Last updated: February 19. 2013 3:34PM - 479 Views

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DOW JONES Industrials closed at 11,100 – about 3,000 points off its October 2007 high of 14,164. Starbucks announced the closing of 600 coffee shops nationwide, General Motors was suspending dividends due to a decline in auto sales, and Lehman Brothers Investment Bank was preparing to tell the world it was broke. It was September 2008 and in that month alone 400,000 American jobs were lost.

In October '08 the Dow fell unimpeded to 9,000 and another 489,000 jobs disappeared. By Thanksgiving the stock market was in freefall. Plunging to 8,000 down a financial abyss with no bottom in sight, an additional 800,000 jobs were wiped out.

The United States lost 661,000 jobs that December, 818,000 in January '09 and another 724,000 went missing in February.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average – upon which millions of American 401(k)s depend – plummeted to 6,600 in March '09.

It was the deepest, darkest economic crisis most of us have ever seen. Boomers and their children had never experienced anything like it.

To stem the tide, a new president acted swiftly to build a stabilizing support beneath an economy already underwater and sinking fast.

President for less than a month, Barack Obama signed his American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (February 2009) and pushed through the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 to address the immoral and culpable abuses that brought about the crash and prevent them from ever happening again.

Obama stepped in to save the American auto industry and enacted the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) to ensure that working families never again will go without health insurance. He also found a way to reduce the cost of student loans.

President Obama appointed two superb justices, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, to the U.S. Supreme Court. Whoever is elected on Tuesday will likely make at least one appointment to the Supreme Court.

Obama's calm and steady leadership has served our nation well throughout the international community. Ending one war, winding down another and bringing our troops home, Obama has provided strong American leadership on the world stage.

His opponent, the former governor of Massachusetts, was amateurish, stumbling and bumbling when overseas visiting our allies this summer.

Mitt Romney hopes to repeal Obamacare and undo the president's new banking and financial reforms now on the books.

Romney would like to enact his running mate's draconian fiscal budget that, among other things, will slash the Federal Emergency Management Agency and end Medicare as we know it, substituting an inadequate voucher incapable of purchasing the necessary health insurance that seniors require.

Having told students and their families to shop around, Romney would reverse the president's new student loan legislation. And if given the chance, Romney would add a sixth very conservative justice to the U.S. Supreme Court, increasing their majority from 5-4 to an unprecedented 6-3.

Mr. Romney has spent eight years selling his positions and policies wholesale to the extreme right wing of his political party. This Clairol candidate is the quintessential ship without a rudder.

As we have seen, often on tape, Romney will say anything to acquire the title of Mr. President. When called to account, Romney denies and shape-shifts; he is a perfectly lubricated weather vane noted a former Republican governor of Utah.

Romney has shown himself to be a man without a compass, and he has no business occupying the Oval Office. Nor do I believe he will.

I expect President Obama to accumulate 303 electoral votes on Tuesday – more should he capture Florida's 29 and the 15 up for grabs in North Carolina.

Today the Dow stands at more than 13,000. The American auto industry is alive, Osama Bin Laden is dead, our economy has come about, and the president is leading us forward.

A special, decent man, President Barack Obama has earned a second term. This morning In the Arena enthusiastically endorses President Obama for re-election.

Kevin Blaum's column on government, life and politics appears every Sunday. Contact him at kblaum@timesleader.com.

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