New York Times endorses Barack Obama

October 24th, 2008 - 10:14 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaWashington, Oct 24 (IANS) The influential New York Times Friday became the fourth mainstream American daily to endorse Barack Obama, saying he “has proved that he is the right choice to be the 44th president of the United States.”"The nation’s problems are simply too grave to be reduced to slashing ‘robo-calls’ and negative ads,” it said in an editorial Friday. “This country needs sensible leadership, compassionate leadership, honest leadership and strong leadership. Barack Obama has shown that he has all of those qualities.”

The New York Times endorsement of Obama comes just a week after three other leading newspapers-the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times-backed the Democratic nominee over his Republican rival John McCain.

The largest daily in Obama’s hometown, the Tribune had not backed a Democrat in its 161-year history, while the Los Angeles Times had not endorsed a presidential candidate since 1972, when it backed President Richard M. Nixon’s re-election.

So far 39 other regional newspapers with 3.5 million readers have backed Obama. McCain, who is lagging in the polls behind Obama, has received endorsements from 15 newspapers with 1.5 million readership, according to the industry magazine Editor and Publisher.

The New York Times said the US is battered and drifting after eight years of President George Bush’s failed leadership.

But “as tough as the times are, the selection of a new president is easy,” it said suggesting “Obama has met challenge after challenge, growing as a leader and putting real flesh on his early promises of hope and change.

“He has shown a cool head and sound judgment.” The Times said it believed Obama “has the will and the ability to forge the broad political consensus that is essential to finding solutions to this nation’s problems.”

On the other hand, McCain “has retreated farther and farther to the fringe of American politics, running a campaign on partisan division, class warfare and even hints of racism.” It said.

“His policies and worldview are mired in the past. His choice of a running mate so evidently unfit for the office was a final act of opportunism and bad judgment that eclipsed the accomplishments of 26 years in Congress,” the Times said.

“McCain’s long interest in foreign policy and the many dangers this country now faces make his choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin more irresponsible,” it said.

“Obama would have a learning curve on foreign affairs, but he has already showed sounder judgment than his opponent on these critical issues,” the influential daily said. “His choice of Senator Joseph Biden - who has deep foreign-policy expertise - as his running mate is another sign of that sound judgment.”

Both presidential candidates talk about strengthening alliances in Europe and Asia, including NATO, strongly support Israel and talk about repairing America’s image in the world, it said. “But it seems clear to us that Obama is far more likely to do that - and not just because the first black president would present a new American face to the world,” the Times said.

Both candidates talk tough on terrorism, and neither has ruled out military action to end Iran’s nuclear weapons programme, it said.

“But Obama has called for a serious effort to try to wean Tehran from its nuclear ambitions with more credible diplomatic overtures and tougher sanctions,” the Times said suggesting “McCain’s willingness to joke about bombing Iran was frightening.”

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