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The Free Lance-Star's presidential endorsement.

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Date published: 10/17/2004

continued

Perhaps most illuminating is his vote on Gulf War I in 1991. The first President Bush had secured U.N. approval for military action to oust Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. Bush the Elder then put together a force of 34 countries, representing every continent but Antarctica. Other nations--especially the Gulf states, Germany, and Japan--picked up most of bill. In other words, the First Gulf War met what Mr. Kerry calls "the global test," and met it in spades. He voted against fighting it.

Which is to say that George W. Bush is not the only candidate with a record; John F. Kerry has one also, and it should be a red flag to Americans in a dangerous day. Mr. Bush has made serious mistakes in judgment; Mr. Kerry's error is writ in his heart. His are not the convictions to take the fight to an enemy that sees 9/11 as a prelude, or to scour the Earth of a threat to liberty whose precursors, as both antiwar vet and U.S. senator, he more often sought to relieve than resist.

In a second term, Mr. Bush says that he aims to partly privatize Social Security, which would eventually shrink federal spending more radically than any programmatic tinkering. He will, we judge, persevere in Iraq and in the larger conflict with neo-barbarism. The country's economic foundation and, more crucially, its physical security are safer if he wins a second term, and we endorse his re-election.


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