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Powell Does Not Rule out Supporting Obama

By Glenn Kessler
Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, who served in President Bush's first term, suggested yesterday he may vote for presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama, according to a report in Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper.

The newspaper, covering a speech Powell gave in Vancouver, reported that Powell -- who was also Ronald Reagan's national security adviser -- said he was not ruling out a vote for Obama and he would not automatically support Sen. John McCain.

"I will vote for the individual I think that brings the best set of tools to the problems of 21st-century America and the 21st-century world regardless of party, regardless of anything else other than the most qualified candidate," Powell said at a news conference before delivering the speech, the newspaper reported. "Both of them certainly have the qualifications to be the president of the United States, but both of them cannot be."

Asked whether he thought it was a difficult choice, he said: "I think so. Yes."

Powell noted that although both he and Mr. Obama are black he would not cast a vote for the Illinois senator on the basis of race

Powell in 1996 considered running for president as a Republican. But his tenure as Bush's Secretary of State was troubled as he found himself often on the losing side of arguments with more conservative members of the administration, such as Vice president Cheney. He also made it clear his fury at being asked to present intelligence on Iraq to the United Nations that turned out to be wrong.

By Web Politics Editor  |  June 13, 2008; 12:10 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama  
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I do not know if I agree with you Edward, suggesting Powell is "damaged goods". If he was clearly misled and has no worries about having anything proven otherwise, I believe he could genuinely help Obama. He was the only member of the group of villainous liars that led us to war I had any sort of sympathy for.

Unfortunately his performance at the UN was pretty scary. I had the impression the man was either totally manipulated, blackmailed or just another "member of the gang".

His departure from the scene is his potential salvation.

But if you are right, and he could hurt Obama more than help, maybe he knows that well too and will desist from voting for either candidate? Can he do that?

I find it much more politically discomforting Obama may have to consider placing H. Clinton in the ballot. Her shennanigans and disgusting underhandedness the last few months have driven away many people who previously supported the idea.

Had she remained aloof of the nastiness and accepted the possibility of Obama being elected she would today be a potential asset in the Democratic bid for the presidency. I do not put it past her to pull all the strings necessary to oblige Obama to have her on the ticket as VP. I, for one and one among many would be extremely disappointed to see that happen.

Regarding her possibly being appointed to the Supreme Court is another matter. She would just be another shyster among others, so what difference would it make?

Posted by: Ronn | June 16, 2008 2:52 AM | Report abuse

An endorsement for Obama by General Powell will not be beneficial to Obama.

Powell sacrificed principles and the truth on the altar of political expediency to satisfy Bush and Cheney.

He is damaged goods.

Posted by: Edward | June 16, 2008 1:10 AM | Report abuse

One has to symathise with Mr. Powell who was forced by Bush and Cheny to LIE to the world at the United Nations. Providing false and concoted 'evidence' to justify the US going to war in Iraq.

With the various relevations in books being written by former White House staff, history will not be very kind to Powell.

May his reputation rest in peace!

Posted by: Charles Thomas | June 16, 2008 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Colin Powell is over-rated.

He knew he was lying at the UN. He did his job for his Masters.

He's been "above" all of it based on perception.

He was There.

He's one of Them.

There are too many honest people in the world to call Colin Powell honest.

Posted by: Powell? Please. | June 15, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Powell has been so far under the radar ever since he left State...this blog entry and his call-in to MSNBC this afternoon (to share his thoughts about Tim Russert) are all I've heard about him in months. Unfortunately, all this entry says is "Powell has not made a decision."

Listen WaPo, sitting in a chair and saying nothing is not newsworthy, even when a famous person does it.

Posted by: Piter | June 14, 2008 1:18 AM | Report abuse

LOL! :-D

Talk about a NON-Story!

The entire thing could have been summed up by: Colin Powell is Uncommitted.

He might Vote for O'Bomba, but he is not going to automatically vote for a man who does not comprehend the first thing about National Security either.

Hint McCain-that precious "Sovereignty" of the Iraqi's you are soooo worried about, well maybe you aught to open your eyes about what the crowds at the Aridzona Walmarts look like, and what language is being spoken!

I know that here in Texas, we seem to resemble Mexico more than Mexico resembles deep Mexico!

You'll find more Gringos in Acapulco!

Posted by: SAINT---The | June 13, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Gen. Colin Powell is a class act. A patriot and a person of valor and integrity. That's why he left the Bush/Cheyney lie-fest.

God bless Colin Powell. We need people like him in Government!

Posted by: Daddio on the Paddio | June 13, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

McCain supporters here seem to have a disconnect. On the one hand they belittle Powell for passing on the Bush/Cheney false intelligence to the UN, but they also criticize him for possibly supporting the candidate who saw through the lies and opposed the war from the beginning over the candidate who not only supported the war before the lies were revealed, but continues to support it even after the lies were revealed. McCain refuses to say this war was a mistake from the start. That should disqualify him as the candidate of anyone who believes we were purposely mislead to get us into the war in the first place.

Posted by: bgjd1979 | June 13, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

The difference between Gen. Powell and Capn. McCain: Both were mislead by Bush/Chaney about Iraq. The General eventually saw through the lies and quit, the Captain continues to sprout the Bush/Chaney line. Gen. Powell is a tragic case of a good and very cable man joining an Administration that's only hallmark is mendacity.

