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PAUL LACHINE
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Date published: 11/6/2012

AFTER what seems like a near- eternity of persuasive efforts by partisans, Virginia voters in this region go to the polls today to help elect a president, a U.S. senator, and two members of the House of Representatives (as well as voting on an important property-rights amendment to the Virginia Constitution). Most of these candidates, no matter what your TV says, are honorable men who aim to serve the nation. But who among them is likely to perform that service better? In the judgment of The Free Lance-Star, these candidates merit your support:

;">For president--Barack Obama

Mr. Obama (D) took the reins of power as the nation was barreling toward the depths of the Great Recession, tugged at them determinedly, and saved it from full-fledged disaster. His stimulus package and his bailout of the domestic auto industry saved millions of jobs. An unemployment rate of 10 percent has fallen to 7.9 percent, while recent trends in home prices, consumer spending, and durable-goods purchases give further hope of recovery.

What's more, the much-maligned "Obamacare" means that up to 45 million of our uninsured countrymen will soon have some financial buffer against illness and injury.

In foreign affairs, the president pulled U.S. troops out of the imbroglio in Iraq and is winding down America's military efforts in Afghanistan. But withdrawal from these costly wars hardly signifies an empty-headed dovishness: Mr. Obama has also decimated the leadership of al-Qaida and, of course, put an end to the mortal misdeeds of Osama bin Laden. He has, as backers of his immediate predecessor liked to say, "kept us safe."

;">For U.S. Senate--Tim Kaine

Mr. Kaine (D) served as a Virginia governor during an unenviable period--the national and global downturn that forced on him and the General Assembly hard budgetary choices. He governed practicably, accepting spending cuts that, while not always desirable, were necessary for Virginia to keep its fiscal house in order and retain its business-drawing power.

That the commonwealth's jobless rate is the 12th lowest in the nation is in no small part due to his governorship. Moreover, he worked well with the other party in making ends meet--a virtue that's in short supply in Washington.


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