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Didn't see this posted anywhere, and I think it's a pretty important newspaper endorsement, for those who pay attention to global financial markets and opinion.

Entitled Obama is the better choice The Financial Times offered a qualified endorsement  of Barack Obama today.

US presidential elections involve a fabulous expense of time, effort and money. Doubtless it is all too much – but, by the end, nobody can complain that the candidates have been too little scrutinised. We have learnt a lot about Barack Obama and John McCain during this campaign. In our view, it is enough to be confident that Mr Obama is the right choice.

For those of you not familiar with the paper, here's a little background:

The FT was launched as the London Financial Guide on January 9, 1888, by Horatio Bottomley, renaming itself the Financial Times on February 13 of the same year. Describing itself as the friend of "The Honest Financier and the Respectable Broker", it was initially published as a four page journal from its headquarters in London. The initial readership was the financial community of the City of London. The Financial Times soon established itself as the sober but reliable "stockbroker's Bible" or alternatively "parish magazine of the City", with its only rival being the slightly older and more daring Financial News.

They currently publish editions worldwide :

In 1997, the FT launched the U.S. edition, which is now printed in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta, Orlando and Washington, D.C., although the newspaper was first printed in the United States outside of New York City in 1985. In March 2006, the FT's U.S. circulation was 137,845.

In September 1998, the FT became the first UK-based newspaper to sell more copies internationally than within the UK. Worldwide circulation stands at 432,548 (Source: ABC July 2006), with global readership estimated at over 1.6 million people in more than 140 countries.

Here's where they stand politically:

The Financial Times is normally seen politically as centrist, in contrast to its right-leaning principal competitor, The Wall Street Journal, owned by conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch. It advocates free markets and is generally in favour of globalisation. During the 1980s it supported Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan's monetarist policies. However, it has recently seemed to have aligned itself with Labour in the UK. It also has been quite supportive, until recently, of Gordon Brown, the current British Prime Minister. FT editorials have tended to be pro-European Union, though often taking a critical view. Noam Chomsky has said that it is "the only paper that tells the truth".[12]

They continue:

Mr Obama fought a much better campaign. Campaigning is not the same as governing, and the presidency should not be a prize for giving the best speeches, devising the best television advertisements, shaking the most hands and kissing the most babies.

Nonetheless, a campaign is a test of leadership. Mr Obama ran his superbly; Mr McCain’s has often looked a shambles. After eight years of George W. Bush, the steady competence of the Obama operation commands respect.

Nor should one disdain Mr Obama’s way with a crowd. Good presidents engage the country’s attention; great ones inspire. Mr McCain, on form, is an adequate speaker but no more. Mr Obama, on form, is as fine a political orator as the country has heard in decades. Put to the right purposes, this is no mere decoration but a priceless asset.

Mr Obama’s purposes do seem mostly right, though in saying this we give him the benefit of the doubt. Above all, he prizes consensus and genuinely seeks to unite the country, something it wants. His call for change struck a mighty chord in a tired and demoralised nation – and who could promise real change more credibly than Mr Obama, a black man, whose very nomination was a historic advance in US politics?

They do not agree with his position on trade, however:

Mr Obama is most disappointing on trade. He pandered to protectionists during the primaries, and has not rowed back. He may be sincere, which is troubling. Should he win the election, a Democratic Congress will expect him to keep those trade-thumping promises. Mr McCain has been bravely and consistently pro-trade, much to his credit.

They give him a high grade for his handling of the current economic crisis, and raise the issue of temperament, vis a vis foreign policy, preferring Obama's to McCain's.


Originally posted to Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Oct 26, 2008 at 01:30 PM PDT.

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