New York Times backs Obama for president

THE New York Times endorsed Barack Obama for president yesterday, saying the Democratic hopeful has grown into the kind of leader the United States needs after eight years of George W Bush in the White House.

“Hyperbole is the currency of presidential campaigns, but this year the nation’s future truly hangs in the balance,” began a lengthy editorial in the nationally-circulated newspaper reviled by conservatives for its liberal slant.

“The United States is battered and drifting after eight years of president Bush’s failed leadership [but] after nearly two years of a gruelling and ugly campaign, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois has proved that he is the right choice to be the 44th president of the United States,” it said.

The Times joins 127 other daily newspapers across the United States that have come out for Obama, against 49 newspapers supporting Republican rival John McCain, according to a tally by Editor and Publisher, a trade journal, that was updated on Thursday.

“Mr Obama has met challenge after challenge, growing as a leader and putting real flesh on his early promises of hope and change,” said the Times, which has not endorsed a Republican for president since the 1950s.

“He has shown a cool head and sound judgment.

“We believe he has the will and the ability to forge the broad political consensus that is essential to finding solutions to this nation’s problems.”

It lashed out at McCain for retreating “farther and farther to the fringe of American politics” with an ugly campaign based on “division, class warfare and even hints of racism“.

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

On the economy, Obama has “correctly identified the abject failure of government regulation that has brought the markets to the brink of collapse,” it said, adding it was right to make well-off Americans pay more taxes.

On national security, the Times said Obama would face a “learning curve” assisted by his running mate Senator Joe Biden, “who has deep foreign policy experience,” but that he was “far more likely” to repair the image of the United States in the world.

“This country needs sensible leadership, compassionate leadership, honest leadership and strong leadership. Barack Obama has shown he has those qualities,” it concluded.


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