Colin Powell criticizes fellow Republicans, backs Obama

October 19, 2008

WASHINGTON – Colin Powell, a retired U.S. Army general and former secretary of state in the Bush administration, criticized fellow Republicans on Sunday and endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

The Republican Party “has moved more to the right than I would like to see it,” Powell told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Powell described Obama as an inspirational figure and denounced some efforts by White House contender John McCain and other Republicans to defeat him.

powell.jpgHe ripped into McCain for trying to tie Obama to Bill Ayers, a one-time violent anti-Vietnam War activist who decades later served with Obama on a charity board.

“What they’re trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings,” Powell said. “This goes too far and I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow.”

Powell said he was also troubled that some members of the Republican Party — not McCain — have said, “‘Well you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.’”

“He is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian,” Powell said. “But the really right answer is ‘what if he is?’ Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no.”

Powell said Obama understands the issues and has reached out across across ethnic, racial and generational lines.

“He speaks authoritatively. He speaks with great insight into the challenges we’re facing of a military and political and economic nature,” Powell said. “He has both style and substance — he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president.”

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

Photo credit: Reuters/Alessia Pierdomenico (Colin Powell at an event on London on Oct. 14)

26 comments

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I find it very interesting how a strict conservative like Powell suddenly can ditch his values and endorse a extreme libral. This to me is like a La Raza endorsement. We hispanics use this when we explain “sticking strictly with the race”LaRaza”. I thought Powell was resentful and he has made an “about-face on his once verbal conservative views. Strange.
It is his right to choose who ever he wants. This is our great country. But if Obama was white and he had the same socialist views, I highly doubt that Powell would have endorsed him.Sad to say, but it’s the truth.

Posted by shelley | Report as abusive

As a native-born, Anglo saxon American I was particularly proud of Powell’s statement about Obama’s religious beliefs when he said: “Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America.” Sadly, it took someone of Colin Powell’s stature to state publicly what has always been clearly apparent, but politically unpopular. Hopefully, with Obama’s leadership, religious and ethnic polarization will become a thing of the past.

Posted by David Patton | Report as abusive

With Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama, John McCain is in DEEP political DOO-DOO.

And so is SILLY SARAH (Palin). OsiSpeaks.com

Obviouslt Powell is a thinking man more than a party man….He’s got the countrys best at heart. You cannot abandon a party who abandoned itself the last 8 years

For decades, I have admired & supported Colin Powell as an honest, conservative voice of reason & moderation, always fighting for DOD, military, and strong defense of America. I had hoped he would run for president & I have always supported him. Now, in my view, he very publicly deserts his party, turns his back on our military and this country’s critical national defense, and supports a mystery man of questionable background, values, associations, character & integrity. This to me truly approaches being a traitor to all he(and I) worked for, violating all the trust I have had for an entire career. I cannot reconcile he truly believes Obama will support the defense of this nation or maintain a strong miltary deployed well. Colin Powell, you have lost my trust & support, calling into question your own motives(vengeful?)in going public, with your political choice. Your vote should have been private. I cannot tell you how deeply disappointing this is to me and my whole family and long heritage of military officers. You disgrace our uniform & flag, right along with Obama, who will not be seen with…

The damage you just caused our US military is great!

Maj J F Fraher, USAF, ret.

lots of truth in what the honorable mr powell says

americans dont shame yourselves

by aligning yourselves with with such racist, bogoted and

sad individuals

Posted by vincenzo gonazlez | Report as abusive

I value Colin Powell’s judgement and it further seals the deal for me, that Obama can lead like I knew he could. Some will say that it was for racial reasons, some will claim he’s turning his back on his party, some will even say it’s for revenge, but I don’t see it that way. The Republican party has lost it’s way and McBush and his “PitBull” of a running mate are desecrating the brand even more so. Colin sees this, just like he saw how the real Bush was running his administration and decided to step down. So, until the party figures out who and what they stand for, they will continue to be lost. Sarah has yet to state her views on anything like the woman can’t think for herself. But I do know she makes a great attack dog; and McCain has stated some things of late, since he hadn’t being discussing the issues. At this point they seem desperate and now runnung all over the map to keep red states red and try to pick of a blue state to win. He should have been using Sarah a lot better in campaigning instead of keeping her close. Sarah bit of more than she can chew when she accepted the VP nomination and in her stump speeches I don’t hear her speak about the issues. Nothing but attacks and as an independant voter, that really turns me off. If your so ready and qualified, then talk about what you will do, it may be right, it may be wrong, but the point is you are trying to express ideas that can help America, instead of dividing America. This is a time to come together, because the crisis were facing doesn’t discriminate. I’m of christian faith and what McCain/Palin are doing is not right. If they keep this up, then they will lose come election day.

