Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Desert Sun recommends Barack Obama

The Desert Sun, the daily newspaper of Palm Springs, California has endorsed Barack Obama for Democratic nominee today.

Among Democrats, Obama most likely to unify nation

Sen. Barack Obama is our choice for president in California's Democratic primary because he has a remarkable gift to inspire people and that is a hallmark of great leaders.

Our best presidents had that gift. Given the economic climate, the ability to inspire is critically important now.

Obama shows an ability to bring people together, not just with his passionate oratory. He wants to unify people. He says he doesn't see blue states and red states, but the United States. He is clearly registering with independents. He also has the ability to win over some Republicans. We need a president who can govern from the middle, rise above partisan politics and appeal to people across party lines.

He recognizes that change is necessary and he has the ability to deliver change. He is smart and well respected.

Obama is serving his first term in the U.S. Senate, so he does not have a long tenure in Washington from which to draw - or a long record on which to run. But none of the leading Democratic candidates have that, either. Certainly, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton has been in the public eye and knows well the scrutiny and pressures that come with the highest office in the land, but she does not have as much experience as she would lead you to believe. Yes, she was first lady. But that's not the same as being president. She did not have security clearance to receive intelligence briefings or discuss highly classified national security information. She's not served for very long in the Senate.

Baggage from her husband's presidency could carry over. Change is in the air and Clinton just isn't showing us she could unite a nation when some polls show that independents and some Republicans fed up with the Bush administration are more likely to support Obama.

Side-by-side, Obama and Clinton are nearly identical on the issues. The similarities are far more striking than the differences.

On Iran, both would engage in "direct diplomacy," use economic sanctions and meet with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Military action is not off the table, but would not be considered without congressional approval.

On illegal immigration, they both support a path to legalization for the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants currently in the United States. Both want immigrants to learn English and pay fines. In the Senate, they voted to fence the Mexican border.

On climate change, they both support a mandatory cap and trade system to reduce carbon emissions, 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

On abortion, they are both pro-choice.

Among other major issues, slight differences are on Iraq and health care. Obama opposed the invasion from the very beginning. He opposed troop increase. He would withdraw one or two brigades a month in an attempt to either end, or scale down U.S. involvement within 16 months.

Clinton voted to authorize the invasion in 2002. She now is opposed to the war and opposed troop increases. She would supports a phased withdrawal within 60 days of taking office and hopes to have most troops out by the end of 2013.

As president, Clinton says she would require that everyone have health insurance, which would be subsidized by employers and the government. Obama would require all children to have health insurance. It would be paid for by rolling back President Bush's tax cuts for households earning more than $250,000.

At this point, it comes down to who is more likely to unite and inspire an already divided nation. Sen. Obama offers the best chance of doing that and Democrats should support him in California's primary on Feb. 5.

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