Chicago, Oct.18 : If the Washington Post took the lead on Thursday in being the first to endorse Barack Obama as the next President of the United States, then on Friday, it was the turn of the Chicago-based Sun Times to follow suit.
In an editorial, the paper says that with the Americans ready to be one country and yearning to bridge their differences, to find common cause, to rise above ideology, race, class and religion, Obama seems the ideal person to don the mantle of the 44th President of the United States.
The paper says that if America had preferred a master of policy for its next president, New York's junior Senator Hillary Clinton would have won the Democratic nomination. If America valued experience in public life above all else, then Senator John McCain would be trouncing Senator Obama in the polls.
"But it is Senator Obama who won his party's nomination, and it is he who leads in the polls. Americans across the land want to pull together, and in Senator Obama they see a man of exceptional gifts who just might show them how," says the Sun Times.
"Our endorsement for president of the United States goes to Sen. Barack Obama, Chicago's adopted son. He has the unique background, superior intellect, sound judgment and first-rate temperament to lead our nation in difficult times," it adds.
Examining Obama's strengths, it says that he has a remarkable talent for hearing all the disparate voices of America, and guided by his cross-cultural instincts, he has climbed the ladder of Chicago Democratic politics - from community organizer to state senator to U.S. senator - while dodging the tag of "machine-made."
The paper says that what has to be admired is the fact that Obama has developed alliances not only with the old Harold Washington coalition, but also with party stalwarts such as State Sen. Emil Jones. He mostly steered clear of unwise political entanglements, and when he did use poor judgment, he learned from his mistake.
It says that the senator has learned to appreciate the enormous importance of transparency in politics.
The paper also agrees Obama on many of the most pressing issues of the day, whether it be America being open to talking to its adversaries, or his prescriptions for the economy. Obama is right on energy policy, and the paper supports his proposals to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil by a host of means - domestic drilling and nuclear energy, and promotion of the use of wind power, solar power and other forms of "clean" energy.
According to the Sun Times, from the moment he announced his candidacy in Springfield in February 2007, he has demonstrated extraordinary leadership skills, grace under fire, laudable restraint and a sincere respect for the intelligence of the voter. He has surrounded himself with excellence - imagine such competence moving into the West Wing - and built what is perhaps the most effective ground organization in the history of presidential campaigns.
Sen. Obama writes his own best speeches. He refuses to play the "gotcha" game. He runs his own campaign - it does not run him.
He has kept his cool while his opponent runs hot and cold. He shook off the advice from his senior advisers to "go negative" when the polls were more grim, the way President Kennedy coolly rejected the overly bellicose advice of his generals in the heat of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Sadly, the same cannot be said of Senator John McCain.
The paper describes him as an American hero, but says that somewhere along the line, McCain stopped being McCain. "He reversed his position on major social issues to curry favor with the Republican base. He pulled silly surprises from a hat, such as "suspending" his campaign. Most egregiously for a man of advanced age who knew how important this decision could be, he chose the unqualified Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his vice president," says the paper.
The paper concludes by saying: "The times again demand an extraordinary leader. Our next president will take the oath of office in a country that is at war, heavily in debt, deeply divided and sliding into a recession. He will have to make hard choices - the money won't be there for all his ambitious plans - and he will have to work with a Congress so lopsidedly Democratic that it may be veto-proof," and in Obama, there is "the strength of character, the steady temperament, the intellect, the compassion, the ability to see through others' eyes", to do all this.
"Barack Obama believes in the audacity of hope. He inspires it in others. He inspires it in us. Barack Obama should be the next president of the United States of America."