Obama offers best way out of economic disarray

EDITOR'S NOTE: Because of a technical issue, this story at this URL has been sometimes replaced by a different story that appeared in the same spot on the Observer's editorial page in recent days. Reader comments, however, were carried over from this original story. In addition, there have been some technical issues with posting comments today (Oct. 14). We are sorry for any confusion this might have caused.

From Hugh McColl Jr., former chairman and CEO of Bank of America:

In 49 years of living in Charlotte, I've seldom offered my opinion in writing and never submitted a piece such as this. The condition of our country compels me.

The economic disarray threatening our community and nation poses critical challenges but also presents opportunity. We can observe the presidential candidates in the crucible of crisis.

Only one of them demonstrates the needed intellect, fortitude and temperament. That is why I have decided to publicly support Barack Obama.

What is needed in Washington is sound judgment and exceptional leadership. Through the years that I've been a businessman and before that an officer in the Marine Corps, I saw what qualities make effective leaders. I see them in Obama: a sharp intellect, stiff spine and steady hand.

Obama's economic plans will restore market confidence and provide a blueprint for a better future. His pragmatic, intelligent economic plan will stop our financial slide and restore the expansion and confidence we knew in the 1990s. Obama's tax relief plans for small businesses and the middle class should provide much-needed economic stimulus.

Obama also has an energy plan that makes sense. He will shift energy use from foreign oil toward alternative, domestic sources. This will create millions of “green collar” jobs and enable us to capitalize on alternative energy. These cleaner energy solutions will protect the planet for our children and grandchildren and free us from depending on hostile nations.

We could not have built Bank of America into the leader it has become without a highly educated workforce. Obama proposes to invest in education to ensure we remain the most productive and efficient in the world. We must take these steps to stay globally competitive.

I greatly respect all that John McCain has done for our nation. But it is Barack Obama whom we need now.