Colin Powell Endorses Barack Obama

On Meet the Press this morning, former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for President.

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., for president on Sunday, criticizing his own Republican Party for what he called its narrow focus on irrelevant personal attacks over a serious approach to challenges he called unprecedented.

Powell, who for many years was considered the most likely candidate to become the first African-American president, said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he was not supporting Obama because of his race. He said he had watched both Obama and his Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, for many months and thought “either one of them would be a good president.”

But he said McCain’s choices in the last few weeks — especially his selection of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his vice presidential running mate — had raised questions in his mind about McCain’s judgment.

Powell’s been telegraphing this for months, so it’s not a 100% surprise. However, as Marc Ambinder points out, this hurts McCain and helps Obama–in that order–in the sense that this endorsement will likely dominate the next 36 hours of news coverage. This close to the election, every day counts for McCain.

Update:

Here’s the video:

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, , ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. just me says:

    I don’t believe him on Palin, I think she was a good cover.

    I do think race probably plays a strong role, but he can’t say that, and I think the real reason is at least from my perspective he left the GOP as a party when he resigned as Secretary of State. I think Powell would be endorsing pretty much whatever democrat they put forth this go around-that or not saying anything at all.

  2. Bithead says:

    Don’t think for a moment that the timing on this wasn’t chosen by the Obama people. Obama’s been slipping in the polls. He’s in trouble and knows it. This ‘endorsement’ was in direct response to that.

  3. Triumph says:

    This is a boom for McCain.

    It feeds two narratives central to his campaign.

    First, since Powell carried Chalabi’s water in parroting his pre-invasion lies about WMDs in Iraq and Chalabi was later accused by the US military for being an Iranian spy, it is clear that Powell is close to enemies of America. In fact, Powell’s capitulation to Iran-lovers is worse than anything Bill Ayers has done. McCain needs to show Hussein’s new supporter is an ally of the evildoers.

    Secondly, McCain’s main strategy now is to trump up racist fears about the colored folk running the country. Powell’s support of Obama fits right into that narrative. McCain needs to show that the Powell/Obama axis will be the realization of the dreaded rule of the mulatto/rapist Silas Lynch as depicted in DW Griffith’s Birth of a Nation.

  4. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Ofcourse Powell endorced Obama. He’s black. Race trumps reason.

  5. anjin-san says:

    Obama’s been slipping in the polls. He’s in trouble and knows it.

    I guess when your back is against the wall, you grasp at any available straw.

    But even bitsy knows that the national polling is completely irrelevant. Gore kinda learned about popular vote the hard way. The electoral college is what decides the Presidency. If there is significant movement in those projections in the next week, well that might make things interesting.

    Ohio & Florida are going to be tight down to the wire, but Obama can lose both and win (by a comfortable margin).

    The fact that American’s contributed $150 million to Obama last month, and that 175,000 people showed up to see Obama in Missouri (Missouri!) in a single day shows just how desperate Americans are to put an end to Bush’s policies and McCain’s desire to extend them another four years.

    Contrast Obama’s stunning rally turnout yesterday to people heading for the exits at McCain/Palin rallies when Palin is done speaking an McCain takes the stage.

  6. Derrick says:

    Ofcourse Powell endorced Obama. He’s black. Race trumps reason.

    Always goes back to race for those who always like to project their own issues about race.

  7. Yeah, that radical racialist Powell always just supporting any black candidate that comes along. He endorsed Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton too… oh wait…

  8. anjin-san says:

    Ofcourse Powell endorced Obama. He’s black. Race trumps reason

    .

    Of course some of McCain’s followers will be saying things like this. racism (and desperation) trumps reason.

  9. Eric says:

    Don’t think for a moment that the timing on this wasn’t chosen by the Obama people. Obama’s been slipping in the polls. He’s in trouble and knows it. This ‘endorsement’ was in direct response to that.

