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Experience gives McCain the edge in D.C.

In betting terms, it’s called a push.

We have both things we like and don’t like about both presidential candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain, but find ourselves frightfully torn in making a final selection.

After careful diagnosis and analysis, our views in this race reflect those of most American voters in national response polls — we’re split nearly 50-50.

Obama’s lack of key executive leadership experience is somewhat daunting. The freshman senator just doesn’t have the “seat time” we feel is important in a role such as the country’s chief executive. The role of advisors is critical, and we fear Obama would have to rely too heavily on the political seasoning of others.

Obama backed policies that would have abandoned Iraq to its own devices and once insisted that U.S.-led forces invade Pakistan in search of Osama bin Laden — seemingly without regard for the potential consequences of attacking a nuclear-armed nation, ally or not. That instance doesn’t display the kind of forethought and “grand scheme of things” thinking we want to see from the leader of the free world.

Sen. John McCain’s ideas and worldview are stuck in the past. The world has changed around John McCain and will continue to change in the next four years. We’re not sure he can keep up and it doesn’t appear as though he has a strong and knowledgeable running mate to rely upon in the lean times.

McCain talks a lot about reform, but his vision is short. His answer to any economic question is to eliminate “pork” spending (about $18 billion in a $3-trillion budget), cut taxes and wait for the doom-and-gloom stock markets to awaken and solve the problem.

That’s a very hands-off approach to a very hands-on problem.

We are not in favor of Obama’s “robbing the rich to give to the poor” tax plan. His repolished liberalism would only push America down a more dangerous path — higher taxes on businesses, socialized medicine, redistribution of wealth and a general belief that more government is the solution to all the nation’s problems.

Nor are we in favor of McCain’s rabid tax cuts, which could drive the country into deeper economic despair. Less tax revenue amplifies an existing logjam and would cripple the working man, the very people these tax breaks are billed to help.

In making a choice for president we’re inclined to give Sen. John McCain our support, based solely on his political know-how and experience.

We feel confident that his service in Washington – more than a quarter-century – will translate well to the country’s highest office.

On domestic issues like energy, our economy and education, McCain offers a logical vision grounded in conservative principles.

His “maverick” persona doesn’t impress us.

We want our president to be a pragmatic, logical thinker, not some gun-slinging fanatical wildcard. However, McCain’s political service and track record is unparalleled in this election, and a little bit of a maverick – a very little bit – could be good for blurring party lines and getting something accomplished.

This newspaper endorses John McCain for President of the United States.