It probably would have been more of a surprise if he hadn’t, but former Secretary of State Colin Powell this morning endorsed President Obama for re-election in an appearance on CBS “This Morning.”
Powell endorsed Obama in 2008, so many would have expected him to do it again. But Powell, a beloved figure in the Republican Party and someone who was close to running for president himself in the 1990s, has been known to do the unpredictable. There was even speculation earlier this year that Romney might try to eat into Obama’s black support by picking Powell as his running mate.
Powell had sent out teasers earlier in the year about his leanings in the presidential race.
“I feel as a private citizen I ought to listen to what the President says and what the President’s been doing,” Powell, a Republican, said on NBC’s “Today” in June. “But, you know,” he continued, “I also have to listen to what the other fellow is saying. I’ve known Mitt Romney for many years—good man.”
But on “This Morning,” Powell indicated that it was Romney’s recent shape-shifting that had him concerned.
“So I am not quite sure which Gov. Romney we would be getting with respect to foreign policy,” he said.
Powell used a military analogy to explain his decision to stick with Obama. He said the economy is improving and that Obama got the United States out of war in Iraq and is starting to get the United States out of Afghanistan. “I signed on for a long patrol with President Obama and I don’t think this is the time to make such a sudden change,” he said. “I think we ought to keep on the track we are on.”
“You know, I voted for him in 2008 and I plan to stick with him in 2012, and I’ll be voting for he and Vice President Joe Biden next month,” he said.
Asked whether it was an endorsement, he said, “Yes.”
Powell said he did not tell Obama or Romney in advance about his decision. “This is my decision by looking at this as a citizen,” he said.
But he did say that he speaks to Obama regularly.