Posted by Trasa | Report as abusive

‘And so the gods send gifts to their favored mortal…’

Seems that the great are finally waking up to the reality of the situation. Thankfully we are being assured that America has not lost it. Thankfully.

This is the ambrosia you need to use wisely, Obama.

Posted by TheTruthIs... | Report as abusive

The man who insisted that there were weapons of mass destruction and convinced everyone in America (remember the majority of Americans wanted to go after the terrorists with weapons of mass destruction) now is trying to talk us into another big mistake.

Posted by pam | Report as abusive

Ignorance is not bliss. Why do Obama supporters insist on calling others racist because they do not have the same beliefs. I am not into big government. I am not into supporting the party that brought about this economic collapse. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank. You can take this thing all the way back to Jimmy Carter. You have taken racism back decades because of your ignorance. If you want to vote for the party that does not believe in racism and wants to solve the economic crisis. Vote McCain/Palin.

Posted by NotASupporter | Report as abusive

Some of the posters here appear to inhabit another galaxy where repetition and a failure to learn from past evidence rules.

Would it not be illogial, irrational, sheer folly, foolishness, and even crass stupidity, to vote the same party back into power after overseeing the greatest economic catastrophe since the the Wall Street Crash? :-(

Has not he good name of the USA been dragged through the excremental mud enough?

What does it take to make people see the light and turn away from the politics of death, penury and ignomy?

America is crying out for a change and a new start: are you to deny them this opportunity?

Posted by TheTruthIs... | Report as abusive

This election is not about the race, although some people would love to dwell on it.
This election is not about liberals or conservatives. The arch conservative GWB turned to partial nationalization of the banks in order to save the banking system.
This election is not about an ideology.
This election is about saving the country from the financial abyss that was caused by eight years of mismanagement. This election is about the Patriotism of the highest order when all ideological squabbles should put aside in order to restore the might and the greatness of the country that is disintegrating in front of our own eyes. By endorsing Obama C. Powel very eloquently expressed the thoughts and fillings of true American Patriots who believe in great and powerful country, the country that is not divided by racial or class lines, the country that is not divided into the red and blue states but the country that can proudly stand to its full name – UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

Posted by ira waxmann | Report as abusive

WHEN YOU VOTE REMEMBER 9/11 AND THE MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN WHO WERE KILLED. REMEMBER WHO DID IT AND WHO PLANNED IT AND WHEN THEY PLANNED IT. ALSO REMEMBER THAT UNDER BUSH, WE HAVE NOT BEEN ATTACKED SINCE 9/11 ON OUR SOIL.

Like Colin Powell said in his interview – that he STUDIED both candidates for 2 years is something as Americans we have a responsibility to do- Study the candidates and their policies and not be sheeple and follow the spin and rhetoric that has made this race the circus that it has become with all the lies and false claims and basic non- issues
I believe that over the last few weeks of this campaign the GOP has underestimated the intelligence of the American people bringing us to the level of Joe Six Packs and Joe the Plumbers and completely off the topic of what really matters
Obama/ Biden ’08

Posted by Cathy | Report as abusive

The most important of Colin Powell’s comments addressed the “tone” of the campaign – the very negative tone set by ads and robocalls rife with false accusations regarding terrorist connections, the implication that Obama may be Muslim, and the constant reminders that he is black – all of which is aimed at portraying his as “other.”

Of course, the Democrats’ biggest problem is, and will remain, Hillary “HE’S CHRISTIAN AS FAR AS I KNOW” Clinton. Hillary was the first to “go there.” Just a couple of months ago, SHE was just like John McCain – financially (and morally) bankrupt, losing badly, and desperate for a game changer – running a shamefully dirty campaign that was very much beneath her.

This is what happens in the final hours of a badly run campaign… mud slinging as the last resort. The catch, of course, is that it doesn’t hurt the candidates so much as it demoralizes the nation and turns off voters who are repulsed by gutter politics.

I’m sorry to say that although I respect both Clinton and McCain, neither offered to lift us up and unite us as a nation. They both engaged in dirty, divisive tactics which only served to bring out the very worst in their supporters AND opponents.