    Right… and that eloquent explanation Powell gave in his press conference and on MTP, namely, that the Obama has proved to him (Powell) that he has the leadership skills, and that the Republican party as a whole has gone in the wrong direction, and that McCain has crossed the line with his scurrilous robocalls and ads, that was just boilerplate PR fed to him by Obama’s flacks, huh? And I suppose the $150 million he raised in September is proof of a liberal conspiracy to fool Americans?

    Ofcourse Powell endorced Obama. He’s black. Race trumps reason

    Zelsdorf, you are truly detestable. So the only way to for a black man to “prove” he isn’t making a choice based on race is to vote for a white guy, huh? I await your abundant evidence demonstrating, even circumstantially, that Powell based his decision on race. I mean, surely by your comment you must have proof or know something about Powell that no one else knows. The only other explanation is that you are a bigot. The ball is in your court, buddy boy. Prove me wrong.

    Man, the more reality intrudes into your small worlds, Bitsy and Zelsdorf, the more you two readily embrace the delusional.

  10. Christopher says:

    Ha ha! A Bush Republican endorses Obama and libs get tingles up their legs!

  11. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    OK you farging idiots who made typical lying statements about my feelings on race. Powell opposes affirmative action, opposes everything Obama stood for, before his political move to the center. Powell made the debatable statement he felt Obama had presented the steadier image. Was he paying any attention? First Obama said he could no more reject his mentor, Wright than he could his racist white Grandmother. Then he abandoned him. He PROMISED he would take public financing. Backed out of that. If thats Powells idea of steady???? Howard Stern asked some black voters questions about Obama and why they were voting for him. The questions included what they thought of his running mate Sarah Palin. You cork soaking iceholes don’t think blacks and foolish others are voting FOR Obama solely because of his skin color and not his politics you are out of your farging minds. Eric, you can suck my you know what.

  12. Derrick says:

    Ah, the ravings of a bigoted lunatic are always a healthy addition to any reasoned debate.

    I think that the question that you should ask yourself, Zelsdorf, is why you think Obama being black is the ONLY reason someone might vote for him. Maybe its the ONLY reason you might vote against him. I mean its not as if Obama offers a tax policy, an environmental policy, a foreign policy, temperament and a health care policy that some might think would be better than the alternative. No, its ALL because he’s got dark skin in your race-based world.

  13. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    One more thing. Obama has one very important thing that McCain has not. That is a drug dealing friend and ex roommate. Why is it the news media has time to investigate Joe the Plumber who made the mistake of asking Obama a REAL questions but cannot seem to find the time to look into Obama’s poor half brother in Kenya or what is drug dealing exroommate is up to now. How about a question like when did you stop using coke Barack? Or have you?

  14. Patrick T McGuire says:

    Colin Powell who?

  15. sam says:

    Now, now, Eric, see what you’ve done. You have to watch your language when you address Zelsdorf–his vocabulary is limited, and I’m sure that when you said he was “detestable”, he thought you meant he has no balls. But boy did he show you.

  16. Eric says:

    Yeah, Zelsdorf, about all those things you mentioned… those are nonissues to normal people. I mean, seriously, are you seriously suggesting that those issues are decisive for you? What about the economy? The Iraq War? Are those issues nothing in the face of Obama the issues you cite. Please. Besides, McCain has flipped on just about every position in order to try to win the Presidency, yet I don’t here you declaiming against him.

    Why don’t we put more emphasis on what Powell said today in his press conference and on MTP. Why should we doubt his words? I mean, normal people could find a reason to doubt him because of his performance in the UN in selling the “evidence” for invading Iraq. Now, that would give me doubt. (But of course Powell was your hero then, and I’m guessing you probably don’t want talk about his UN performance, do you?)

    But you didn’t do that, Zelsy. You just automatically assumed that, well, Powell must be supporting Obama because they are both African-American. That’s the tell, Zelsdorf, that shows us all what a bigot you are.

    But boy did he show you.

    Yeah, he sure did show me… and confirmed everything I said. LOL!!

  17. Pug says:

    Ragshaft is quite an amusing fellow.

