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Chicago Tribune endorses Obama. First Democrat to get Trib presidential nod.

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WASHINGTON--The Obama campaign has been a game changer....for the Chicago Tribune. The editorial board endorsed Obama, backing a Democratic presidential candidate for the first time since the paper started printing in 1847. I am absolutely not surprised. The editorial board, led by Bruce Dold, who wrote the endorsement, has been Obama friendly for years and the transition to new owner Sam Zell did not change the dynamic.



Tribune Editorial: Barack Obama for president


However this election turns out, it will dramatically advance America's slow progress toward equality and inclusion. It took Abraham Lincoln's extraordinary courage in the Civil War to get us here. It took an epic battle to secure women the right to vote. It took the perseverance of the civil rights movement. Now we have an election in which we will choose the first African-American president . . . or the first female vice president.

In recent weeks it has been easy to lose sight of this history in the making. Americans are focused on the greatest threat to the world economic system in 80 years. They feel a personal vulnerability the likes of which they haven't experienced since Sept. 11, 2001. It's a different kind of vulnerability. Unlike Sept. 11, the economic threat hasn't forged a common bond in this nation. It has fed anger, fear and mistrust.

On Nov. 4 we're going to elect a president to lead us through a perilous time and restore in us a common sense of national purpose.

The strongest candidate to do that is Sen. Barack Obama. The Tribune is proud to endorse him today for president of the United States.


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On Dec. 6, 2006, this page encouraged Obama to join the presidential campaign. We wrote that he would celebrate our common values instead of exaggerate our differences. We said he would raise the tone of the campaign. We said his intellectual depth would sharpen the policy debate. In the ensuing 22 months he has done just that.

Many Americans say they're uneasy about Obama. He's pretty new to them.

We can provide some assurance. We have known Obama since he entered politics a dozen years ago. We have watched him, worked with him, argued with him as he rose from an effective state senator to an inspiring U.S. senator to the Democratic Party's nominee for president.

We have tremendous confidence in his intellectual rigor, his moral compass and his ability to make sound, thoughtful, careful decisions. He is ready.

The change that Obama talks about so much is not simply a change in this policy or that one. It is not fundamentally about lobbyists or Washington insiders. Obama envisions a change in the way we deal with one another in politics and government. His opponents may say this is empty, abstract rhetoric. In fact, it is hard to imagine how we are going to deal with the grave domestic and foreign crises we face without an end to the savagery and a return to civility in politics.

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This endorsement makes some history for the Chicago Tribune. This is the first time the newspaper has endorsed the Democratic Party's nominee for president.

The Tribune in its earliest days took up the abolition of slavery and linked itself to a powerful force for that cause--the Republican Party. The Tribune's first great leader, Joseph Medill, was a founder of the GOP. The editorial page has been a proponent of conservative principles. It believes that government has to serve people honestly and efficiently.

With that in mind, in 1872 we endorsed Horace Greeley, who ran as an independent against the corrupt administration of Republican President Ulysses S. Grant. (Greeley was later endorsed by the Democrats.) In 1912 we endorsed Theodore Roosevelt, who ran as the Progressive Party candidate against Republican President William Howard Taft.

The Tribune's decisions then were driven by outrage at inept and corrupt business and political leaders.

We see parallels today.

The Republican Party, the party of limited government, has lost its way. The government ran a $237 billion surplus in 2000, the year before Bush took office -- and recorded a $455 billion deficit in 2008. The Republicans lost control of the U.S. House and Senate in 2006 because, as we said at the time, they gave the nation rampant spending and Capitol Hill corruption. They abandoned their principles. They paid the price.

We might have counted on John McCain to correct his party's course. We like McCain. We endorsed him in the Republican primary in Illinois. In part because of his persuasion and resolve, the U.S. stands to win an unconditional victory in Iraq.

It is, though, hard to figure John McCain these days. He argued that President Bush's tax cuts were fiscally irresponsible, but he now supports them. He promises a balanced budget by the end of his first term, but his tax cut plan would add an estimated $4.2 trillion in debt over 10 years. He has responded to the economic crisis with an angry, populist message and a misguided, $300 billion proposal to buy up bad mortgages.

