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U.S. needs John McCain's experience

John McCain is not the perfect presidential candidate. But he's a better choice than Barack Obama.

McCain, the Republican senator from Arizona, embodies traditional conservative values, a streak of independence and the depth of experience that qualify him for the Oval Office. At a time when the nation faces extraordinarily difficult challenges at home and abroad, Americans should not put a rookie in the highest office in the land.

Obama, with not even a full term as a Democratic senator from Illinois, is a rookie. He's articulate, charismatic and intelligent, but he's not experienced. His domestic policy tilts socialistically toward unprecedented government control of almost every aspect of American life. His programs, if implemented, would plunge the nation into a deeper economic hole.

McCain has a blind spot or two regarding necessary federal expenditures-farm program, for example -- but his overall philosophy about federal spending is sound and necessary as the nation struggles with a severe economic turn down.

Obama's foreign policy is dangerously na?ve. He doesn't seem to understand that the U.S. president should not shake an enemy's hand when the enemy's other hand is holding a gun to America's head.

McCain's clear view of global reality is based in a lifetime of foreign policy experience. With regard to world issues, he indeed does more than talk the talk; he walks the walk.

The two men also differ sharply on their views of the United States' place in the world.

Obama seems to be of the school that views America as just another nation-a good and powerful nation, to be sure, but no better than any place else.

McCain adheres to the doctrine of American exceptionalism, which, among other things, defines the United States as a beacon of liberty, hope and enlightenment.

Finally, the prospect of the federal government -- its power and purse -- in the hands of one political party should give Americans pause. The nation saw the damage that was done when Republicans controlled Congress and the White House: the corruption of unbridled power, a poorly executed war, economic disaster.

If Obama becomes president, the power of the bitterly partisan Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the bumbling of Senate Majority leader Harry Reid would be unchecked.

Divided government is good government. The new leader of the free world must inspire confidence, not only a home, but overseas.

Obama's oratorical skills are impressive, but they tend to mesmerize, rather than stimulate critical thinking about his policy positions.

McCain might not be as smooth, but his record and his independence reveal a steady hand. America needs a steady hand.

This presidential endorsement represents the views of Forum Communications Co., parent company of the Woodbury Bulletin.