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

Colin Powell may support Democrat or Independent in ‘08

CNN

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. Terry Mohn

    I agree that Colin has been around experienced people most of his life. He is, himself, very experienced. Had he run for President I'd have been the first person in line to support him.

    I also have a great deal of trust in him and his opinions. "Experienced Persons" in positions of power are what have gotten us in the mess were in. Maybe it's time to give a supposedly inexperienced person the opportunity to help "fix the mess"!

    I am a 62 year old white male with a professional career and like Mr. Powell, have voted for folks from both parties.

    February 9, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  2. Martin

    Colin Powell is a wise, honorable man with excellent judgement. I respect his opinion. Obama will be one of the greatest leaders of our time. He is already on track in accomplishing what no one ever has.

    Stand up for Change with Obama in '08

    February 9, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  3. will

    First of all Mike from houston, apparently you must not know your American history because JFK was first term Senator and Lincoln was never a Senator just a one time U.S. Rep. when they went into the white house. Oh yeah by the way Bush had no Washington experience but I am willing to bet you voted for him!

    February 9, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  4. Andrew

    Mike, Houston, TX;
    Actually, Obama has more experience than Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Roosevelt had when they were each elected President.

    February 9, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  5. Peter, Illinois

    Every newly elected President of the United States of America has had the exact same level of presidential experience when they first enter into office. There are no excuses for voting against any candidate based on experience as president. Only an ex president has that experience and would you want any of them back? Also, if you look back at all of the presidential experience that George W Bush has then he should have been better as the years go on. But, after seven years, he still cannot get it right. He never has and he never will and this nation has paid a heavy price in our young men and women dying for his lies.

    If you really read the article and not spewed your ignorance by flatuating, Powell says, “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”. That is exactly what every voter of this nation should do and stop this petty whining against anyone who wishes to see this nation UNITED and GREAT again.

    If George W Bush has made this nation better, than why isn't any of the Republican candidates asking for his support or showing his face on a commecial? Not one of my conservative friends have ever liked McCain and with that all I can see is another Bob Dole experience. A "not a snowballs chance in hell". Why do you think he the front running candidate? They can blame it on him when he loses and it wasn't their fault. It's win-win for them, even if a democrat gets in office. I've lived long enough to see that their gameplan works best by blaming others. Never underestimate large numbers of stupid sheep/people.

    February 9, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  6. deja vu

    Apparently he wants to redeem himself from taking part in the propaganda machine to go to war. His endorsement like so many others means nothing.

    February 9, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  7. Blayze Kohime

    Mike from Houston Texas, technically wouldn't George Washington have been the President with the least experience in history? Since there was no way to have experience at the time. I like how when people talk about history, they seem to be limited to the last 50 to 100 years.

    February 9, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  8. Sal......Illinois

    It is unfortunate that Powell is one of the victoms of failed Bush policies in Iraq....He made a credible man like Powell look like a liar.....Too bad for Powell...I can name two more whoes credibility can be questioned as far as the judgement and the stance on this war.....John Mc cain and Joe libermann.....

    February 9, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  9. Susan

    He did NOT endorse. This is not worthy of a headline. It's another example of the media exaggerations around Obama. Another example is an article in today's New York Times about how Obama's cocaine abuse didn't seem like that big of a deal to those who knew him. What is this? Cocaine IS a big deal.
    Clinton may not be new and different but she's highly qualified and ready to lead. Let's not confuse celebrity-type media interest with substance.

    February 9, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  10. Susan, MI

    February 8, 2008 8:33 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    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 9, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  11. Alice

    Let me try this again, since the original has been in Moderator Purgatory since midnight (probably due to the fact that the Moderator du jour is one of the mindless chanting "Yes We Can" Obarfa fans):

    I am a die-hard Hillary supporter, but I would rather vote for Colin Powell than Barack Obama if I had my druthers

    Hillary and Colin are experienced – Oprahma will be in a couple of years, and he'll have my vote then

    In the meantime: Colin, WHY did you not run when you had the chance??????????????

    GOD, you REALLY WOULD be a MUCH better choice for the first African-American President

    You have the charisma AND the experience! You just belonged to the wrong party, and I never did get that

    How COULD you be a Republican????????????

    Though had you run even as a (shudder) Republican, you might have gotten my vote

    February 9, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  12. Susan, MI

    February 8, 2008 8:33 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

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

    February 9, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  13. Susan, MI

    February 8, 2008 8:33 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    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.

    Still waiting.

    February 9, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  14. Bonnie O., Raleigh, NC

    If Colin Powell had run back in the '80's I would have voted for him. He is an impressive, intellectual, articulate man. We would all do well listening to what he has to say.

    Barack Obama does have the qualities this nation needs to heal and move forward. I'm exciting that he would consider running for such a thankless job.

    We have become a nation of cynics; too ready to jump on the first person that stands up for what is right.

    Yes We Can.
    Obama '08!

