Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Star Ledger (NJ) endorses Barack Obama

"The inspired choice"

Sunday, February 03, 2008

After eight years of a flat-footed administration that booted just about every foreign and domestic issue, the nation needs a sure-footed president who can repair the considerable damage wreaked at home and abroad. America -- and the world -- are thirsting for someone who can be a true leader.

We firmly believe this is a moment in the nation's history unlike any other, one that re quires a president who is not just competent but who can in spire. That is why we endorse Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination for president.

We say that while acknowledging the exemplary qualities of Hillary Clinton, who has clearly demonstrated her mas tery of policy details during her seven years in the U.S. Senate. Nor do we quibble with her stands on the issues, which to a great extent mirror Obama's.

Both favor a withdrawal of American forces from Iraq. Clinton, who has had a tough time explaining her initial vote in favor of the war, promises to begin bringing troops home within 60 days and hopes to have all troops out within a year.

Obama, who opposed the war from the beginning, says he wants just about all American servicemen and women out of Iraq within 16 months. Both say they'd make sure such a withdrawal did not endanger our embassy people or the thousands of Iraqis who have helped us during the war.

Both talk tough about Iran, not ruling out military action but allowing for direct diplomacy. On the economy, both would repeal the Bush tax cuts and both would extend help to those caught in the mortgage crisis. Clinton leans toward more government meddling with financial markets, while Obama favors a lighter government touch on the markets.

On health care, their differences are more pronounced. Clinton would require coverage, while Obama would do so for children but concentrate more on attacking what's wrong with the health care delivery system so coverage becomes more affordable.

To parse their policy differences is to smack into the mountain while stumbling over molehills. Democratic voters face a decision between a more known commodity, a careful pragmatist, and a less seasoned politician who has sounded a call to change unlike any heard in decades, one that has the ability to echo among young and old, black and white.

A Clinton presidency would not be a disaster. Far from it. But it would be a lot more of what we've had in the past.

An Obama presidency has the potential of restoring the world's faith in America. Some say faith is the problem, that voting for Obama requires a leap of faith that he indeed can deliver. We believe a vote for Obama is an affirmation of one's faith in an America that brings out the best in all of its people.

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