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Presidential candidates

Peter Hain
Barack Obama offers much needed hope for the future
Peter Hain

Peter Hain on Barack Obama:

A Barack Obama win will lift the spirits of the entire world.

After eight long years, in which America has acted as though it didn't really care about anyone else's opinions, the White House will bring the United States back into the family of nations again, where it always was under Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy and Bill Clinton.

Where diplomacy and not force takes centre stage.

And where international justice, human rights and ending world poverty becomes just as important as defending national security.

Obama will bring a welcome new approach to ending the conflict in Iraq, a different commitment to fighting terrorism in Afghanistan and bringing Osama bin Laden to justice, and over Iran, negotiating not just issuing threats.

And on climate change Obama will ensure America takes its responsibilities seriously. For Britain the special relationship will be two way again and not just one way.

Obama will mean a healthy new domestic policy, targeting tax cuts on the poor and middle class, not on the rich like George Bush and John McCain. And there will be more funding for education and universal health care for all.

John McCain is stuck in an old, failed past.

Barack Obama offers much needed hope for the future, of change, inspiring generations, young and old, black and white, that politics really can make a difference, when they had almost given up on it, to make a better world.

All in all, good news for the American people, and great news for Britain too.

Michael Howard
Free trade and international security are really crucial issues for the world in which we live
Michael Howard

Michael Howard on John McCain:

Let me say at the outset that I recognise that many good things would flow from an Obama presidency. It would certainly change the perception of the United States in the rest of the world, and after eight years of George W Bush that would be a very desirable outcome.

So in many ways I'd like to be able to support Senator Obama, but there are two main reasons why I can't:

The first is to do with free trade. In the 1930's it was protectionism, the putting up of barriers to protect the industries of individual countries all over the world, which tipped the world into the worst recession we've ever seen and ultimately lead to the Second World War.

So when Senator Obama threatens the North Atlantic Free Trade Area, and opposes free trade agreements with countries like South Korea and Columbia, when he adopts this protectionist stance, I really fear for the consequences.

Senator McCain on the other hand has consistently championed free trade. In the Primaries when every candidate went to Iowa, and all the other candidates said they would subsidise corn to make ethanol, John McCain said 'I won't do that, because I think its wrong'.

When in the Primaries everyone went to Michigan and all the other candidates said to the car workers of Detroit 'We'll give you your old jobs back', John McCain said: 'They can't do that, those jobs are gone, I'll try and get you new jobs, but those jobs are gone.'

He was brave and he was right and by championing free trade he could help save the world, including this country, from the worst consequences of what a global recession might turn into.

Just as he was right about free trade, John McCain was also right when it came to reacting to the Russian invasion of Georgia, he was very strong in his response, Barack Obama was very ambivalent.

Now the world's a very dangerous place and I think we need an American President who will stand up to people like Putin and people like Ahmadinejad of Iran. I'm confident that a President McCain would do that, I'm not sure a President Obama would.

Free trade and international security are really crucial issues for the world in which we live. That's why I think the election of John McCain would be a better outcome for the world on Tuesday.

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