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>If I were 18, I'd vote for: BARACK OBAMA


He is the voice of hope. He is the face of tomorrow. He is young. He is bright. He brings new energy to old problems. His name is Barack Obama, and if America's voters are smart, they will make him our next president.

America needs a change. Our nation has been at war in Iraq for five years too many, and our economy is going downhill quickly. Eight years of a Republican administration have led to crisis here and overseas. If Obama is elected president, he would bring that much needed change to America.

Obama is much different than any presidential candidate before him: His father was a black native of Kenya, while his mother was a white woman from Kansas. He was born in Hawaii and spent part of his youth in Indonesia; he was the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. Obama's ethnic diversity will help America improve its badly damaged reputation overseas.

At age 47, Obama would be a very young president. Many people think that this would be a major setback. Many people believe that Obama does not have enough experience under his belt. But he has plenty of experience. Obama has been a U.S. senator for four years and was an Illinois state legislator for seven years prior to that. In 1985, Obama moved to Chicago where he became a community organizer and worked to rebuild an economically declining neighborhood.

In times of crisis like today, the last thing America needs is a president who becomes nervous in tough situations. During the three debates, Obama never seemed to be nervous, answering the questions with confidence and doing so without changing the subject. When he is asked what he will do about the economy or the war in Iraq, Obama always answers calmly and intelligently. If he is elected president, Obama would always remain cool and calm.

Obama is certainly smart enough for the job, with Columbia University and Harvard Law School on his resume. His choice of Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate shows Obama's good judgment. And his mostly positive campaign demonstrates that he is more concerned about our nation's issues than just getting elected.

All these important factors have helped to sway many undecided people Obama's way. In fact, one of the nation's most famous Republicans, former Secretary of State, Gen. Colin Powell, recently endorsed Obama. Powell has been a key adviser for past presidents. His support for Obama will make more Republicans more comfortable doing the same.

Powell admires Obama, saying Obama has "an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge and an approach to looking at problems." Powell also believes that Obama's young age is a good thing for our country. "I think we need a transformational figure," Powell said, "I think we need a president who is a generational change and that is why I am supporting Barack Obama."
If Obama is elected president, our nation would change for the better: Americans would finally gain respect overseas; our declining economy would rise up again; and we would end a war that should never have started. Best of all, we will have hope -- hope for a brighter tomorrow, and hope that the next eight years will be better than the last eight years.
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>If I were 18, I'd vote for: JOHN McCAIN

Today's America is in crisis. Everyday the stock market seems to be doing something different. We are engaged in a war that every day drains the treasury and claims the lives of our soldiers. Companies close down and jobs are shipped overseas, imperiling our chances of getting a decent job after college, if we'll be able to afford college.

Nowhere in government does the notion of service resonate more than in Sen. John McCain. Whether or not you agree with his policies, no one can deny McCain's integrity or patriotism. From his years at the U.S. Naval Academy and Pilot School, to the gruesome torture he suffered as a Vietnam prisoner of war, to more than 25 years as an Arizona senator, McCain has arguably served more, if not the most, years for his country than any other presidential candidate in the history of the United States.

McCain's experience is essential to the issues at hand. As a senator with a distinguished military career and a real familiarity with national politics, he has a firm grasp on how to quickly, and responsibly, wrap up the war on terror. His staunch support of "the surge," a military strategy that deployed an additional 30,000 troops to Iraq, led to a dramatic decrease in violence that consequently led to fewer attacks on U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians, at a time when many in Congress and Senate opposed such a plan. America cannot just simply pull out of the Middle East, with the uncertainty of any political chaos that might ensue from an immediate withdrawal. McCain vehemently supports our troops and repeatedly promises to bring them home with honor.

McCain is also fully competent on domestic issues. He has extensive experience dealing with the economy; he served on the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. He has demonstrated his fiscal responsibility by condemning earmarks, even denying them to his own state of Arizona, showing his lack of influence by special interests. His plan for higher education calls for simplifying the system that lends money to college students, meaning fewer funds are wasted and are more accessible to students.

McCain is the clear winner when it comes to sound morals. He takes a hard stance on being pro-life, arguing it is ethically wrong to terminate a pregnancy. His running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, has made this fight her priority, just this past year, deciding that though her baby had Down syndrome, it was selfish to end his life.

McCain and Palin present a wonderful new direction in which to take the country.

To learn more about the Republican ticket visit: (John McCain's Election website) (McCain's Senate Web site)

Alexander Vilardo and Joshua Riefler are both juniors at Canisius High School.


For information on both candidates, look at: (Offers unbiased information on the issues) (Clears up rumors about candidates)

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