    Those rants come directly from the Bob Grant school of political discussion. I’m surprised you left out the one about the flag with the big O on it that proved Obama is a Nazi-like fascist. Well . . . until it turned out to be the Ohio state flag.

    He did get the poor half-brother in Kenya in there, though. That was a nice touch I thought. The drug dealing roommate is a new one on me. I guess I need to start watching Sean Hannity specials and listen to more raving on the radio.

  18. Jim Bullis says:

    Before Palin was governor, Alaskan residents paid no state taxes and each person was getting a check for $2000 per year. She imposed sales taxes on Wasilla to pay for a sports complex. Very popular! Then, as governor, she “took on big oil” so each Alaskan person now gets another $1200 per year. Why would that be popular? She is a maverick like Robin Hood! Wow! What a leader!

    But wait a minute. This sounds like Cesar Chavez of Venezuela. If you have been listening to Bush, Chavez made himself into an enemy of the USA by the same actions against “big oil” in his country as Palin’s actions against “big oil” of Alaska.

    It seems like McCain got mixed up about Palin as a conservative. This is not a political stance; rather it looks like she is good at seeing an opportunity to be popular.

  19. Anderson says:

    Somehow, I knew I could count on Zelsdorf.

    He must be from the *real*, pro-America America.

    (Or a much better troll than Triumph.)

  20. Eric says:

    Anderson, Triumph isn’t a troll. You mistake his sarcasm for seriousness.

  21. Floyd says:

    ZR3 is right, Powell said so himself on national TV today, covered repeatedly.

  22. Wayne says:

    I’m not sure if this will help or hurt Obama. Many will perceive Powell endorsement as being base on race. This could reinforce the perception that in regard to Obama it is all about his race and not about his qualifications. Possibly resulting in a backlash against the MSM and OBama.

  23. James M. says:

    What baffles me is you believe either one of these jerks! I mean I have watched all of the debates, looked at the polls, and watched various rallies and I have to say neither one of these guys are going to doing anything close you what you are looking for. All I see is the usually politics. I really wish the parties would choose viable candidates. I mean really is this all they have to offer? I see John McCain carrying on the usual Bush agenda and Obama promoting “Redistribution of Wealth” as the non-socialist form of redistribution of wealth. Either way I see our outlook very poor. Please stop being the partisan sheeple that you have become we real deserve better and you know it!

  24. Fence says:

    Didn’t you guys listen to McCain in the first debate? It is naive to engage in direct discussion with Ahmadinejad because it just gives his crazy ass the credibility and attention he craves. So too with Zelsdorf.

  25. Fence says:

    A Bush Republican endorses Obama

    That would be George HW Bush. There are a lot of HW supporters voting for Obama, not just Powell and me.

  26. Fence says:

    Triumph isn’t a troll. You mistake his sarcasm for seriousness.

    Really?

  27. Bithead says:

    Don’t think for a moment that the timing on this wasn’t chosen by the Obama people. Obama’s been slipping in the polls. He’s in trouble and knows it. This ‘endorsement’ was in direct response to that.

    Right… and that eloquent explanation Powell gave in his press conference and on MTP, namely, that the Obama has proved to him (Powell) that he has the leadership skills, and that the Republican party as a whole has gone in the wrong direction, and that McCain has crossed the line with his scurrilous robocalls and ads, that was just boilerplate PR fed to him by Obama’s flacks, huh? And I suppose the $150 million he raised in September is proof of a liberal conspiracy to fool Americans?

    Almost amusing… until we recall that this is the same Powell who the Democrats were screaming about having sold out, not so long ago, about how Powell lied men died, etc. Funny how now all that’s forgotten, his credibility issues are not even subject fit for conversation, now that he’s signed on to mouth platitudes in favor of the Chosen One.

  28. Anderson says:

    Eric, by “troll” I meant that Triumph pretends to be a mouth-breathing wingnut from time to time.

    I find it comforting to imagine that Zelsdorf is just an act.

  29. anjin-san says:

    Democrats were screaming about having sold out, not so long ago, about how Powell lied men died, etc

    Can you show even a single instance of someone other than a complete bottom feeder saying that?

