The rampant media speculation blew the story up into a “Powell Refuses to Endorse Obama” headline, but that’s likely making much more out of the story than it deserves. In an election year, every media outlet tries to pry endorsements out of national leaders everytime they make a television appearance. The universally well-respected Powell—who flaunted with a presidential run himself over the years—is well accustomed to the game, having played it so well in 2008, when he repeatedly brushed off reporters who tried to get him to choose between Obama and Republican nominee John McCain.
“I always keep my powder dry, as they say in the military,” said Powell, who is making the media rounds to promote his new book, It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership.
Powell waited all the way until October to endorse Obama—thus making the endorsement a huge story and an enormous boost for the Democratic candidate, particularly since Powell has been so closely associated with Republicans like former President George W. Bush.
On The Today Show, Powell’s comments about President Obama were measured and mixed, crediting him with rescuing the auto industry and financial system, but saying he still could have done more to help the economy. Powell said he was “still listening” to the ideas of Republican challenger Mitt Romney.