Four years ago, President Barack Obama took office as the economy was in steep decline with millions in the process of losing their jobs, the nation was locked in seemingly endless military conflicts, Wall Street firms were getting bailed out but not held accountable and a growing number of Americans were unable to afford health insurance. Today, the economy is growing, albeit modestly, the U.S. military has largely withdrawn from Iraq and will do so in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden is dead, the federal government has begun more closely regulating the kind of large banks and finance companies that contributed to the mortgage crisis and health care reform is gradually making sure working Americans can get affordable insurance for themselves and their families -- including those with pre-existing conditions. For those notable successes alone, we would endorse Mr. Obama for a second term. But the incumbent also compares favorably to his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, who has so often altered, obfuscated or outright lied about his positions from his math-defying plan to cut taxes and reduce the deficit to his recent false claims that Jeep is moving jobs from Ohio to China. An Obama second term offers the best opportunity for Washington to find room for compromise and devise a long-term plan for reducing the deficit that fosters economic growth, relies on shared sacrifice, but would not devastate the nation's environment, public health or safety.
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