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Monday, April 21, 2008

The Financial Times????

Financial Times Endorses Obama

By Newshoggers

By Cernig

The world's most prestigeous financial newspaper, the UK's Financial Times, has endorsed Barrack Obama for the Democratic nomination and by extension for the White House.

After Tuesday’s vote, the Democrats should move quickly to affirm Mr Obama’s nomination. That is not just because his lead in elected delegates is already unassailable and the contest should be brought to a swift conclusion. It is also because he is, in fact, the better candidate.

...Mr Obama has fought a brilliant campaign, out-organising his opponent, raising more money, and convincing undecided Democrats as well as the country at large that he was more likeable, more straightforward and more worthy of trust.

On form, he is a spell-binding orator and holds arena-sized audiences in thrall. He is given to airy exhortations, it is true, but genuinely seeks consensus and has cross-party appeal.

Mrs Clinton’s campaign, in contrast, has been a shambles. She and her team expected to have it all sewn up long ago; they made no plans for a long struggle, ran short of money and had to reorganise on the run.

Her speaking style is pedestrian, when it is not actually grating. Those who dislike her tend to do so with a passion: her disapproval ratings started high and after months of campaigning are climbing still. It is a tribute to her tenacity and to the loyalty she commands in the party that her fate was not sealed weeks ago.

How much the way that a campaign is run tells you about a candidate’s fitness to be president is debatable – but it does tell you something, especially if the candidate with the misfiring strategy is running on a claim of management expertise.

In fact, the campaigns have underlined the contenders’ respective strengths and weaknesses.

Mr Obama’s consistent and relaxed demeanour attested to his coolness (in both senses, his swooning young admirers would add); it seemed to affirm his authenticity. In contrast, Mrs Clinton’s hyperactive advisers dressed her in a new personality each day, sometimes several in the course of an interview. They wheeled out Bill Clinton, to remind people of the 1990s, then reeled him back, to help them forget.

Too many course corrections, not enough course.

Mr Obama has had some travails – over his association with Jeremiah Wright, the ranting demagogue pastor, and most recently over condescending remarks about small-town Democratic politics.

In the first case, he responded with a masterly speech about race that may even have improved his standing. In the second, he was evasive and unconvincing – yet the public seems to have given him the benefit of the doubt.

The US has the urge to be inspired a little. Electing the country’s first woman president ought to be very inspiring. But not this woman – with her dynastic baggage and knack for antagonising the undecided – running against this man.

The Democratic party has waited an awfully long time for a politician like Barack Obama. Enough already. [Emphasis mine - C]

You might well ask why American voters should care what a British newspaper thinks. Well, apart from the FT's reputation being that of the premier financial newspaper worldwide (the WSJ can wish it had the authority the "pink paper" has), read by the movers and shakers of industry in every's also a centre-right newspaper editorially. That it has decided to endorse Obama over either his supposedly more centrist and more money-friendly Democratic and Republican rivals is significant.

The FT's endorsement signals clearly that foreigners - even the highflying financiers of the world - are also ready to be "inspired a little" by the U.S. again, after the debacle that has been the Bush years. The world mainly wants America to restore its standing in world opinion and many beyond American shores, from all points of the political spectrum, believe Obama is the person best able to do that. Not Clinton, and not McCain.

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