NEW YORK TIMES: Hyperbole is the currency of presidential campaigns, but this year the nation’s future truly hangs in the balance. The United States is battered and drifting after eight years of President Bush’s failed leadership. He is saddling his successor with two wars, a scarred global image and a government systematically stripped of its ability to protect and help its citizens — whether they are fleeing a hurricane’s floodwaters, searching for affordable health care or struggling to hold on to their homes, jobs, savings and pensions in the midst of a financial crisis that was foretold and preventable.
As tough as the times are, the selection of a new president is easy. After nearly two years of a grueling 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. Mr. 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. 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.
In the same time, Senator John McCain of Arizona has retreated farther and farther to the fringe of American politics, running a campaign on partisan division, class warfare and even hints of racism. 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. Given the particularly ugly nature of Mr. McCain’s campaign, the urge to choose on the basis of raw emotion is strong. But there is a greater value in looking closely at the facts of life in America today and at the prescriptions the candidates offer. The differences are profound. Mr. McCain offers more of the Republican every-man-for-himself ideology, now lying in shards on Wall Street and in Americans’ bank accounts. Mr. Obama has another vision of government’s role and responsibilities.
In his convention speech in Denver, Mr. Obama said, “Government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves: protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology.” Since the financial crisis, he has correctly identified the abject failure of government regulation that has brought the markets to the brink of collapse. The American financial system is the victim of decades of Republican deregulatory and anti-tax policies. Those ideas have been proved wrong at an unfathomable price, but Mr. McCain — a self-proclaimed “foot soldier in the Reagan revolution” — is still a believer. MORE
ZOGBY: These numbers, if they hold, are blowout numbers. They fit the 1980 model with Reagan’s victory over Carter — but they are happening 12 days before Reagan blasted ahead. If Obama wins like this we can be talking not only victory but realignment. MORE
LOS ANGELES TIMES: This just in: Scott McClellan, President Bush’s former press secretary, announced Thursday that he is endorsing Barack Obama for president. McClellan is the second former Bush administration official this week to come out in support of the Democratic presidential candidate. Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell announced his endorsement last weekend. McClellan’s news, which he shared during a taping of comedian D.L. Hughley’s new show on CNN, doesn’t come as a huge surprise. McClellan, after all, drew ire from Republicans earlier this year when he published a tell-all book about his time in White House. The book, “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception,” was highly critical of Bush and his handling of the war in Iraq, which McClellan called “a serious strategic blunder.” The former aide told Hughley he planned to vote for Obama because he is the candidate most likely to change Washington. MORE