McCain failed in his most important executive decision. Give him credit for choosing a female running mate--but he passed up any number of supremely qualified Republican women who could have served. Having called Obama not ready to lead, McCain chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. His campaign has tried to stage-manage Palin's exposure to the public. But it's clear she is not prepared to step in at a moment's notice and serve as president. McCain put his campaign before his country.

Obama chose a more experienced and more thoughtful running mate--he put governing before politicking. Sen. Joe Biden doesn't bring many votes to Obama, but he would help him from day one to lead the country.


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McCain calls Obama a typical liberal politician. Granted, it's disappointing that Obama's mix of tax cuts for most people and increases for the wealthy would create an estimated $2.9 trillion in federal debt. He has made more promises on spending than McCain has. We wish one of these candidates had given good, hard specific information on how he would bring the federal budget into line. Neither one has.

We do, though, think Obama would govern as much more of a pragmatic centrist than many people expect.

We know first-hand that Obama seeks out and listens carefully and respectfully to people who disagree with him. He builds consensus. He was most effective in the Illinois legislature when he worked with Republicans on welfare, ethics and criminal justice reform.

He worked to expand the number of charter schools in Illinois--not popular with some Democratic constituencies.

He took up ethics reform in the U.S. Senate--not popular with Washington politicians.

His economic policy team is peppered with advisers who support free trade. He has been called a "University of Chicago Democrat"--a reference to the famed free-market Chicago school of economics, which puts faith in markets.


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Obama is deeply grounded in the best aspirations of this country, and we need to return to those aspirations. He has had the character and the will to achieve great things despite the obstacles that he faced as an unprivileged black man in the U.S.

He has risen with his honor, grace and civility intact. He has the intelligence to understand the grave economic and national security risks that face us, to listen to good advice and make careful decisions.

When Obama said at the 2004 Democratic Convention that we weren't a nation of red states and blue states, he spoke of union the way Abraham Lincoln did.

It may have seemed audacious for Obama to start his campaign in Springfield, invoking Lincoln. We think, given the opportunity to hold this nation's most powerful office, he will prove it wasn't so audacious after all. We are proud to add Barack Obama's name to Lincoln's in the list of people the Tribune has endorsed for president of the United States.

11 Comments


Welcome to the USSR in what used to be the USA.

I can't believe that the people of this country would vote for socialism.

While I will vote for Obama I have hopes that he will see the error of trying to increase the corporate income tax and instead try to get it reduced or eliminated. No tax cut could be more effective and cost the people less. We the people in truth pay the corporate income tax for all corporations since we buy the product or service the corporations provide. The corporate income tax is in effect a tax ( indirectly) on all that we spend since almost all products are produced by corporations or by people who buy supplies from corporations.
When corporations do not need to pay or even calculate the corporate income tax we will approach full employment very quickly and relative prices for many goods and services will fall quickly, our balance of trade problems will be reduced until other nations follow our lead and the worlds poor will be much better off.
Then when almost everyone who wants a job is working government expenditures will also be reduced.

A full list of newspaper endorsements can be found at DemConWatch.

