FINEMAN: Will Powell Endorse Obama?

UPDATE: It's a yes. Here's Powell speaking to reporters after his appearance this morning on "Meet the Press," where the former Secretary of State and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a Republican, declared his support for Barack Obama and chided John McCain for the negative tone of his campaign:


Original item follows: 

My fellow NEWSWEEK blogger Howard Fineman says... well, maybe:

Is Gen. Colin Powell getting ready to endorse Sen. Barack Obama on "Meet the Press" this Sunday? Two sources close to Powell, speaking on the condition of anonymity, predict that he will. On the record, a third, Ken Duberstein, a Washington lobbyist and former White House chief of staff, didn't flatly deny it. "You can say what you want," he told me, "but I didn't tell you that and neither did Powell."

OK, true enough. If Powell does endorse Obama, racial pride will have something to do with it, which is understandable. Powell has been a trailblazer himself, and he admires Obama's unflappability and skill in rising so quickly through the ranks of American politics. While Powell is personally close to McCain, and has been for many years, he seems to have taken a special interest in making himself available, behind the scenes and from time to time, to discuss foreign policy and defense issues with the novice Illinois senator...

However, if Powell does endorse, it will have less to do with American sociology than world affairs. Powell simply has no use anymore--if he ever had any--for the neo-con cowboys he thinks misled the country (and him) into a mistaken and costly war in Iraq. Powell has been careful in public not to criticize his colleagues in the Bush administration nor bluntly call the war a mistake... An endorsement of Obama would be an indirect but powerful way of expressing his resentments and regrets: refusing to support a fellow Republican who has very Bush-like ideas about how to make America more secure in a world of terror. "It's not so much about race as it is about foreign policy," a friend of Powell's told me. "He thinks Obama has a lot to learn, but that he has the capacity."


Join the Discussion