Posted by: bgjd1979 | June 13, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Colin Powell is a hero and VERY patriotic. He does not deserve the disrespect he is receiving on these comments. He was used by Cheney just as most of Americans were. At least he has acknowledged his role. Why do people keep turning the knife that Cheney and Rumsfeld already shoved in his back? He was given cherry picked intelligence and is so patriotic that he did not suspect Cheney is a manipulative liar. Many of us were duped.

Posted by: nurseypie | June 13, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm afraid Colin Powell's association with the Bush lies has forever tarnished him in my eyes. Either he didn't realize he was being suckered by the Bushie, in which case he's not a smart as I'd hoped he was, or he didn't have the character to immediately stand up and and resign In Protest when he found out. It seems that everyone in the Bush Administration just waits until they're "safe" before they acknowledge that they were part of The Worst Administration Ever!!

Posted by: thebob.bob | June 13, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

First of all people can sure be critical when they have not been in someone's shoes. I applaud Colin Powell for being honest and upfront. He was careful not to rush to any dicisions which is good but I think he is leaning towards Senator Obama. This would be good for Senator Obama's camp.

I think everyone who supported President Bush was mislead accept for his closest Advisors they knew that Bush was lying to the American public and used fear mongoring to get re-elected now MCBush wants to continue to do the same thing why do you think he shying away from appearing in public with Bush. Why isn't the media talking about this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Jacie - San Leandro, Ca | June 13, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Powell knows the seen and unseen costs, and the raw horror, of war.

McCloneBush doesn't care about others dying. He's like his "father," Pnis Cheney.

Posted by: jeffp | June 13, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Sounds fitting. One liar endorsing another. Powel, who stood in front of a world stage at the UN and lied about WMD in Iraq, when he knew full well it was a lie, will bring real "change" to WA. Obama: Change you can't believe in.

Posted by: thinkwithyourbrain | June 13, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

The man is a rarity in today's world of self-serving, degenerate politicians. If only there were more like him, ready to put the interests of the country first, how much better off we'd all be.

Posted by: tydicea | June 13, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I believe Mr Powell spoke from his heart. Regardless of which candidate he votes for, he'll do it with conviction in what he stands for. I wish everyone else would do the same.

Posted by: WJ | June 13, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Wow! For sure he is not the only Republican voting for Obama in November!

God bless America!

Posted by: Anna | June 13, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Wow...I thought WP readers were thoughtful and intelligent. Palmetto proves there are always outliers who'd rather write something idiotic and baseless (like Fox News) just to get ratings.

Posted by: TO PALMETTO | June 13, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Until now I respected General Powell for his service to our country both in the military and his politcal appointment. However, this proves something I was reluctant to believe, and that is race trumps everything. It trumps sexism; what is good for the country; fairness in media reporting; bitter comments; relationships with terrorists; ultra liberalism; friendships with hate filled preachers and much more which I will not outline in this comment. --- What ever happened to the montra; Judge someone not by their color but on the content of their character. I suppose that is a "one way street."

Posted by: Joe migliorise | June 13, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Re palmettonajjar's June 13 1:07PM post (I won't dignify it with a quote):

The WaPo really, really REALLY needs to moderate these forums. Trolls such as "palmetto-whatever" here ruin it for every one (that is the troll's goal of course). If the WaPo can't moderate the comments boards then they should do away with them. Palmetto and his ilk make these boards less-than useless and down-right unreadable.

Folks like palmetto are looking for attention and discord, not open dialog. Rather than respond to trolls, folks who are posting in good faith should ignore them.

My two cents. Have a great weekend.

Posted by: AMC in WA State | June 13, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Remember Colin Powell at the UN holding that little glass vial and telling us what Saddam would do with it. Now is he going to tell us what would happen if Obama is elected President?

Posted by: ZarDotz | June 13, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

General Powell answered as well as any good former Army general and former White House secretary without drawing a flood of reporters to his door. Bottom line; judging from his autobiography and his history, he won't align himself or support anybody with a divisive, polarizing and racist background like Obama.


It's amazing how the someone like you can talk of divisiveness or polarization or even being racist. What is your evidence of this? If I'm not mistaken it was whit america (i.e. McCain/Hillary) campaigns who brought all of the racism to the fore front. Get a life and stop trying to spread an idea that can not be proven about the campaign he is running.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 13, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Why does he have to keep quiet. He was used like everyone else who thought the war was a good thing. He went by the same intelligence that everyone else relied on. If he doesn't go along with his party isn't a reason for him to be quiet. Always wanting to quiet someone when they don't agree (maybe) with the statue quo.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 13, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

General Powell answered as well as any good former Army general and former White House secretary without drawing a flood of reporters to his door. Bottom line; judging from his autobiography and his history, he won't align himself or support anybody with a divisive, polarizing and racist background like Obama.

Posted by: palmettonajjar | June 13, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, he knows HOW he was used, he had been used his entire life. That is the most important quality. He also recognizes he has the power to influence the policies of macro-geopolitics morso outside the arena. For those that feign credibility loss, never knew what that meant as a directional objective.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | June 13, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

He lost a lot of standing in my eyes. He had much to do with the spreading of lies and fear pre war. He more then anybody made me think that maybe the war was the right thing to do at the time. I would prefer he just stay on the side lines now, he is damaged goods. If he is going to indorse then he needs to tells up why and I mean the whole nine yards. He must have a reason and we deserve to hear it. Otherwise keep quiet.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 13, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

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