Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday he'd be casting his vote for Barack Obama come election day.
Monday, October 20, 2008
The endorsement from the secretary of state who served under George W. Bush for five years, crosses party lines and has been highly anticipated.
The Republican general, who is more moderate than many in his party, said he would wait until after the presidential debates and go into the final weeks of the campaign to make his endorsement.
"Both of [the candidates] are distinguished Americans, who are patriotic and dedicated to the welfare of this country." Powell said on Meet the Press. "Either one of them would be a good president."
Powell has spent time with both candidates, but has been particularly engaging in conversations with Obama on foreign policy and domestic issues in recent months.
Leading up to his endorsement of the Democratic senator, Powell cited concern for his own party.
"I have some concerns about the direction that the party has taken in recent years," he said. " It has moved more to the right than I would like to see it."
Beyond the dismay he feels about the Republican Party, Powell said he believes Obama is ready for the job and displays a fervor requisite of the next president who will need "to fix the reputation that we've left with the rest of the world."
"I watched Mr. Obama, during this seven week period," Powell said. "He displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge, and an approach to looking at problems like [the economic crisis] and picking a vice president that is ready to be president on day one.
Powell praised Obama for exhibiting "intellectual vigor," and giving "us a more inclusive, broader reach into the needs and aspirations of our people."
"He is crossing lines: ethnic lines, racial lines, generational lines," Powell said of the candidate, while denouncing the Republican Party's "narrow" campaign tactics.
The endorsement from Powell is a a major success for the Democratic Party as the general is the most prominent Republican to throw his support behind Obama.
McCain said the Powell's endorsement "doesn't come as a surprise," and also noting he has the support of four other former Republican secretaries of state: Kissinger, Baker, Eagleburger and Haig.
"I think he is a transformational figure, he is a new generation coming onto the world stage, onto the American stage," Powell said in closing. "And for that reason, I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama."