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. kent

    He is right. This is what real experince knows.
    Obama 08

    February 8, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  2. Ann Independent FairMedia,PA

    Don't be surprized if he endorses Senator Clinton. She is far more conservative than Senator Obama. Hmmmmm do we have a making of a Clinton/Powell Ticket?

    February 8, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  3. obamafan

    I think what the democrats should do is to choose their running mate now and let that help decide the rest of the primaries.

    February 8, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  4. JohnS

    Those who think Obama should wait for 4 or 8 years, AFTER another Clinton dynasty are either really dumb, or simply blind to royalty as we see in the Bush folks.

    The Clintons are not in this for you, me, Obama, or the this nation. They are paving the way for Chelese Clinton. The next time you get to be screwed up by the Clintons, they would talk you into it like this:

    If a woman (Hillary) has done it, Chelese can do it!!! What would be your answer then? Given that the Clintons have had 8 years in office (and Hillary is still out there), common sense tells us that, like the Kennedys, they would have long stepped aside by now. But they simply won't as long as Chelese (the princess) is still out there growing up as a viable future nominee. This is what keeps Hillary going, like any mother would do (thanks to my wife for this insight)!!!!!

    So people, wake up to some facts and realities of life!!!! The Clintons have and will continue to dupe most, though not all of the brightest people in this nation.

    February 8, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  5. Independent

    It is a fact that Powell admires Obama.

    February 8, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  6. hal

    I think Powell is one of Obama's informal advisors on military affairs. Of course he would be on the short list for Sec'y of Defense, if Obama is elected, so this unofficial endorsement is not surprising.

    I think Bush liked the idea of having a black man as Sec'y of State, but he sure didn't pay much attention to Powell's opinions. Powell was against the Iraq invasion but Bush didn't even ask his opinion, according to Bob Woodward (the reporter who was given special access to Bush for over a year). Which was amazing, given that Powell was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs during the Gulf War.

    Powell might be on Hillary's short list too. But if Hillary's elected, Bill will likely play a major role and will effectively be WH Chief of Staff, and a very active one at that (think of James Baker in Reagan's first term). Joe Biden mentioned last fall that he would have no interest in being Sec'y of State under Hillary, because Bill would certain to be her go-to guy on both domestic and foreign policy. John Edwards made a similar comment at about the same time, when Biden and Edwards were both still in the race.

    If it's Obama, I could see him choosing Biden as either VP or Sec'y of State.

    February 8, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  7. Ann

    Yeah, big surprise? Obama stands for excitement in politics, isn't it clear? Powell is the last person to listen to. Was he the guy who lied about WMDs in Iraq?

    February 8, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  8. ForHillary

    Don't do it Colin, endorse Hillary, she is the BEST candidate for the job

    February 8, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  9. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    Wait until Dumbya is out of office and them we'll here the full story from Secreatary Powell about how incompetent and dysfunctional this current administration really is.

    It we'll be a best seller!

    Obama/Edwards in 2008!

    February 8, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  10. Stan

    It would be awesome if the former Secretary supported Obama. It would be such a huge blow to the Republicans.

    Go Obama!

    February 8, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  11. Grant

    Where does Gen. Powell live again? Still in Virginia? Maryland?

    Time to endorse I think.......

    February 8, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  12. diane, ringgold, georgia

    go, Obama

    February 8, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  13. Mark, Chicago, IL

    Colin Powell is spineless... he let Bush and Cheyney walk all over him and did not stand up for integrity. If people want to make something of the Clintons lying – let's talk about how Clinton's lie only affected him, his wife and his family – and Cheyney, Bush and Powell's lie affected the entire country and world. A man of integrity would not have let that happen. I see him as a laughing stock... Why would I listen to him now?

    February 8, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  14. Go Hillary

    Of course he was not asked about Hillary. The media is really trying to shove Obama down America's throat. Of course he would praise Obama, he is a nice guy, I would praise him too but I am not going to vote for him. The media is so desperate to roll out ANYTHING to get us to vote for Obama. If Obama sneezed and Powell said "bless you", the media would jump on it and say "POWELL GIVES OBAMA HIS BLESSING" whereas if it was Hillary that sneezed they would pick the most horrible picture they could find and say "OBAMA HAS EDGE ON CLINTON HEALTHWISE". It is scary how the media try to brainwash us. Don't get taken in, vote Hillary.

    February 8, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  15. OJ

    Ok – let's all pretend we are surprised if he endorsed Obama. What a joke.

    February 8, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  16. never little o

    another CNN obama-praise, big surprise....

    February 8, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  17. vthai

    Yeah, Colin, I wonder who contributed to our less than favourable standing in the world? Maybe you should have voiced you're opinions on more important matters earlier.

    February 8, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  18. ken

    do you think he would agree to be his running mate?

    February 8, 2008 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  19. Rob

    This would sound so much better if he had resigned from the Bush Administration on principle rather than rehash their lies. That would have taken the air out of the run up to the war and given people a pause to think. "Gee, if Sec. Powell thinks this is BS, can it be real?" Many good men would be alive now.

    Sadly, there can be no cabinet position for you in an Obama Administration, General.

    February 8, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  20. Independent

    YES! Proof is in the pudding, Obama brings support from the GOP!

    February 8, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  21. Eric

    I hope he joins the Obama camp....

    February 9, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  22. Mike

    big surprise...just another one of the ol boys club

    February 9, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  23. toli

    vote hillary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 9, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  24. benvictor

    Surprise, surprise. He has been surrounded with people of experience his whole life, yet will support someone with little experience and little record of accomplishment. Will he be truthful about the reason for his endorsement?

    February 9, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  25. Joe-Wilmington, DE

    Barack Obama is clearly the logical choice at this time in American history, if not world history.

    We cannot afford more divisiveness with another Clinton or Bush in the Whitehouse.

    February 9, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
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