And as the pressure built and the stakes grew, Obama remained calm. In the third and final presidential debate, McCain pressed him hard with negative attacks that could have proved infuriating. Instead, Obama explained himself calmly and went on to focus once again on his specific proposals to good effect.
He is not a perfect candidate. His resume is especially sparse when it comes to foreign policy. And, though the issue has been overblown by his opponents, Obama's past decisions to work and worship with people who have a history of extremism reveal occasional lapses in judgment. But Obama has also surrounded himself with some outstanding men and women, and that tendency should help him govern effectively. For example, by choosing U.S. Sen. Joe Biden as a running mate, Obama brought immediate foreign policy expertise and credibility to the ticket. The selection made clear that Obama is not afraid to work with people who may know more about a topic than he does. That's good. If he is to succeed as president, Obama will have to surround himself with exceptional people, listen to their ideas and be willing to change course when confronted with a compelling case to do so.
In this race, Americans are fortunate that they can focus on voting for a candidate rather than against one. Obama's Republican opponent is an able politician and a genuine war hero. McCain built a career around breaking with the GOP on high-profile issues, though like Obama, he is solidly within his party's mainstream. During this campaign, however, McCain has talked a lot about his reputation as a maverick, but has veered little from his party's orthodoxy. His embracing of President Bush's tax cuts, which McCain once opposed out of concern for raising the budget deficit, is an example. Also, as Obama has grown cooler and more steady in the face of the economic crisis, McCain has vacillated, looking for a theme – positive or negative – that could draw attention and respect away from his eloquent rival. McCain has been an able and honorable candidate, but he is not the leader the country needs at this time.
A long and hard-fought campaign has shown that inspirational leader to be Barack Obama.
NH, Concord Monitor
Barack Obama should be the next president
The choice could not be clearer. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois should be this nation's next president. As the first African American to hold the highest office in the land, Obama would make history and instantly remake America's image abroad. But that is not why he deserves to win. Obama has the temperament, judgment, ideas and vision to be president....
Obama's considerable skills are augmented by his intelligence and his ability to inspire. All of that will be necessary to tackle problems that have grown to seem insurmountable over the past eight years. Serious people are talking about the end of America's supremacy as the world's leading economic power. The nation's young assume that they will not be as well-off as their parents. Unless the nation changes course quickly, their parents fear they could be right.
...He went on to attend Harvard Law School, where he was elected to hold that institution's highest honor, the editorship of the school's law review. That accomplishment required not just a superior academic record, but the ability to do what he has promised to do as president: win over polarized factions of liberals and conservatives.
He is moving a generation of young people because his rhetoric and deeds speak to the better angels of our nature.
Obama has worked to set higher ethical standards for public servants throughout his career. The people he appoints to office people will be well-qualified and willing to put their nation's interests ahead of their own.
Obama has said that he wants advisers who are willing to tell him when he's wrong. The past eight years are proof of what happens when they won't or can't because they all think alike.
...Obama's ideas and ability to simultaneously see things from many vantage points makes him by far the candidate better able to solve the nation's many problems. His ability to get rivals to work together and the clean slate he will bring to meetings with the world's leaders will make it easier for him to enlist their aid.
...This newspaper has had the rare opportunity to see the candidates in action often and sit in a small room with each of them for hours of questioning. The intelligence and the thoughtfulness with which Obama approached each question and the thoroughness and sincerity of his responses was refreshing. He is the younger candidate, but by far the wiser candidate. He should become America's 44th president.