The paper readily admits Obama's shortcomings. In short:
Given Mr Obama’s inexperience, the lack of clarity about some of his beliefs and the prospect of a stridently Democratic Congress, voting for him is a risk. Yet it is one America should take, given the steep road ahead.
Why? Well, at the end of the endorsement, they finally get around to answering that...kind of:
In terms of painting a brighter future for America and the world, Mr Obama has produced the more compelling and detailed portrait. He has campaigned with more style, intelligence and discipline than his opponent.
In short: We shouldn't worry about his ambiguous beliefs, his microscopic resume, or the hypothetical nature of his backbone in the face of a Democratic Congress because...
...he campaigns pretty.
Certainly, it matters how well Obama came through the presidential campaign. It's a trial by fire, the most rigorous of its kind (even without the media doing its job) and that's how it should be--a test of the candidate's mettle, his fitness on a personal level to be President. It's an essential benchmark to be cleared.
But it's just the bare minimum. It's expected. It's a qualifier that should be used only to disqualify a candidate who fails to meet it. It is not a reason, in and of itself, to vote for one candidate over another.
But that's precisely what The Economist advises.
In the most important presidential election in recent memory, their recommendation to the American people is a blind leap of faith.