“As I travel around, I have never seen a president and a vice president more disliked in more places than George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. The Bush-Cheney team, by its own hand, has undermined its ability to talk about American principles in a way that foreigners will take seriously. They have moral clarity and no moral authority. Foreigners just have to say ‘Abu Ghraib’ or ‘Guant√É∆í√Ǭ°namo’ and that ends the discussion. It also lets the foreigners off the hook.

“I think Barack Obama has the potential to force a new discussion. For now at least, he has a certain moral authority because of his life story, which makes him harder to dismiss. And while he is a good talker, he strikes me as an even better listener. [And] it seems to me that the strongest case one could make for an Obama presidency right now is rarely articulated: it is his potential to repair the broken relationship between America and the world.

“I believe that what has propelled Obama’s candidacy up to now — more than anything — is that many Americans have projected onto him their hunger for community, their hunger for a president with the voice, instincts and moral authority to make it so much harder for foreigners to be anti-American or for Americans to be anti-one-another.” — N.Y. Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman in today’s [4.18] edition.