Is this the kind of change that Obama is talking about?? look endorsements are just endorsements....people are getting to know more about Mr. Obama's socialist ideas, I think he 's running for President in the wrong country..The U.S.A is not a Socialist country..People wake up! that a totally socialits ideas, come on!! to share your years of work w/people that never did anything even for themselves, so what Obama means by that (like in a socialist or communist countries). For exmaple: If you own a two bedroom apartment b/c you use just one room, Obama will ask you share your other room w/an stranger that won't contribuite w/nothing, it won't even help you cleaning your apartment or paying the rent. ON OBAMA'S IDEAS YOU HAVE TO SHARE THINHGS THAT YOU DON'T USE EVEN IF YOU DO..LIKE IN CUBA OR NORTH KOREA OR RUSSIA, ETC, ETC,,,,USING ACORN THAT ALSO SHOWED YOU HOW HE WANTS TO WIN,THIS IS A REMINDER OF WHAT HAPPEN IN THE LAST ELECTION IN RUSSIA, ALL FRAUD..I'M VERY SURE THAT'S HOW HE WON IN THE PRIMARIES USING ACORN--POR CLINTO SHE IS THINKING THAT SHE LOST THSI ELECTION b/c SHE WAS UNFAVORITE, THAT'S NO TRUE--HE WON B/C ACORN($900.000.000 DONATION)WOW!! THAT IS A LOT OF MONEY MR. OBAMA--THATS HOW ARE YOU GOING TO SPENT TO IN THE WHITE HOUSE--I WONDERING HOW MUCH MONEY DID YOU DONATE TO EACH NEWS PAPER TO GET THOSE ENDORSEMENTS---HOW MUCH MONEY DID YOU DONATE TO TELEVISION CHANELS TO KISS YOUR ACORN--SOMETIMES I ASK MY SELF IS A COMMUNIST COUNTRY GIVING YOU ANY MONEY??? B/C THATS HOW THEY WIN IN THEIR COUNTRIES--OR AGAING YOU WILL TRY TO PLAY THE RACE CARD B/C IT WORKED W/ CLINTON OR AS CLINTON ALWAYS SAID MR. OBAMA DOESN'T WANT TO TAKE ANY RESPONSABILITY FOR ANYTHING..HE'S THE PERFECT MAN LIKE HE SAID TO HIMSELF...DON'T TO KOKIE OBAMA..REMEMBER YOU DON'T HAVE THE EXPERIENCE PERIOD.YOU ALWAYS CLAIM THAT YOU WERE POOR AND PEOPLE FEEL MORE IDENTIFIED W/YOU, BUT TELL ME HOW? YOU'RE A YOUNG LAWYER THAT OWNS A MILLION DOLLAR HOUSE, TWO DAUGHTERS, STUDENT'S LOANS YOURS AND YOUR WIFE TOO..PLEASE EXPLAIN THAT TO AMERICAN PEOPLE..HOW YOU DID IT?? YOU WON THE LOTTERY?? OR YOU DON'T WANT TO EXPLAIN YOUR CONNECTION W/ BRISCO..YOU KNOW THAT BRISCO MAKE A LOTS OF PEOPLE LOSSE THEIR HOUSE AND NOW YOU DON'T REMEMBER ANYTHING..YEAH RIGHT! I LISTENED TO SOME REUMORS THAT POWELL WILL ENDORSE YOU, WELL DON'T FORGET THAT HE WAS PART OF THE BUSH'S ADMINISTRATION, IT MEANS IF HE ENDORSE YOU IS LIKE YOU'RE RECEIVING A GEORGE BUSH ENDORDEMENT--GOOD FOR YOU!! BELIEVE ME I KNOW BLOOD IS BLOOD RIGHT?? OR HOW MUCH MONEY YOU GAVE TO POWELL?? I KNOW RIGHT NOW EVRYTHING IS ON SALE...WE DON'T A SOCIALIST PRESIDENT NO! NO! NO!!AND PLEASE! DON'T USE BUSH FOR EVERYTHING IS LIKE THATS ALL YOU KNOW COME ON!! PEOPLE WANT ANSWERS WE DON'T NEED TO KNOW WHAT WE ALREADY KNOW OK! TELL FORM WHERE ARE YOU GOING GET THE MONEY TO DO EVERYTHING THAT YOU'RE PROMISSING..ARE YOU GOING SQUZZEE..THE RICH REALLY?? GUESS WHAT THEY'RE GOING TO DO THE SAME THING W/US..SO SORRY NO TO YOU OBAMA, NO!! NO!!! NO!! YOU HAVE THE LOWEST RESUME, SO YOU HAVE TO WAIT IN LINE UNTIL IS TIME FOR NOW GO AND LEARN HOW TO WIN A CLEAN ELECTION W/OUT ACORN(FRAUD)SAYONARA...

