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Endorsements 7: NM Sun News, Des Moines, Anchorage,Charlotte, Asheville, Concord, Macon, Hartford, Milwaukee

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NEW MEXICO SUN NEWS, Santa Fe  FRONT COVER OBAMA PHOTO: "OBAMA WINS!" First in US to endorse by declaring victory, with 38 US editorial page endorsements summary in cover article


Des Moines Register

Editorial board endorses Obama for President, October 25, 2008

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Barely two years into Barack Obama's first term as a U.S. senator, he
launched an unlikely presidential candidacy imbued, he acknowledged, with a "certain audacity." Casualties were mounting in Iraq, memories of the government's failed response to Hurricane Katrina still stung, and a
majority of Americans told pollsters they believed the country was on the wrong track. Yet in announcing his presidential bid, Obama outlined a bold, hopeful vision for America:

"Let us be the generation that reshapes our economy to compete in the digital age. ... Let's be the generation that ensures our nation's workers are sharing in our prosperity. ... Let's be the generation that ends poverty in America. ... Let's be the generation that finally tackles our health-care crisis. ... Let's be the generation that finally frees America from the tyranny of oil."

Critics immediately cast his talk of hope and change as naive and his lack of history on the national and international stage as too risky for the presidency. First test: winning the Iowa caucuses, perceived by many as an improbable feat for a black candidate in an overwhelmingly white state. But Obama believed in the power of his ideas and ideals, and the capacity of Americans to unite around them.

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Eleven months later, after more than 80 days spent campaigning in the state, Iowans awarded him victory. They had heard his soaring oratory and sensed his uncommon intelligence, but they also witnessed much more: the consistency of his calls for unifying around common purpose, rather thanpandering to age-old divisions, and the way he remained unflappable and his staff disciplined no matter what tumult the campaign trail delivered. Those qualities have become even more pronounced this fall, during an increasingly negative general-election campaign against Republican Sen. John McCain and descent of the nation's economy into the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. It has been Obama, not the more experienced McCain, who kept his center as events tilted crazily.

Obama has earned the Register's endorsement for the presidency because of his steadfastness in the face of uncertainty, his clear-eyed vision for a more just America and his potential for rallying the country to do great things.

Would work to strengthen the struggling middle class

Obama's life story embodies America's promise: that someone from modest means can study, work and get ahead. His parents - his mother from Kansas and his father from Kenya - divorced when he was a child. His grandparents helped raise him, and his mother made sure he studied hard. Eventually, he became the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review and graduated magna cum laude. Before law school, though, he worked as a community organizer in Chicago and saw that for too many families, the American promise of opportunity had faded: Schools were poor, wages had stagnated and jobs had shifted overseas in a globalizing economy. Since his first visits to Iowa, Obama has correctly emphasized improved public schools and greater access to college as the investment that will buoy the American economy long-term. He favors a progressive tax policy, taxing those at the very highest rungs of income a little more to provide a little more help to those on the bottom rungs.

In a speech more than a year ago, long before this fall's financial crisis,
he decried the nation's rising income inequality and the notion "that the
market will correct all our misfortunes, and that there's no problem that
can't be solved by another tax break that the wealthy didn't need." Neither Obama nor McCain is an expert on the economy. But Obama appropriately places emphasis on strengthening the middle class. And as a state senator in Illinois, in the U.S. Senate and through the rigors of the campaign, he has shown a willingness to seek others' advice, listen and strive for consensus-crucial characteristics in troubled times. Other key parts of Obama's agenda would help shore up the middle class and the U.S. economy for decades to come: Expanding health-insurance coverage to more Americans will lessen the threat that illness will bring financial ruin. Pumping research dollars into developing clean alternatives to fossil fuels and investing in energyefficiency will maintain America's technological edge and create good-paying green-collar jobs.

McCain has run erratic, disappointing campaign

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Judging by their records and statements, both Obama and McCain promise to correct the worst abuses of the Bush administration: its arrogant, go-it-alone approach to foreign policy and its insidious insistence thatmaintaining national security requires embrace of torture and sacrifice of fundamental civil liberties. McCain, like Obama, brought an appealing personal history to the campaign. He's a genuine American hero, enduring 5 ½ years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam while refusing early release, serving more than 20 years in the Navy, and taking unconventional stands that often opposed his party and popular sentiment during a quarter century in Congress. The Register's editorial board endorsed McCain for the Republican nomination and looked forward to a serious-minded contest between competing ideologies and worthy foes.

But it's as if McCain has lost his way, forfeiting principle for gain of a
few points in the polls. He put on hold his long-sought quest for comprehensive immigration reform. Though widely regarded as a man of honor, he has overseen a campaign premised on purposeful distortions about Obama and his record.

Worst of all, in grasping for political edge in his choice of a runningmate, he burdened his ticket and potentially the country with an individualutterly unqualified to ascend to the presidency. Before choosing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, McCain emphasized the importance of experience and sound judgment in fighting terrorism and confronting a restive Russia and a rising China. He has also questioned Obama's readiness to be commander in chief. Then he picked a running mate who clearly isn't ready.

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