[LETTERS to the editor]The next U.S. president

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[LETTERS to the editor]The next U.S. president

With less than two weeks before the presidential election in the United States, most major U.S. newspapers, including conservative papers like the Wall Street Journal, are reporting that new polls show Barack Obama now has a double-digit lead over John McCain. However, some minor papers are telling different stories on the findings. And even major polls indicate that many voters haven’t made their final decision.

Many books have argued that three criteria are vital in America when it comes to picking a president: leadership and personal qualities; voters’ perceptions of which candidate’s policies will benefit them most; and voters’ party affiliation.

An Oct. 17-19 CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll seemed to make a more thorough study of the subject than other surveys. To the question, “Which candidate has the right experience to be the president?” 36 percent picked Obama, while 54 percent chose McCain. On the question of which candidate is a strong and decisive leader, 45 percent said Obama, and 47 said McCain. Obama came out on top when it came to who will better handle the economy, health care and taxes, but McCain was seen to be able to do a better job in dealing with terrorism and the war in Iraq.

The issue of race had been a heated subject throughout the presidential primaries until June, but the latest polls did not deal much with it.

But among the oldest, whitest, and least-educated people in the Deep South, many reporters found white Democrats who freely use the “N-word” and swore they would never vote for Obama. Some working-class white males and older white women in northern industrial states also consistently objected to having an African-American president in the White House.

The selection of the running mates and the plunge of the Dow Jones industrial average have been concentrating the attention of voters.

A candidate’s leadership is often assessed through past performance and conduct. It is interesting to watch what McCain is doing in Pennsylvania and Florida lately.

Because both states have a large number of Electoral College electors, McCain has been pushing to win both. Republicans in Pennsylvania wonder why he did not pick Tom Ridge, a former governor of Pennsylvania and the Bush administration’s first secretary of homeland security, as his running mate.

The same goes for Florida State. Had he picked the popular governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, McCain would get not only Florida’s 27 Electoral College votes but also more votes from the southern states as well. McCain can now only expect the three votes from Alaska.

We don’t know who will win the November election, but one thing is certain: One of the two candidates will be the next president of the United States.

Korean President Lee Myung-bak needs more cooperation from the U.S. than ever before. So to what extent does the Lee administration know about the American candidates, and what policies and people will help the Korean government connect to the new administration? Judging from the international economic situation, it seems the Lee government needs the U.S. more than the United States needs it.

Paul Sunik Kim, retired college professor,

Florida, United States

*e-mail to eopinion@joongang.co.kr or via fax to 82-2-751-9219
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