the state in the past," the editorial said.