This issue is as traditional as red, white and blue. We call it The Choice--and for us, it's our last chance to evenhandedly lay out the issues for you before you head into the voting booth on Nov. 4. I think of this as a public service for all of our readers and everyone who will vote. It makes sense because our readers are perfectly representative of the country as a whole: they are Republican and Democratic and independent; they live in red states and blue ones and purple ones. Some of you have made up your minds; some of you haven't. I feel strongly about our role because these days the media are the vessel for so much information--both reliable and otherwise--that people use to vote. In fact, that's our role in our democracy. "Whenever the people are well informed," wrote Thomas Jefferson, "they can be trusted with their own government." Our job is to keep you as well informed as possible.
To that end, this issue features David Von Drehle's smart opening piece about how John McCain or Barack Obama would probably govern and a four-page spread of where the candidates stand on the issues--ably edited by Massimo Calabresi, along with actual responses from Obama and McCain. Adding to the mix are Karen Tumulty's story on the Joe Biden campaign, Jim Poniewozik on how the media have covered the candidates, John Cloud on the secretive group that is reshaping gay politics, reports by Andrew Lee Butters and Aryn Baker on Iraq and Afghanistan, and reflections on Campaign 2008 from a range of voices, from Garry Wills to Bill O'Reilly. I promise you that if you read all of that, you will be abundantly well informed.
Speaking of tradition, recently, our president and worldwide publisher, Ed McCarrick, announced his retirement after 35 years at Time Inc. I cannot write those words without hearing Ed's wonderful baritone intoning, "I've had the great, good fortune of working here for 35 years." Well, I've had the great, good fortune of working with Ed for the past 2 1/2 years, and TIME has had the great, good fortune of having Ed's drive and enthusiasm and deep loyalty for 25 of those 35 years. Ed was also fond of saying "I bleed TIME red," and he does. I know of no one who believes in our mission as devoutly and who has served it as ably. In just the past six years, Ed has been instrumental in changing our publication date to Friday, in igniting TIME International's explosive growth, in developing TIME.com into a must-read destination and in launching Time's Style & Design luxury supplement. More than all of that, Ed was a vocal champion of the great journalism that we do every week in the magazine and every day on TIME.com We will miss his good humor and fierce loyalty, but his impact will live on in what we do every day. I know of no greater legacy than that.
Richard Stengel, MANAGING EDITOR