It didn’t work then and it won’t work now. America’s eyes have been opened. They finally “get it” and they want change!

Posted by Mia | Report as abusive

McCain could have picked any number of qualified candidates and he did not. He isn\’t ready to lead the country if he can\’t even pick a running mate that’s acceptable to the most intelligent members of his own party.

How is he going to make harder decisions if he can\’t even get that one right? The next President will have plenty of hard choices to make with the financial mess Bush and his deregulating buddies (like McCain) have gotten us into.

Most of you more intelligent conservatives (not actually an oxymoron as many of you liberals might believe) know perfectly well that Palin isn\’t qualified to run much of anything and McCain is old and has had cancer. How can you be so enthusiastic about putting the country in such a precarious position?

As for you less intelligent conservatives, well… I know you can\’t help yourselves. Please shut off the TV and read a book, even a book written by a conservative. You need to start somewhere.

Powell isn\’t the only prominent Republican to issue a no-confidence vote on Palin. David Brooks, George Will, Chuck Hagel, and Christopher Buckley are among the most intelligent conservatives in the country and they all think Palin isn\’t qualified. Keep this in mind: They might actually know more than those of you who think Palin is qualified. They read and write books trying to support the conservative cause.

Please think before you endanger our country by voting for McCain-Palin. It\’s not worth the gamble to put a quarter-wit in the Oval Office. We\’ve had a half-wit for the last 8 years and you can clearly see what that\’s gotten us. Please think before you vote.

Posted by DaveSEMass | Report as abusive

October 20th, 2008
9:08 am GMT
“WHEN YOU VOTE REMEMBER 9/11 AND THE MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN WHO WERE KILLED. REMEMBER WHO DID IT AND WHO PLANNED IT AND WHEN THEY PLANNED IT. ALSO REMEMBER THAT UNDER BUSH, WE HAVE NOT BEEN ATTACKED SINCE 9/11 ON OUR SOIL.”
Posted by GLR

I just needed to say well done to GLR for doing the terrorists work for them.

[TERRORISM]: “acts which are intended to create fear that perpetrated for an ideological goal”

Posted by MARK K | Report as abusive

I must say, the American Elections has given me a clear new insight into the USA as the “far right” or the evangelical conservative GOP.

If Christians are the backbone of the GOP, their tactics of plain hatred, racism and fear mongering astounds us out here in the real Free World.

If Christ were here to watch their self appointed righteous single-mindedness, I really wonder what he would say. I do not believe He said “to win at any cost, any lie, any hurt you can inflict on your opponent, after all, the ends do justify the means to an end.”

An end to what?

If I were to ponder at this time in my life whether to find a spiritual haven to rest my soul, the frothing hatred spewed from not only the media but from the pulpit, would have me turning away from any group that espouses peace and love and yet, hates their fellow (liberal or independent) man/woman and will burn them and their books because…… only they are right and are the only true patriotic heroes of the new HomeLand USA.

It was written in a Great Holy Book, to turn the other cheek, and for anyone without sin, to cast the first stone. I believe the GOP and far right Christians have re-written the book to read “Stone him first – then pray for his soul” – As long as you believe you are overturning laws that go against your faith, whatever actions you take are justified, in the Name of the Lord

Many people once believed Hitler to be the Lord, and did as he commanded.

And the world has never recovered from the new reality of Man.

Posted by Jean Raymond Bourget | Report as abusive

Before this, people said he was wrong to work for George Bush, and he was wrong to recommend the Iraqi war.

Is it possible he is wrong again with this endorsement?

Posted by Paul | Report as abusive

Is Powell just being overly critical about the Republican party. Have they moved too far to the right?

Here to answer that question is Minnesota Senator Michelle Bachmann
Senator Michelle Bachmann on Hardball
After viewing her interview, tell me if you think Colin Powell was just being overly sensitive

Posted by Norris Hall | Report as abusive

At one time I would have voted for Powell if he had run for president, but would not now.

Posted by Eddie Fowler | Report as abusive

I have been waiting for this breathe of fresh air. Thank
you Colin Powell, We needed that confirmation and to all of you who put your trust in Colin Powell, now trust OBama, we are like no other people in the world we will not hold you captive, we will not put on white sheets and come in the still of the night and bomb your children, we will love this nation that we have fought so hard to be apart of. This great nation. Barack Obama will help dispel some of the atrocities that the American people have dealt with. This is the beginning of the drafting in of the gentiles. We are Americans and we are tired of fighting about our color we are the Human Race and we will all be treated fairly with a president who speaks change and brings us all together as one. It has to be done or we will perish. If any of you Believen God you need to stop and pray and fast. God is in charge whether you believe it or not.

