The home stretch begins

By Chuck Kajer

This week's Democratic National Convention in Denver, followed by the Republican National Convention in St. Paul next week, will give the two parties a chance to set the stage for the final two months of the presidential election season.

Both parties have done their best to put their candidate in the best possible light. Democrats are preparing to nominate Barack Obama as the first African-American to head a major party ticket, while Republicans will nominate John McCain to head their party into the November elections.

Several months ago on these pages, The Times commented on what we should expect from the candidates... A campaign based on real issues, putting the best features of both candidates in the spotlight, and one avoiding the negative campaigning. All of that is, admittedly, wishful thinking.

The choice will be between two U.S. Senators, one a young, populist who has inspired renewed interest in politics for many Americans and the other a war hero and longtime public servant who has served his country in the military and in the Senate.

If you haven't made your choice, pay attention carefully over the next two months. Study the issues and avoid being influenced by the attack ads that will undoubtedly target both Obama, McCain and their running mates. An election should be decided on the basis of what the candidates represent and what they believe not on what they or their supporters can accuse the other of. Americans should be voting for a candidate, not against one.

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