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DETROIT FREE PRESS ENDORSES CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT

 DETROIT FREE PRESS ENDORSES CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT
 DETROIT, Oct. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- The Detroit Free Press, Michigan's


largest newspaper, has endorsed the presidential candidacy of Democratic nominee Bill Clinton.
 In an editorial that will appear in Sunday's Free Press, Editor Joe H. Stroud called the Arkansas governor "a common-sense alternative to the drift of the Bush years and the trickle-down philosophy of the last 12 years ... he will give the country a better balance of belief, leadership and ability to communicate than Mr. Bush has represented."
 On economic, social and foreign-policy issues, the editorial said, President George Bush "has not been much of a leader for the United States ... The country feels deep difficulties, and many of us feel those problems in a way that was not true in 1988."
 Independent presidential candidate Ross Perot, the editorial said, "can contribute to the political dialogue, but he is not a desirable or even a viable candidate."
 The text of the Free Press endorsement editorial follows.
 Just under a month from now, Americans will choose their leader for the next four years.
 The presidential election will be a referendum on George Bush's performance during the last four years and, to an extent, on the record of the Republican Party over the last 12 years.
 Yet the choice is not merely an evaluation of the leadership we have had; it is a decision that we believe we can change things for the better.
 Mr. Bush's stewardship often has disappointed both those who thought the Reagan revolution was a legacy to be preserved and those who believed it was a disaster for the country.
 Were Reagan policies really voodoo economics, as Mr. Bush said in 1980? Or were they the Holy Grail, which Mr. Reagan's faithful vice president had only to nurture and preserve? George Bush has never made up his mind.
 The result has been drift at a time when great changes have been at work in the world, affecting both the American society and the emerging post-Cold War world. Mr. Bush proclaimed a new world order but failed to define and lead one.
 He showed leadership in organizing the coalition to fight the Persian Gulf War, but repeatedly showed an instinct for failing to deal with fundamentals. In foreign policy, he often proved cautious and weak about capitalizing on the fruits of the U.S. victory in the Cold War.
 Instead of compiling a strong record, when many things were coming together to fulfill long-term U.S. objectives, Mr. Bush showed a capacity for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and turmoil from what truly might have been a new order.
 But this election is not proving difficult for Mr. Bush primarily because of foreign policy. Many Americans, we suspect, would be more generous to him than we feel.
 The Berlin Wall came down. The nuclear threat lessened. The United Nations was renewed. The fall of communism became a fact rather than a promise.
 The penalties for his timidity -- in China, in the Baltics, in European policy -- have not yet been exacted, and those are not the kinds of issues on which elections are normally won or lost.
 Mr. Bush is in trouble because he said he would create 30 million jobs in eight years, and the country has scarcely even held its own on that score during the last four.
 He said he could deal with the budget deficit and not raise taxes, and he wound up making the deficit worse and raising taxes. He promised a kinder, gentler America, but has given us a more divided America.
 He said he would be a careful steward of America's purse, and has wound up with no strategy but to throw money at problems when it suited his political convenience. He proclaimed that he could be a leader, and now whines that it was Congress' fault that he was not able to lead.
 The president has listened neither to neoconservative growth advocates nor to those who argue that government ought to foster reinvestment in America. He has too often seemed utterly rudderless, a man indeed lacking in "the vision thing."
 Mr. Bush has not been much of a leader for the United States. Even many whose economic interests the Reagan revolution seemed to serve must question whether the last four years have helped them.
 The country faces deep difficulties, and many of us now feel those problems in a way that was not true in 1988.
 Mr. Bush's record itself argues strongly for change. But what kind of change? Despite Ross Perot's re-entry into the presidential race, we continue to believe that the real choice is between the nominees of the two major parties. Mr. Perot can contribute to the political dialogue, but he is not a desirable or even a viable candidate.
 We believe Bill Clinton represents an attractive and persuasive alternative.
 As governor of Arkansas, he has shown that he knows how to get things done with limited resources, how to manage the business of government, and, above all, how to lead. His political skills are formidable, perhaps the best we've seen in any Democratic candidate in a generation.
 His willingness to grab for the brass ring at a time when George Bush's poll ratings were extraordinarily high may indicate ambition; it also demonstrates a boldness and self-assurance that will serve a leader and the country well.
 Despite Mr. Bush's attempts to paint Bill Clinton as a Michael Dukakis with a Southern accent, this is a different kind of Democratic candidate. He is a Southern progressive; we have every hope that he will begin to address the problems of class and race in American society.
 He is intelligent and well educated; the notion that he is a blow- dried Bubba who is too much a regionalist to govern well is not borne out by the facts.
 Gov. Clinton is a moderate who controls his own agenda. He has protected himself against the fate that so often has befallen Democratic presidential candidates: He did not give himself away to win nomination.
 He is a balanced man whose instincts are strongly to seek broad consensus. After years of gridlock in Washington, the idea of a consensus-builder in the White House has real appeal.
 Mr. Clinton represents a common-sense alternative to the drift of the Bush years and the trickle-down philosophy of the last 12 years. His emphasis on fairness to the poor and the middle class is appropriate.
 His willingness to work with business is well documented. We believe a Clinton-Gore administration would manage to be both pro-growth and pro-environment.
 The Democratic nominee is not a perfect candidate and certainly not a perfect man. Character does matter, and we would have preferred that Gov. Clinton offer more persuasive answers to some of the allegations about his dealings with the military draft and about his personal life.
 Bill and Hillary Clinton, though, do appear to have overcome together the early difficulties in their marriage; they seem conscientious partners and parents.
 Gov. Clinton's most obvious weakness is his lack of experience in leading a great power in dealing with the world. But he has shown that he has read and thought about world affairs. We believe that overall he will give the country a better balance of belief, leadership and ability to communicate than Mr. Bush has represented.
 In his first real-world choice as a nominee, Gov. Clinton did well: Tennessee Sen. Al Gore is an excellent vice-presidential candidate. The contrast with Vice President Dan Quayle reflects favorably on Mr. Clinton's judgment.
 The choice before voters is momentous. The country is at the end of an epoch in which it was preoccupied with the challenge of world leadership.
 We must continue to lead the free world and to protect ourselves in a sometimes dangerous world. But it is appropriate that we turn our attention to overcoming our weaknesses and building on our strengths at home.
 We believe George Bush is poorly equipped to meet that challenge, or even to understand it. Gov. Bill Clinton is admirably equipped to do so.
 Our choice for president of the United States in 1992 is Bill Clinton.
 -0- 10/3/92
 /CONTACT: The Detroit Free Press Editorial Department, 313-222-6583/ CO: Detroit Free Press ST: Michigan IN: PUB SU: CPN


SB-JG -- DESA01 -- 6323 10/03/92 13:01 EDT
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Date:Oct 3, 1992
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