Posted by The one who has faith | Report as abusive

it concerns me that This United States Of America has not really moved forward. You say that since 9/11 we have had no terrorist attacks what was Antrax? are you simple blind to the fact that all that American money that Suddam had came from some source in America. What are you talking about what about Fla in 2004, was the vote ever correct. How can you support some one who has backed Bush 90% of the time, I can see a few errors but not that many and what makes you think that he has all of sudden changed. Put your thinking caps on. I really think some of you would put anybody in the white house as long as he is not Black. It’s not about Black or White it’s about the truth. All of you who keep writing all this negative stuff how do you sleep at night You should respect Obama because he is a Us Senator whether you vote for him or not. You should respect McCain too, both men have done great things in their lifetime. Mc Cain more than Obama, which is because of the Age difference. Come on you all play fair, this rot gut throat cutting, back stabbing is not good it has brought nations down may the best man Win. Vote for who you think will make the best President for this time. We are tired of the childlishness of you over the age of 18 voters. do what you have to do but shut up will you. Most of you don’t have a clue about McCain or OBama you have not studied either one of them and you have made your decision all on the color of their skins. Or some Superior hogwash, we all bleed red blood and your heart will work just as fine in McCain or Obama body. God is see through and so will you be if, if, if if, if you get to heaven. But remember he is watching you. And you will someday have to bow before him and don’t let it be said that you were not fair to either McCain or Obama. To all of you who profess to be Christian, don’t dig no ditches, if you do you better dig one for yourself.

Posted by The one who has faith | Report as abusive

B. Hussein Obama is not a christian as Colin Powell states. A Christian is a person who is born again, repents or changes his or her life for the better and lives everyday following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. In Ecclesiastes Chapter 12: 13-14 saya” Let uus here the conclusion of the whole matter: FEAR GOD and Obeythe commandments. For God will bring every work into judgement, with EVERY SECRET THING, whether it be good or whether it be evil. How can he be a christian if he is pro-abortion. It’s murder..plain and simple. Hussein Obama believes there is more than one way to get into heaven..Wrong. The only way is through His Son, Jesus Christ!! This world Christian is being used very loosely.
I doubt very much that Hussein Obama has even witnessed to anyone and bring them to the Lord Jesus Christ. So don’t go telling me that Hussein Obama is a Christian. It is an Insult to Christians like myself. But I do pray for him because that’s what christians are supposed to do. And I forgive him for what he stands for. I do not judge him because he will be judged in the end by the Great Judge. Fear God!!

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

Ok, so just because Obama has an ethnic middle eastern, middle name means he’s not a Christian? You are the kind of so called “Christians” that make the rest of us look stupid and ignorant. Funny thing about you so called Christians is that you care so much about an unborn fetus yet you have no problem turning a blind eye to ones that are born into poverty and the tens of thousands of lives lost in the needless Iraq invasion. After 8 years under one of the worst administrations in US history, I find it absolutely hysterical that you still deem Bush Christian-like.

Powell realizes that his party is sunk and did the only logical thing by jumping ship. The election will be a landslide for Obama and it will be fun watching the religious right crying into their bibles while their ship runs into the proverbial iceberg.

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive

Obama is no Christian. True Christians don’t hate white or black people. He sat in a white hating church for 20 years. He advocates abortion in every form no matter how gruesome. He calls himself a uniter and he is more devisive than anyone. He never answers his critics he only blame shifts and so do his serrogates. They call the conservative right bigotted and hateful, yet there has been 100 times more hate coming from the left. People like Sandra Bernhard talking about her black brothers gang raping Sarah Pahlin. Hollywood loves Senator Obama because he’s an actor too. We need to remember everyone is entitled to an opinion but with Obama and his followers only if you agree with him. They want to silence any and all opposition. That should scare the heck out of all of us.

As for Drew’s criticism of Christians, he doesn’t have a clue what real Christians do for the poor, naked, hungry, and sick. Over 40 million unborn fetus gone so far. They don’t need shoes, cars,books, school, doctors, lawyers, teachers. Who knows who they may have been or what they may have invented.

Posted by DG | Report as abusive