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. interesting

    Please stop promoting Obama in every article. Will you address Rezco ? Will you ask him about his attempts to forego debates even though we have had ONLY a single 1:1 debate?

    Any positive-spun story on Obama is left on your site for days! Any negative-spun story on Hillary is left up for days.

    Credibility is lost when you do this...

    February 9, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  2. j

    OF COURSE colin powell is happy with oprahbama...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 hell he knows the GOP can defeat hillary. what fools the media paints us as

    February 9, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  3. Alice

    benvictor – I agree – they are both African-Americans, and I hate to say it, but that probably is why an experienced statesman like Powell would endorse a silly little stars-in-his-eyes boy like Oprahma, which just gives more credence to the chanting "Yes We Can" hordes, who really are starting to scare me

    I just wish Colin was running instead of Obarfa

    Now THERE is charisma PLUS experience

    Of course, Colin belongs to the wrong party

    On the other hand, Colin never played the race card

    He didn't have to

    He is a MAN

    February 9, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  4. ash

    Humble request to all mothers, sisters and daughters – Please go out in big numbers and vote for Hillary. majority is gullible and it is a well known fact (Research substantiate it) that ladies are more reliable business/family partners. They don't easily fall for rhetoric but develop relationships steadily and once have confidence keep it.

    Have-nots, burgeons, media barons, oil, pharmaceuticals, defence industry magnets have joined hands to make republicans win, and hence proping up Obama so that Dems are divided. If Obama loses with small margin in the convention, the result will be divided and bitter losers who will vote for republicans in national election as a protest vote (they will think their candidate is deprived of victory by Dems' junta...stolen victory etc.). This is well thought strategy. Bush is at 30% popularity level today. He is conservative republican. With his track record on economy, security, international relations, can a republican win as president. NO!
    But yes, if dems are divided.

    Stop this please and go out and vote for Hillary so that bitterness and protest votes later are minimised.

    Brurus (relatives), friends, Muli Banji, I am not against our broher but do want Dems to be in White House come Janaury 2009, so will do what is in the best interests of dems and have-nots.

    Hispanics and Asian brothers and sisters please do the likewise. Dems are for us and America!!!!!!

    February 9, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  5. ws

    Come on! tell me there is no race involed here! Ophra, Jackson, Powel..; and people are not allowed to say this! tell me what obama has done, and tell me what you know about him, this is not american idol contest, this is vote for president! you have to be serious, this gonna affect your stuff on your dinner table, or the house you live, you gonna choose the guy most qualified!
    And Obama is not a sunshine boy either, he is still living in the house he bought from a slum landload $300,000 below market value! if you think he is one of you, try get a similar deal for yourself!

    February 9, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  6. xc

    We all know Powell left the White House "team" because he was lied to by Bush and Chenney like the rest of us were.

    It is no surprise that he would embrace a man of principle and courage like Obama.

    February 9, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  7. Frank

    Republicans and Democrats finally can agree on ONE president !


    February 9, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  8. benfactor


    Work on your reading comprehension. There's no endorsement there. He just shared an observation about how the guy is getting people interested in politics who normally aren't.

    Nice try, though.

    February 9, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  9. Gabe

    “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.” – this sounds like praise.

    February 9, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  10. jp/michigan

    PLEASE if your going to endorse someone, let them have integrity, a person with achievements and substance. Not just someone, who sells cloud like platitudes ,instead of policies.

    February 9, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  11. twan

    To those of you that state Obama has less experience than anyone..you are flat out wrong!

    Obama has more legislative experience than HRC...8 years in state Senate and 1 full year in Senate....

    experience me..that is more experience than any current democratic nominee!

    stop the lying....

    Colin Powell understands the need for America to restore her image across the world and only Barack Obama can do that successfully...

    Do any of your HRC lovers read "foreign newspapers"? Barack is loved all over the globe...highly praised even by some of our worst critics.

    So, please stop the lying about experience...

    When Bill Clinton ran for president..they said the same thing about him...not enough experience.....

    When JFK ran for President they said the same thing..not enough experience....

    The argument is so old and played out....it's ridiculous....

    At the end of the day it's judgement that counts...and unlike your beloved HRC..she lacks judgement..she voted for the war...she is "more of the same".....there is no difference between her and McCain..that's why in every poll she loses against him....our only chance of winning is with Barack...who beats McCains in the general election.

    I am a independant and if HRC is the dem's nominee than McCain has my vote!

    I am so sick and tired of the Bush's and the Clinton's.....time for some one with a different last name....

    I voted for Barack!

    February 9, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  12. xc

    We all know Powell left the White House "team" because he was misdirected to by Bush and Chenney like the rest of us were.

    It is no surprise that he would embrace a man of principle and courage like Obama.

    February 9, 2008 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  13. Independent

    Please look at Obama's policies on his website. He is truly brilliant and have a great vision for America. All voters need to understand the vision is key. You need to have a vision first and then policy. Remember it takes many great minds to create policies and all of the greatest will want to be a part of Obama's historic presidency.

    February 9, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  14. Kevin

    Actually, Mike, I can think of another president who in fact did have less experience. He was a single term congressman who never held any other elected office except the presidency. His name was Abraham Lincoln. He seems to have done a pretty fair job.

    February 9, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  15. Richard, Ewing NJ

    Hey, don't forget that Colin Powell made his 2300 dollar donation to John McCain last year and he has yet to make any donation to the Democratic candidates.

    February 9, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  16. JK Ashburn, VA

    Typical.... the CNN headline is not at all reflective of what he actually said. He said he'd support the best candidate. The headline creates sensationalism by hinting that he is against Republicans. He never said that. I guess I'd better start reading National Enquirer for fact-based news.

    February 9, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  17. Silent Observer

    You know, if Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama win the Presidency, that must be the end of Affirmative Action, period. If a minority or woman can reach the highest position in the entire country, they are clearly not as disadvantaged as portrayed.

    Just an observation...

    February 9, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  18. Jesse

    I was a Ron Paul supporter and have found that Barack is the next best thing and has an actual chance of winning this thing.

    February 9, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  19. jeff

    Colin Powell is a once distinguished voice silenced by his belief in WMD.

    February 9, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  20. ABC

    Obama is the only candidate that can pull voters across party lines.

    Hillary's high negatives would push people to McCain, or just not vote.

    If the dems want the white house, the nomination must go to Obama, else welcome President McCain.

    February 9, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  21. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Bush rewrote the meaning of experience so that's a very weak argument against Obama. Obama is simply the best.

    February 9, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  22. Rev.Richard Weaver

    To whom it may concern,
    I am most unhappy with the reaction people have to Senator Hillary Clinton.
    I think it is remarkable that we have a woman and an afro american
    interested in becomming president.
    I think people should focus on the issues.I truly hope that is the future
    direction we go.
    The gender issues need to go away.Thank you
    Rev.Richard Weaver rweaver@wcnet.org

    February 9, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  23. Mauricio Galvao Anderson

    Gel Powell is a non-person after that speech at the UN about WMD. He should wear his pijama, and watch TV. Save us from your thoughts...

    February 9, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  24. Jama

    I believe Obama will be the "ONLY" candidate on this election that can unite the country and restore our dignity abroad. Experience is what made us invaders, corrupt law makers, valueless in human rights and list goes on and on. We need a credible CHANGE and only Obama can achieve.

    February 9, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  25. shan

    Pres. = Barack Obama
    VP = Colin Powell

    (just imagine)

    February 9, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
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