Sen. Barack Obama

It's probable that no endorsement we make will have less influence than this one.

Who among you registered D's hasn't thought long and hard about how to undo the blight that has been the Bush administration? Who hasn't watched the debates between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton, followed the horse race and developed a gut feeling about who will best remove the tumor that has metastasized in the White House over the past seven years?

With all due respect to those who think Clinton is the best surgeon for our times, we're throwing our weight behind a different kind of healer, one who brings more than a smart set of policies, but rather a wholesale—yes, we'll say it—change in approach. Don't count us among the dewy-eyed who are infatuated with Obama and have conferred upon him celestial qualities: He is not divine. But do count us among those who believe he can inspire the best in each of us, begin to realign America's international image, restore our civil liberties and expel the criminals and plunderers that have had an all-access pass to the White House since 2001.

To those with reservations about the freshman Illinois senator's inexperience—we only point to his campaign's remarkable dexterity and management. To those who think he may not be tough enough—consider that he has been tested and vetted by the political equivalent of the thuggish Detroit Pistons. The Clintons have a long history of cheating, lying and throwing every available elbow to win. Obama has met every Clinton challenge and risen above it. Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be a pussycat compared to the tenacity and wily nature of the Clintons.

There's not much daylight between Clinton and Obama on most issues, including Oregon-specific ones. (The Clinton campaign has made much of Obama's vote in favor of the Bush administration's 2005 Energy Policy Act, which Clinton says robbed local and state governments of their say in liquefied natural gas projects. Obama in turn touts the work he did to improve the bill, inserting provisions to promote green power and energy independence.)

But this isn't really about specific issues. It's about character, the ability to motivate, the skill to restore our position overseas and the wisdom to speak to us as adults about the challenges we face as, well, adults. Obama has demonstrated all of these talents during the campaign, and we're throwing our lot in with him. We hope this state's Democrats do so as well.