About time we have a president with some sense. God knows Bush has carried this country down in everyway. I think everyone on his team has been under investigation for crime against the people while Bush went singing along and playing President. Give us someone with some values for God sakes...........Mccain's pick of Palin is an insult to the American people and making fun of the office of President. We are tired of being the laughing stock of the world. Palin has all she can handle at home. Oh yes and tell her to stop using her handicap son to get votes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!so low.

I'm baffled why Obama is supported by the media when McCain tried to turn the economy around two years ago, without any support from the Democratic Congress. Then, to top that some major Democratic players were involved in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Max scandal which is being brushed under the rug. It stuns me that you give Obama and some Democrats a pass.

Then I read in your reasoning for your choice--that an "African-American" might possibly be the next American president. That's admirable! That's also emotional! We shouldn't chose someone based just on their skin color, C'mon!

Sen. Obama has so little experience, and he waffles. If the liberal press weren't blocking for him, he'd be nowhere. We really don't know who he is because you haven't been objective and allowed us to learn I understand your need to exert compassion, but have YOU lost your judgment?

"However this election turns out, it will dramatically advance America's slow progress toward equality and inclusion"

This makes me sick. The Foundational value of America is not equality but Liberty!

There are two types of equality.. there is the equality of dignity... this derives from man being created in the image of God.

The second type of equality is the equality of outcomes that is imposed on a society with a heavy thick boot.

The first type of equality requires Liberty. The second type of equality requires Tryanny.

The Far Leftists who control the Democratic Party today, including Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Howard Dean, etc.. seek to impose on us the equality of Marx. Where everyone is equally poor, equally oppressed, and equally subservient to them.


All Americans who love your Constitution must fight to defeat the Obama campaign.


If you ever wondered just what the heck an "internal enemy of the Constitution" would ever turn to to be, we are now faced with it.

The type of Revolution that folks like Obama and his entire assortment of allies past and present (Wright, Ayers, Farrakhan, Dohran, Paul Rudd, Odinga of Kenya, Chavez of VZ, Castro of Cuba, Q'dafi of Libya,his wife, and Saul Alinksy) first visited history at the horrific French Revolution.

Fight against the Jacobins.. against Collectivism.

Defend Liberty.. There is no other country left to flee to.

I am offended by the thoughtless comments made by people like Paul. In this dire economic climates, a serious analysis of the actions undertaken by the Bush administration and Congress can even prove difficult for the most astute economists. Paul, your meaningless and irresponsible comment is unneccessary. Simple-minded and fear-mongering comments are typical of people who just regurgiate the soundbites that they hear from political pundits. USSR was a communist country, not socialist. Please do some research and justify your comments. This country needs people who can seriously discuss issues and not people who can shout the loudest or most shocking insults.

Ooops. In my last comment, Paul Rudd (the actor) should have been Mark Rudd (a founder of the Weather Underground and also Progressives for Obama)

The Tribune endorsement is spot on. I, like the Trib, lean conservative.

And I didn't think I'd be voting for Obama at the start of this campaign. But I'm convinced now that he is the much better candidate and that he and Biden can get us back on the right track after the fiasco of this current administration.

To quote Chris Buckley (former columnist at the National Review):

"...I no longer have any clear idea what, exactly, the modern conservative movement stands for. Eight years of conservative government has brought us a doubled national debt, ruinous expansion of entitlement programs, bridges to nowhere, poster boy Jack Abramoff and an ill-premised, ill-waged war conducted by politicians of breathtaking arrogance. As a sideshow, it brought us a truly obscene attempt at federal intervention in the Terry Schiavo case. So, to paraphrase a real conservative, Ronald Reagan: I havent left the Republican Party. It left me."

BUSH AND HIS ADMINISTRATION ARE TERRORISTS THAT HELPED TO PLAN 9-11 AND THEY ARE ZIONISTS WHOM ARE SUPPORTING ISRAEL TO MURDER PEOPLE LET US ALL BE SURE THAT OUR SINS CAN AND DO FIND US OUT WE MUST TURN BACK TO YAHWEH NOW

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 17, 2008 3:02 PM.

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