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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Obama most likely Democrat to unify America

- The State editorial board's Democratic presidential primary endorsement

THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY in South Carolina this year offers voters an unusual choice. Earlier votes have winnowed out the most experienced candidates, leaving a field with fewer accomplishments and differences on policy, but including two candidates who come with the promise to make history just because of who they are.

Looking at the remaining field: Rep. Dennis Kucinich offers a bold plan on health care, but his platform is an odd fit for us and for many in South Carolina. John Edwards has morphed away from the optimist who won South Carolina in 2004. The candidate who stayed mostly above the fray four years ago is angry now, and pushing hard to turn working-class angst into political opportunity. He also has tried to one-up the other top Democrats with the least prudent plan for withdrawing from Iraq.

On positions from Iraq to health care, the policy differences between Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama are minute. Much of the debate between them has involved making these molehills look mountainous or clashing over who-shifted-when.

The one most significant difference between them can be found in how they would approach the presidency - and how the nation might respond.

Hillary Clinton has been a policy wonk most of her life, a trait she has carried into the U.S. Senate. As her debate performances have shown, she has intelligence and a deep understanding of many issues. Her efforts in New York focused first on learning her adopted state’s issues in detail, and pursuing legislation that would not necessarily grab headlines.

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