    February 9, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  15. PATTY

    YES, OBAMA MAY HAVE THE LEAST EXPERIENCE OF ANY PRESIDENT, BUT HE IS INTELLIGENT ENOUGH TO SURROUND HIMSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE EXPERTISE IN DIFFERENT AREAS WHETHER IT BE WAR ISSUES, THE ECONOMY, EDUCATION. NOT ONE PERSON CAN BE ALL, BUT ONE PERSON CAN UNITE THE COUNTRY, IF NOT THE WORLD. HONESTLY, HOW WELL DO WE THINK HILLARY WILL DO SITTING AROUND THE TABLE WITH WORLD LEADERS, MANY OF WHOM THINK WOMEN ARE NOT TO BE SEEN?

    SO, I'LL TAKE POWELL'S POSITIVE REMARKS TOWARD OBAMA IN HIGH REGARD.

    February 9, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  16. david

    mm its called "headlines" to get your attention to read it.

    February 9, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  17. Susan, MI

    February 8, 2008 8:33 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

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

    Still waiting! It is more than 12 hours later! What's the matter, CNN? Does this comment not support your obviously blatant bias for Obama? I swear, if by some act of God Obama is NOT the nominee after all the pro-Obama and anti-Clinton articles you have run and do run every time there is a primary, I will be submitting reminders of the fact to you for 12 months afterwards. You are a crooked media run by a bunch of journalistic cowards with absolutely no integrity.

    February 9, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  18. hillary 08

    OF COURSE colin powell is happy with ophrabama...they know they cant beat hillary and can pound obama. how stupid do they think we are...there are no proof in their stupid polls of mccain beating hillary if she is nominated. colin powells endorsement of obama is proof of that. no way in hail he knows the GOP can defeat hillary. what fools the media paints us as

    February 9, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  19. Micah

    Mike in Houston, Abraham Lincoln had one term as a representative before running for President and he is widely regarded as one of the greatest if not the greatest President in the history of the USA. A graceful politician is a rare thing, those who have been president have been regarded as great presidents.

    February 9, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  20. Joann

    Powell said on the news that he hasn't made a decision yet and that he has back both parties before; yet see how he starts to "praise" Obama like he's done anything for anyone and like he has such a long record of change; You all know what this means – he's going to vote for the black man just because he's black. When 85% of the black vote went to Obama – this became about race – had nothing to do with Bill or Hillary Clinton's comments (which were taken totally out of context). this is how the Blacks cowardly got out of having to vote for Hillary, just to vote for a black man. When this election started, they said they loved Bill Clinton, the woman who said he was the "first black president" even betrayed him just to vote for a black man. Is this what our country has reduced itself to? Voting for you race or gender and not what they can do for you? No one even heard of Obama before this race but they have heard of Hillary, Mccain, Romney, Kennedy etc....I don't get you people. Powell is doing the same – he is setting the stage by saying he hasn't backed anyone yet and now starts to "praise" an unknown Obama and it will lead up to his vote. It that's the case then let the blacks vote for the blacks and the whites vote for Hillary and we'll see who wins this race!! This is what you've reduced this to.

    February 9, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  21. Don't get fooled by Vision Inspiration

    Is Colin Powell still supporting Bush? If his judgment was right, why he left Bush administration? If not, why this time? Leaders mislead their people by illusions, such as vision, leadership, inspiration, and CHANGE. Lenin mislead millions Russian youths into revolution and Mao cheated millions Chinese into Culture Revolution. Bush’s leadership and vision lead us into “WAR” without ending. What are the results? People: Get Real, Judge by yourself.

    February 9, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  22. Lisa Hampton Newark, NJ

    Obama is a Leader, and Hillary is an administrator. Haven't we seen these two in the workplace? The administator type who knows all the company polices, very organized, and very competent, but many in the workplace can't stand to be around them. Then you see the one who is the really leader. He gets along with everyone, pulls the team together, makes you feel good to be at work and if he asks you to work extra hours to make things happen you don't mind? Just because someone has all the right creditials does not makes them the right person for the job.

    February 9, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  23. RAP

    aha...............talk about the race card...........here we go.

    February 9, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  24. John

    Hey Paul Angelique Hafner, don't you get it about Powell? He's black (duhh). I don't care what anyone says, 85% of the blacks are not voting for Obama because he's the best candidate and you know it – they got on the Black Bandwagon because they wanted to vote for a brother. When 85% vote for an Unknown then you know it's about race but just goes to show you the intelligence level of these people.

    February 9, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  25. beckstone

    Check your facts Houston Mike. I think some unknown president named Abraham Lincoln has Obama beat on the most inexperienced president of all time. If you want experience by the way, you're in the wrong party. Just face it, Hillary's experience trump card will be a bad joke in a general election vs McCain. She's not 'experienced' either. This experience argument is so overrated since the best resume in the land to be president is sitting in the VP office.

    February 9, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
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