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Colin Powell’s Endorsement of Barack Obama (Transcript).

October 19, 2008

Leave it to Colin Powell to eloquently state what many have been thinking over the course of this election season:

I know both of these individuals very well now. I’ve known John for 25 years as your set-up said, and I’ve gotten to know Mr. Obama quite well over the past two years. Both of them are distinguished Americans who are patriotic, dedicated to the welfare of our country. Either one of them, I think, would be a good president.

I have said to Mr. McCain that, um, I admire all he has done. I have some concerns about the direction that the Party has taken in recent years. It has moved more to the Right than I would like to see it, but that’s a choice the Party makes.

And I’ve said to Mr. Obama, “You have to pass the test of, Do you have enough experience? Do you bring the judgment to the table that would give us confidence that you would be a good president?”

And I’ve watched them over the past two years, frankly, and I’ve had this conversation with them. I have especially watched over the last six or seven weeks as both of them have really taken a final exam with respect to this economic crisis that we are in, and coming out of the Conventions.

And I must say that, uh, I’ve gotten a good measure of both. In the case of Mr. McCain, I found that he was a little unsure as to how to deal with the economic problems that we’re having. And almost every day there was a different approach to the problem and that concerned me. It’s sensing that he didn’t have a complete grasp of the economic problems that we had. And I was also concerned at the selection of Governor Palin. She’s a very distinguished woman and she is to be admired. But at the same time, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don’t believe she’s ready to be President of the United States, which is the job of the Vice President. And so, uh, that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made.

On the Obama side, I watched Mr. Obama and I watched him during this seven-week period. And he displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge, and an approach to looking at problems like this, picking a Vice President that I think is ready to be President on Day One. And also in – not just in jumping in and changing every day – but showing intellectual vigor, I think that he has a definitive way of doing business that would serve us well.

I also believe that on the Republican side over the last seven weeks, the approach of the Republican Party and Mr. McCain has become narrower and narrower. Uh, Mr. Obama, at the same time, has given us a more conclusive, more reach into the needs and aspirations of our people. He’s crossing lines – ethnic lines, racial lines, generational lines. He’s thinking about all villages have values, all towns have values – not just small towns have values.

And I’ve also been disappointed, frankly, by some of the approaches that Senator McCain has taken recently – or his campaign has – on issues that are not really central to the problems that the American people are worried about. This Bill Ayers situation that’s been going on for weeks became something of a central point of the campaign, but Mr. McCain says that he’s a watchdog of terrorists. Then why do we keep talking about him? And why do we have these robocalls going on around the country, trying to suggest that because of this very, very limited relationship that Senator Obama has had with Mr. Ayers, somehow Mr. Obama is tainted. What they’re trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings. And I think that’s inappropriate.

Now I understand what politics is all about. I know how you can go after one another. And that’s good. But, I think this goes too far. And I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow. It’s not what the American people are looking for.

And I look at these kinds of approaches to the campaign and they trouble me. And the Party has moved even further to the Right. And Governor Palin has indicated a further rightward shift. I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that’s what we’d be looking at in a McCain Administration.

I’m also troubled by – not what Senator McCain says – but what members of the Party say, and it is permitted to be said: such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is he is not a Muslim. He’s a Christian; has always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, “What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?” The answer’s “No, that’s not America.” Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim American kid believing that he or she could be President? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own Party drop the suggestion he’s Muslim and he might be associated with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery. And she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards – Purple Heart, Bronze Star; showed that he died in Iraq; gave his date of birth, date of death. He was twenty years old. And then at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross. It didn’t have a Star of David. It had a crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Karim Rashad Sultan Kahn. And he was an American. He was born in New Jersey, he was fourteen years old at the time of 9/11 and he waited until he could go serve his country and he gave his life.

Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as non-discriminatory as anyone I know. But I’m troubled about the fact that within the Party we have these kinds of expressions.

So when I look at all of this and I think back to my army career, we’ve got two individuals. Either one of them could be a good president, but which is the president that we need now? Which is the individual that serves the needs of the nation for the next period of time? And I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities – and we have to take that into account – as well as his substance – he has both style and substance – he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president.

I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming into the … onto the world stage and on the American stage and for that reason, I’ll be voting for Senator Barack Obama.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sarah permalink
    October 20, 2008 2:42 pm

    Suddenly because Powell is endorsing obama he is not as evil as he used to be? Yet, Powell was the one encouraging the Iraq war claiming they had WMD. Anyone with intelligence knows that Powell is endorsing based on race.

    98% of black people are voting for obama just because he is black. White people are split between obama, nadar, and McCain. Think about it.

    The truth is this is a race campaign. The Democrats control the senate and congress and have the lowest approval rating in US history. The Democrats couldn’t even beat Bush in the elections thus why they are going after the black vote in the US, about 45 million blacks. Thus, why obama voted present over 130 times, avoided the tough issues, and never challenged his party leaders on senate to preserve his political career. Only 143 days on state senate when he decided to run for office.

    The Democrats lost because the US is not a socialist/communist system. Americans fought against Nazi Germany, their socialist party, and communist USSR for decades, just to name a few.

    Again, Clinton supported deregulation and introduced FTAs like NAFTA. That is why the US economy was strong during his administration. McCain also supports deregulation and fights for FTAs like NAFTA. These initiatives will help our economy. Our economy is very important, McCain is better for our economy. I hope people get educated before they vote.

    US businesses create US jobs. obama wants to limit the growth of US businesses, which is limiting the growth of US jobs. If you increase tax on US businesses they will either just relocate to a lower tax country taking American jobs with them, pass the added tax cost to consumers or go bankrupt. GM and Ford can barely compete globally and obama wants to tax them more. The smaller businesses that are reliant on GM and Ford will also be greatly affected, destroying more US jobs.

    The US is the land of opportunity not the land of equal outcome. Why should government take your money and give it to people who are already on welfare to spread the wealth?

    What Caused Our Economic Crisis? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RZVw3no2A4

  2. gldnbrz permalink
    October 20, 2008 7:04 pm

    Sarah — if Colin Powell is endorsing Barack Obama simply because he’s black, what say you about Ken Adelman, who’s been a lifelong conservative… and white?

    https://anessentialliberty.wordpress.com/2008/10/20/for-all-the-colin-powell-skeptics-how-about-ken-adelman/

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