In recent months, I've been asked many times which candidate I support in the Democratic Primary, and each time my answer's been the same: I'll support the candidate who can best inspire all of us, who can lift our vision, summon our hopes and dreams to meet the great challenges of our time, and make us all believe again that America's best days are still to come.

In recent months, I've been asked many times which candidate I support in the Democratic Primary, and each time my answer's been the same: I'll support the candidate who can best inspire all of us, who can lift our vision, summon our hopes and dreams to meet the great challenges of our time, and make us all believe again that America's best days are still to come.


I respect each of our Democratic candidates this year, but as I weigh the pressing demands our country faces at this unique moment in history, I believe Barack Obama is the candidate best prepared to lead our nation.


In our Democratic Primary this Tuesday, the voters of Massachusetts - home to the "shot heard 'round the world" - can again make history by voting for Barack Obama.


Like many in our Commonwealth, I was moved four years ago by his speech here in Boston at the Democratic Convention, when he urged us all to see our country not as red states and blue states, but as one United States. Since that time, I have marveled at his grit and grace as he travels our country and inspires record turnouts of people of all ages, races, genders, parties and faiths. For the first time in generations, we are galvanizing young people to participate in our democracy and have a stake in our shared future.


I'm also deeply impressed by his courageous and thoughtful stand against the Iraq War from the beginning, when too few of us were urging opposition to that tragic and misguided war.


I've come to know Barack in the Senate as well, and I've seen his extraordinary leadership first hand. On issues from education to immigration to ethics, he has demonstrated the ability to reach consensus while staying true to his principles. He has fashioned and passed legislation to put high quality teachers in our classrooms, and he succeeded in persuading the Senate to pass the most far-reaching ethics reform in our history.


Time and time again, I've watched him bring people of differing views together to address the challenges that require real and - sometimes unpopular - solutions. Throughout his presidential campaign, Barack has risen above the old politics that divides us into separate groups, and pits us against each other.


To those who suggest his youth is a factor, I respond that experience cannot be measured by years of service alone.


I remember another time, when another young candidate for president challenged America to seek a New Frontier.


He was criticized by the preceding Democratic president, who was still widely respected in our party. Harry Truman said we needed "someone with greater experience," and added: "May I urge you to be patient."


John Kennedy replied: "The world is changing. The old ways will not do... It is time for a new generation of leadership."


When he became president, my brother inspired the nation, especially the young, to reach for that New Frontier. Those young people marched, sat in at lunch counters, protested the war in Vietnam, and served honorably in that war even when they opposed it.


They realized that when they asked what they could do for their country, they could change the world.


I sense the same kind of yearning today, the same kind of hunger to move on and move America forward. And in Barack Obama, I see not just the audacity of hope, but the very real possibility of hope for the America we can achieve together.


With Barack Obama, we can come together and finally break the gridlock and make health care what it should be in America - a fundamental right for all, not just an expensive privilege for the few. We will make the United States the great leader and not the great roadblock in the fateful fight against global warming.


And we will end a war in Iraq that has cost us the lives of thousands of our sons and daughters, and that America never should have fought.


I know that Barack Obama's ready to be president on Day One. When he raises his hand on Inauguration Day, at that very moment, he will lift the spirit of our nation and begin to restore America's standing in the world.


It is time again for new generation of leadership.


It is time now for Barack Obama.


Edward M. Kennedy is senior senator from Massachusetts.