February 9th, 2008
09:45 AM ET
10 years ago

Colin Powell may support Democrat or Independent in ‘08


Watch Colin Powell discuss the presidential race.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican who served under President Bush, said Friday he may not back the GOP presidential nominee in November, telling CNN that “I am keeping my options open at the moment.”

“I have voted for members of both parties in the course of my adult life,” Powell, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “And as I said earlier, I will vote for the candidate I think can do the best job for America, whether that candidate is a Republican, a Democrat, or an Independent.”

Powell also offered praise for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, calling him an “exciting person on the political stage.

“He has energized a lot of people in America,” said Powell, who briefly weighed his own run for the White House in the mid-1990s. “He has energized a lot of people around the world. And so I think he is worth listening to and seeing what he stands for.”

Powell, who has largely steered clear of politics since leaving the administration in 2004, noted that the next president will need to work to restore America’s standing in the world.

“I will ultimately vote for the person I believe brings to the American people the kind of vision the American people want to see for the next four years,” he said. “A vision that reaches out to the rest of the world, that starts to restore confidence in America, that starts to restore favorable ratings to America. Frankly, we've lost a lot in recent years.”

Programming note: Tune in for the full interview with Colin Powell on “Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer,” airing this Sunday, 11-1 PM, ET.

soundoff (158 Responses)
  1. Sarah Smith

    I ADORE Colin Powell.. I'm and OLD WHITE LADY.. and THIS EXPLAINS WHY I think Obama and landslide the Dems into the WHite House!!

    but PLEASE Hill – baby .. Welfare Champion... cuckolded wife....... get out of the fray!! YOU ARE A LIABILITY!! Pls Acknowledge this!

    GO Colin, Go Condolesa! GO Obama *I* am WHITE !!! SOS USA in DISTRESS!

    February 8, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  2. shaun

    All I can say is, "Oh.... my..... Gosh". I live in seattle, wa, and today I had the honor of seeing Barack Obama in person. I will remember this day for the rest of my life, and I'm sure the other 26,000 people will to. I stood in line for 3 hours in the blistering cold along with1000's of other supporters, and the spirit was that of unity, with the energy being electric. I've never been into politics because I don't trust our elected officials. It seems as if they always promise alot, but once there in office they forget the plight of those who elected them. Barack Obama however is different. It's just something about him that resinates with people of all backgrounds, ages, genders, races. He symbolizes what's good in america. A true champion of change both by words, actions, and judgement. Someone that knows real change doesn't start with those at the top, but by those from the bottom up. He's given a majority of his life fighting to help the forgotten; the little guy; and if he's elected he will remember you...He will remember me...and real change will restore americas past beauty. It will restore americas place in the nation, and it will restore americas respect in the world.

    February 8, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  3. intellegant voter


    February 8, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  4. Paul

    I keep reading posts from people talking about how Clinton is the best because she is "seasoned", "knows how to do things in Washington". McCain will "Unite the Republican party", which I figure will just be more of ole' GW just in a different package. For me all I've seen out of the people running this country for the last 30 years is how well they can screw the average American, myself being one of those. To mention a few with Reagan we lost company paid retirement when he started the breakup of labor unions with the ATC group, and eventually created the "your on your own retirement" 401K plans that the individual has to contribute to even tho you're not paid enough to live paycheck to paycheck and can never withdrawl without the government and the banks getting their huge cut. The Bush(s), tax cuts for wealthy and Corporations, jobs leaving this country and too many other things to list. The Clintons with NAFTA, and all the scandles, lies and everything else they brought shame to the White House with.

    Looking back on all this makes me think of a part of the Declaration of Independence that is so fitting to this time in our nations history.

    "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

    For my part I think Clinton and McCain both are "such Government" and it's time for the New Guard to move in.

    Obama '08

    February 8, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  5. Greg Jones Cleveland, Ohio

    Colin Powell was terribly used by the Bush Regime. He was the only positive person in the administration. His endorsement will mean a lot to the recipient.

