By Ori Lewis

TEL AVIV – The possibility that the United States will vote in a first black president next week is in no small part due to the opportunities President George W. Bush gave to blacks in senior government posts, boxing promoter Don King said on Monday.

King, an erstwhile larger-than-life personality and probably the world’s best known boxing promoter, is in Israel this week to participate in Israeli President Shimon Peres’s Center for Peace’s 10-year anniversary celebrations.

“We had 43 presidents in the United States, he was the 43rd president, 42 of them promised us everything and gave us nothing, both Democrats and Republicans,” King said in an interview with Reuters.

“(Bush formed) the most diverse cabinet of any president in the history of the United States. I know that they are condemning him now … but this man prepared us for a Barack Obama, for the ‘great change,’” King added, naming Bush Cabinet members Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Rod Paige and Alfonso Jackson as examples.

King said he believed that if Obama had been white “he would win by a landslide”.