  30. anjin-san says:

    ps…. i am referring to “powell lied, men died”

  31. Wingman says:

    Hey Powell… Thanks for stabbing all us military members in the back! I guess you’ve already forgotten those who have sacrificed so much for this country, that you, would endorse someone who has NO credentials or experience to protect this country.

  32. Zahid says:

    If you could compare comments on this video to the comments on NY Times story on this you could see the difference.

    http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/19/more-on-the-soldier-kareem-r-khan/#comment-495781

    When you are blinded by any ideology you just become a fundamentalist. Regardless of Religion, Race or Nationality.

    Education play a key role in your level of awareness; that’s why no wonder whole northeast is Democratic.

  33. rodney dill says:

    Proof that racism is a factor in this election

  34. Bithead says:

    Can you show even a single instance of someone other than a complete bottom feeder saying that?

    So, let’s see if I understand the rules, here… Anyone.. and I mean anyone… that I offer up will be labeled a ‘bottom feeder’ by you? Clever, Anjin. Except, I’m not playing your game.

  35. markm says:

    Ofcourse Powell endorced Obama. He’s black. Race trumps reason.

    Always goes back to race for those who always like to project their own issues about race.

    Proof that racism is a factor in this election

    Gosh dang…member the good ole’ days?
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2004/4/12/183155/559
    and http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6530925/

    And “house negro” sticks in my mind…hmmmmmm.

  36. Eric says:

    Almost amusing… until we recall that this is the same Powell who the Democrats were screaming about having sold out, not so long ago, about how Powell lied men died, etc. Funny how now all that’s forgotten, his credibility issues are not even subject fit for conversation, now that he’s signed on to mouth platitudes in favor of the Chosen One.

    Perhaps you didn’t notice that I addressed this in my previous post above, and is really besides the point. Powell’s credibility might be in question, it is true, but not because he’s African-American. But Zelsdorf and the rest of his ilk just assumed that to be the case (i.e., race) without providing any evidence whatsoever.

    Eric, by “troll” I meant that Triumph pretends to be a mouth-breathing wingnut from time to time.

    I find it comforting to imagine that Zelsdorf is just an act.

    Sorry. Just wanted to make sure Triumph isn’t misunderstood. Sadly, Zelsdorf isn’t an act–he really is a bats**t crazy conservative reactionary.

  37. Bithead says:

    Can you show even a single instance of someone other than a complete bottom feeder saying that?

    So, any quote and link I offer… anything at all… is now labeled a bottom feeder? Sorry, Anjin, but I think I’ll pass. Though, I see MarkM left a couple links for you.

  38. anjin-san says:

    So, any quote and link I offer… anything at all… is now labeled a bottom feeder? Sorry, Anjin, but I think I’ll pass.

    Well Bitsy, you would have to do better than the Kos diarist mark offered up. BFD. That carries about as much weight as hearing something around the water cooler at work.

    If you really wanted to support your position you could offer up a smoking gun from a Democrat that anyone gives a rat’s ass about, but we both know that is not going to happen, now don’t we?

    There are lots of people who say ignorant, deranged and disgusting things on blogs. You for example. But hey, you can take the time you saved providing a legit example, and go to Michelle Malken’s blog to find out what you think.

  39. markm says:

    Well Bitsy, you would have to do better than the Kos diarist mark offered up. BFD. That carries about as much weight as hearing something around the water cooler at work.

    Dunno anjin, if it’s said at the water cooler, heard by all and not denounced (even if the water cooler is at Kos) doesn’t that show there is some semblance of agreement of those in the room?.

    And for what it’s worth, Day-O Belofante was the spouter of the “house negro” quip. Al Sharpton also leveled the “house negro” bit. Now, maybe Belofante, who is somewhat of a political community organizer himself, and Sharpton are just “bottom feeders” but they said it and I don’t recall the libs lining up to denounce what was said. What wasn’t said at the time goes a long way in saying something.