October 31, 2008 / 11:30 AM / 10 years ago

Economist magazine endorses Obama for presidency

LONDON (Reuters) - The Economist magazine, a bastion of free-market economics, gave its support on Friday to Democrat Barack Obama to be the next U.S. president.

With a front cover depicting a thoughtful Obama beneath the words “It’s time,” the 165-year old British publication said it wholeheartedly endorsed Obama.

“In terms of painting a brighter future for America and the world, Mr. Obama has produced the more compelling and detailed portrait. He has campaigned with more style, intelligence and discipline than his opponent,” it said.

“Mr. Obama deserves the presidency,” said the London-based weekly, which has a substantial readership in the United States.

The Economist backed current U.S. President George W. Bush, a Republican, in the 2000 election and his unsuccessful Democratic challenger John Kerry in 2004.

In 2000, the United States was an undisputed superpower, the magazine said. The main issue was what to do with the government’s huge budget surplus.

“When Americans go to the polls next week the mood will be very different. The United States is unhappy, divided and foundering both at home and abroad. Its self-belief and values are under attack.”

Despite some risk from inexperience, Obama had clearly shown that he offered the best chance of restoring the United States’ self-confidence, the Economist said.

Noting that Obama would be the first black U.S. president if he defeats Republican candidate John McCain in next Tuesday’s vote, the Economist said: “He would salve, if not close, the ugly racial wound left by America’s history and lessen the tendency of American blacks to blame all their problems on racism.”

Editing by Angus MacSwan

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