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My local newspaper the Sacramento Bee has endorsed McCain and Obama. [View All]

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AlCzervik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-19-08 08:50 PM
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My local newspaper the Sacramento Bee has endorsed McCain and Obama.
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The Bee Recommends: Obama

He could bridge political divides

Published 12:00 am PST Saturday, January 19, 2008

It is beginning to look as if the Democratic Party will break historic barriers this year no matter how the party's contest for the presidential nomination concludes. If the nominee is Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York or Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, as seems likely, either a woman or an African American will be a major party's nominee for the first time.

The two leading candidates give California Democrats and independents voting Feb. 5 an interesting choice. Both have been senators for a relatively short time, but both also have other attributes that give them unique perspectives on the country and on the job they seek.

As first lady for eight years, Clinton served as a serious policy adviser to the president, not only on health care, where she famously failed, but on other matters as well. On free trade and reforming welfare, she and Bill Clinton faced down their friends and allies to do what was right, and Hillary Clinton is still paying the price today with some in the left wing of her party.

The Clinton years were tainted by scandal, and Hillary Clinton took her share of hits for those problems. Some were deserved; some were not. Dealing with the constant accusations no doubt toughened her. That toughness is one thing we admire most about her.

But those battle scars are also evidence of a troubling trend in American politics that would likely only intensify if Clinton were to become president. Since her husband's first term, politics has become increasingly polarized, the partisan fights more brutal. The Clintons have been both aggressors and victims in those wars.

Barack Obama, in contrast, would be a fresh face with a new approach and no old scores to settle. His ascension would represent a clean break with the generation that has fought and re-fought the Vietnam War and the cultural upheavals that wracked the 1960s.

As a former community organizer, civil rights lawyer and state legislator, Obama is familiar with real issues people face, and he has worked to solve them on the ground. As president, he says, he would cross party lines to find solutions to the nation's most vexing problems, from health care to global warming. There is reason to believe he could do that. His inspiring personal story and his communications skills could nudge Americans of all ages, but especially the young, to give more of themselves to aid the less fortunate in their communities.

Unlike Clinton, Obama was an early opponent of the war in Iraq, because he thought it was a strategic blunder that would only hurt the United States. His credibility on that issue would position him well to end the occupation quickly while also giving him the flexibility to extend it if necessary to avoid shedding the blood of more innocent Iraqis.

Obama's lack of experience at the highest levels of government might lead to mistakes. But that risk is smaller, in our view, than the benefit of moving on from the Bushes and the Clintons, who have been in the White House for longer than some young voters have been alive. That is why Obama is the best choice for the Democratic nomination for president.

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