    February 8, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  6. Obamawillwin

    YES WE WILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    VOTE OBAMA 08!!!!!!

    February 8, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  7. Amy in Iowa

    If Colin Powell is both sincere and courageous, which I believe him to be, he will stand up for the unity of this nation and endorse Barack Obama. I really pray that he does what is right for this country.

    February 8, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  8. donna

    Sounds like Barack Obama can expect Colin Powell's endorsement sometime soon. Go Obama!

    February 8, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  9. Bonnie

    Colin Powell's possible support of someone other than McCain would come as no surprise. HUGE issue in this election is that the next President will likely have to replace 1-3 Supreme Court Justices during his or her term . . . I believe we need a better balance on the Court (Roberts and Alito will be there for a LONG time). I think Powell believes that too.

    February 8, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  10. mehrad

    I'm glad Colin's made the right choice.

    February 8, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  11. DrFill

    He lost most of his credibilty anyway, grandstanding that "intelligence" to the UN in 2002, and selling Bush's War.
    He's going Obama anyway. I've heard him talk about him glowingly.

    February 8, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  12. Robert in Atlanta

    Very interesting remarks from Colin. I can't wait for the neo-cons to start to trash him regarding his remarks on repairing the image of America around the world....brace yourself Mr. Powell

    February 8, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  13. Susan, MI

    I guess it would be difficult for Colin Powell to see that Obama is a fake. He had the same problem with some yellow-cake uranium.

    February 8, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  14. Jim673

    Too bad Powell didn't join the Democratic ticket to run instead of Obama. Powell, has the kind of solid characte and historyr, I could back. At least I know I can count on Hillary, to do as she says, she will do. We have that kind of history on her.

    February 8, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  15. Grif

    Colin Powel was made a scapgoat for the WMD's not found in Iraq. What can you expect him to do, when his own Party turned against him. The WMD"s were there, but the UN held up the invasion just long enough, for Russia to move them to? Yep you guessed it, Iran...


    February 8, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  16. Even Colin Powell to endorse Obama?

    It seems like everyone is getting behind Obama and wants to stop the war. Colin Powell knows more personally than anyone what a mistake going to war in Iraq was, so it would make sense that he would be considering supporting someone who was against it from the very beginning. I think Powell is saying to McCain – You want to challenge Obama's leadership ability to get us out of Iraq, think again – cuz then I'll be right behind him. Just another reason Obama is so electable.

    February 8, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  17. Charlotte

    A Clinton/Powell ticket would be awesome. A man of integrity,experience and smart enough to quit the Bush administration!

    February 8, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  18. larry

    Possible Secretary of Defense for Obama ?

    February 8, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  19. D

    It is sad this honorable man got caught up in the non truths of Bush and Cheny.
    He should be the Secretary of State with full responsibility and not had been caught in the Rumsfield and Cheny disagreements with him.

    February 8, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  20. william


    I saw this interview and CNN is quite clearly trying to spin it for Obama. However, I am not surprised as most of the liberal media is drooling over him these days.

    February 8, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  21. Jen, Gainesville

    I am not surprised by his praise for Obama. My husband, who has consistently voited for republicans for decades, is for the first time voting for democrate (Obama not Clinton). His father, who is a die-hard republican in his 90s, voted for Obama in the primary on Super Tuesday. Something is happening in America. Let's seize this moment!

    February 8, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  22. Smart Democrat

    Sounds like a vote for Hillary!

    February 8, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  23. Sarah Smith

    Headline-support Hillary TODAY because she will GONE TOMORROW!

    Colin Powell – TOO NOBLE to run for the Presidency.. wil NOT suport Hilly.

    we are at a crossroads and WATERSHED historic time..

    and Hilly is NOT it!

    February 8, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  24. Murry

    Mr. Powel that sounds a lot like an endorsement to me.
    The rest of the world would love for Obama to be President. Hillary will be as combative as Bush.

    February 8, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  25. Gideon, Chicago, IL

    Obama/Powell '08?

    We could only wish...

    February 8, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
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