Skin color is no reason to vote for anybody, Nick Kristof writes in the New York Times, but there's no denying that electing a black president would give America's image abroad a much-needed boost—"redefining the American 'brand' to be less about Guantánamo and more about equality." Almost half of people abroad polled by the BBC said a President Obama would "fundamentally change their view of the US."
In nations where the image of a racist US holds sway, people find the concept of a black president so astonishing they may well drop their pre-conceived anti-American notions. "If this election goes as the polls suggest, we may find a path to restore America’s global influence—and thus to achieve some of our international objectives," Kristof writes, "in part because the world is concluding that Americans can, after all, see beyond a person’s epidermis." (Read more Obama 2008 stories.)