From Tom Shaw, Chief Executive Officer of Shaw Newspapers Dixon, Ill. The United States has seen a great many things in these past 232 years. Few rival the challenges our country faces today. The economy is suffering. Every day, we hold our breath and watch wild fluctuations in our markets. Families are losing their homes and, worse, their hope. We are at war and face myriad uncertainties of how our actions abroad should be conducted. A poll conducted in mid-October indicated only 7 percent of Americans had confidence that our nation’s leaders have this nation headed in the right direction. On Nov. 4, each of us will be presented an opportunity to ensure our nation’s future and to restore faith in our leadership. To accomplish that end, Shaw Newspapers endorses the ticket of Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. In these times, our nation demands a proven leader. McCain has the necessary experience to lead us now. He has been forthright and has challenged his own party on many issues. He is out front. During his 26 years in the Senate, he has displayed a high degree of integrity. This experience offers us a clear sense of how McCain will function and perform as president. McCain has dedicated his life to serving our country, both in the military and in Congress. He is a war hero who has faced unimaginable hardship, meeting them with a mental strength that is incalculable. Few have displayed greater courage or fortitude. Our country faces a great number of challenges around the globe. Too many of our enemies are not open to negotiation. McCain’s strength in the world arena is unflagging. As a legislator, McCain has proved that he is willing to work on both sides of the aisle in Congress. Throughout his service in the U.S. Senate, he has stood up for what he believed in — even if that meant breaking ranks with fellow Republicans. At a time when we need to do what is right and need a leader who does what is right, McCain has proved time and again that he has the conviction to be an independent thinker who is willing to stand alone to defend his beliefs. If our country continues down its current path, we stand to lose a number of our freedoms. McCain’s hard-line approach in the real world is more practical and better for America. Sarah Palin’s strong conservative beliefs offer a balance to McCain’s moderate social philosophies. Together, they would provide a leadership team willing to cooperate, though unwilling to compromise their personal beliefs. We know that Illinois Sen. Barack Obama has inspired interest in the election over the past several months. Obama has shown himself to be an intelligent and charismatic campaigner whose career ascent has been phenomenal. However, we believe that his plans for America lack substance. The naivet/ he has displayed when discussing matters of foreign policy and national security are of significant concern to us. Past elections haven’t always presented us good choices. In this election, each candidate offers qualities that will appeal to Americans. This campaign has been good for the nation and inspirational here and abroad. However, when hype and party affiliation are set aside, only one candidate is fit to lead our nation. That candidate is John McCain.