With more than four months to go until Election Day, Democrat John Kerry has picked up his first endorsement for president from a major newspaper, the Philadelphia Daily News.

“The commonwealth – indeed the nation – cannot afford another four years of George Bush,” writes the editorial board in a call to action which provides specific information on how people can become active in the defeat of the incumbent Bush.

“Unlike the current White House occupant, Kerry can lead America to a brighter, better future. He has shown the personal courage, compassion, intellect and skill to lead this country in a time of war abroad and economic troubles at home. He is a serious man for a serious time.

“Why make this endorsement now, when the election is months away?

“Because this race promises to be close and Pennsylvania is one of 18 swing states that can go to either candidate. For Kerry supporters to prevail they must do more than just vote, they must bring a ringer into this contest: the more than a million people in the region who did not vote in the last presidential election. We believe these non-voters – who will have to be mobilized over the next few months – are the key to victory.”

The Daily News does give Bush credit for his leadership in the dark days immediately following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but says his administration has since been marked by failure.

“He has failed in even the one challenge he set out for himself at the beginning of his administration – to bring the country together. His has been one of the most ideologically driven and divisive administrations in recent times.

“Instead of moving forward, the country has been on the wrong track. These last four years have been wasted.”

In making the case to vote for Kerry, the paper states:

  • “He is not the indecisive waffler the Bush team would have you believe. Instead, he is offering a concrete, pragmatic direction for the nation.”

  • “On the issue of high unemployment he is proposing changing the tax laws that give U.S. companies incentives to outsource jobs to India and China.”

  • “Kerry promises to roll back the Bush tax cuts for people making more than $200,000 to help cut the federal deficit and help pay for his health-care program, which seeks to expand coverage. He will withdraw the special privileges given to polluting industries and the oil companies as we work toward freeing ourselves from dependence on oil from the Middle East.”

  • “He has surrounded himself with advisers, many from the Clinton administration, who have real-world experience on the economy, national security and on fighting terror. They know how to win wars. They did it in Bosnia and Kosovo, wars where we actually had an exit strategy.”

    On its website, the Daily News asked readers, “Do you agree with the Daily News’ endorsement of John Kerry for president? ”

    After 5 p.m. Eastern Time, with 4,828 votes submitted, 78 percent said they agreed with the endorsement, with 22 percent responding no.

    The paper also solicited e-mail comments for publication.

    The Philadelphia Daily News previously endorsed Democrats Al Gore and Bill Clinton in the most recent presidential election races.

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