>McCain comes out on top in Cambodia

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McCain (L) is a personal friend of the Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy (R) and his wife, Tioulong Samaura (middle). He has autographed on this photo with the message: “To Tioulong Samaura – with warm regards and highest admiration.”

Written by Kay Kimsong
Monday, 03 November 2008
Phnom Penh Post

SENATOR Barack Obama maybe ahead in American polls, but many Cambodians say they want to see John McCain in the White House, citing his experience in Southeast Asia. However, some Cambodians remain unsure of who would be the best president to weather the global financial crisis.

Among those interviewed, Chea Peng Chheang, a secretary of state in the Ministry of Economy and Finance, is typical of Cambodian McCain supporters, believing the Arizona senator’s experience as a naval aviator during the Vietnam War gave him valuable insight into the region.

“He’s highly experienced in Asia and understands Cambodia. McCain was a fighter in the Vietnam War,” he said.

“I see McCain as a highly experienced doctor who needs to cure a global disease, and Obama is just a young doctor at this stage,” he added.

Theary Seng, director of the Center for Social Development, agreed, saying, “As a Khmer citizen, I like John McCain. He has a deep understanding of Asia from his experiences both in Southeast Asia and as chairman of IRI [the International Republican Institute].”

Kaing Monika, the external affairs manager for the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia, suggested a Democratic candidate would likely have a more pro-trade policy, but was uncertain whether either president could rescue the world from a global recession.

“When Bill Clinton was president, we were quota free and the garment sector from [Less Developing Countries] were promoted. But I don’t know … if McCain or Obama can end a big world crisis,” he said.

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