Election 2008

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Marco Ugarte/AP
Former U.S. secretary of state Colin
Powell

Powell Backs Obama for President

October 19, 2008 10:40 AM
by Emily Coakley
Retired general and former secretary of state Colin Powell has endorsed Democratic nominee Barack Obama for president.

Powell Calls Obama "a transformational figure"

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On NBC’s “Meet the Press” this morning, Colin Powell, a former secretary of state to President George W. Bush, announced he’s endorsing Sen. Barack Obama for president, Fox News reported.

Powell said, "I think he is a transformational figure, he is a new generation coming into, onto the world stage and the American stage, and for that reason I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama."

MSNBC describes Powell as “a retired Army general who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under the first President Bush before becoming secretary of state in the current administration, [he] is one of the most highly decorated military officers of modern times and an admired figure in both parties.”

Powell said he’s a Republican, and explained that he didn’t feel Gov. Sarah Palin, Sen. John McCain’s running mate, was ready for the White House. He also didn’t like the McCain campaign’s tone, including its linking Obama to former radical William Ayers.

"It troubled me. We have two wars. We have economic problems, we have health problems. ... Those are the problems the American people want to hear about, not about Mr. Ayers, not about who's a Muslim and not a Muslim. Those kind of images going out on Al Jazeera are killing us around the world," he said.
Mark Halperin, writing in Time magazine, called Powell’s endorsement significant in symbolic and tactical terms. Tactically speaking, “the indisputable benefit that Powell brings Obama is that the former Secretary of State and general is sure to block out any chance McCain has of winning the next two or three days of news coverage, as the media swoons over the implications of the choice.”

“Powell says he will not campaign actively for Obama, but he does not need to. His words on Sunday were more than enough,” Halperin wrote.
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