Al Franken
Senator Al Franken represents Minnesota in the U.S. Senate.

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REASON 85: President Obama is steady at the helm.

When it comes to basic philosophy about the federal government’s proper role in providing for the general welfare of the American people, there is no question that President Obama’s views are closer to mine than are Mitt Romney’s.

And, if elections are about choices, I guess that makes my choice in this election an easy one.

But you don’t just want a president you agree with on the issues we’re debating today. You want a president you can trust to lead on the issues that we can’t even anticipate today—the ones that will arise over the next four years.

And, boy, has Barack Obama earned our trust.

In February 2007, when he launched his campaign, nobody imagined that, when the next president took office, the global financial system would have melted down and our economy would be in freefall.

But in January 2009, President Obama’s first month in office, we lost more than 800,000 jobs.

Fortunately, even though we didn’t know our next president would have to rescue us from the next Great Depression, we picked the right guy for the job. The stimulus bill saved or created more than three million jobs (according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office)—and, as you can see from this chart, reversed our slide into depression.

Labor
Jobs data source: (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Don’t think for a minute that any president would have done the same. Only three Senate Republicans voted for the stimulus. But even in the face of relentless opposition, President Obama calmly helped to avoid economic disaster, doubled our nation’s renewable energy, and made unprecedented investments in our education system, our infrastructure, and our capacity to innovate.

Oh, and he gave Americans the largest middle-class tax cut in a generation.

Similarly, when Barack Obama launched his campaign in February 2007, nobody imagined that, four years later, the president would have to make an incredibly gutsy call when faced with the chance to take out Osama bin Laden.

There was no assurance that the Al Qaeda leader was even in that compound in Abbottabad. And the president was presented with several options that were far less risky than the raid, including the option to send in a few bombers to destroy the compound.

Many of his advisors, including Vice President Biden, preferred that option to the raid—which was the riskiest option, politically speaking. But the president knew that bombing the compound wouldn’t give us the definitive proof that we’d killed Bin Laden. And because he demonstrated his steel once again, the world knows we got Bin Laden—and our Navy SEALs recovered a wealth of information about Al Qaeda’s operations.

So, to me, this election isn’t just about the issues on the table now. It’s about who we want leading our country through crises we can’t even imagine today—crises that will become real during the next presidential term.

President Obama hasn’t taken my preferred approach on every issue. But he’s earned my trust on the ones that matter most—the ones that demanded especially strong leadership. And that’s why he’s earned not just my vote, but my enthusiastic support.

Al Franken
 Saint Paul, Minnesota


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REASON 69:
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REASON 81:
I am voting for Barack Obama because I’ve seen The Wire.read essay →