Thursday, October 28


OK, work buddies who devour the conservative British Economist, read this.

Britain's Economist magazine, a weekly publication which says it has a U.S. readership of 400,000, is urging its American readers to vote for Democratic Party candidate John Kerry at the Nov. 2 presidential polls.
``It was a difficult call, given that we endorsed George Bush in 2000 and supported the war in Iraq,'' Economist editor Bill Emmott, who wrote the editorial backing Kerry, said in a pre- publication e-mail. ``In the end we felt he has been too incompetent to deserve re-election.''

Kerry, a Vietnam veteran who is the Democratic Senator for Massachusetts, has already been endorsed by the New York Times, the Washington Post, Financial Times and New Yorker magazine, the first time in the publication's 80-year history that it's taken a position on a candidate. Opinion polls in recent days show the two men tied in the race for the White House.

The Economist said Bush's presidency had to be judged against the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and it said his record in the three years after the attacks had been inspiring and disturbing, the Economist said.

The magazine said Bush's credibility had been undermined by events at Guantanamo Bay, what it called the ``sheer incompetence and hubristic thinking'' evident in the handling of postwar Iraq, and the prisoner abuses at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.

``America needs a president capable of admitting to mistakes, and of learning from them,'' Emmott wrote. ``Mr. Bush has steadfastly refused to admit to anything.''

Given that U.S. presidents should be chosen for their character, leadership qualities and ability to deal with crises, Kerry's apparent oscillation on some issues is a worry, the Economist said. On the other hand, his qualities as a naval officer during combat in Vietnam, the determination he showed in speaking out against that war on his return, and his reputation as a strong finisher in political races made him a strong candidate, the magazine concluded.


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