August 13th, 2008
06:26 PM ET
6 years ago

Colin Powell adviser: He has not yet made his pick

Powell, a Republican, has said he may not back the GOP pick this cycle.
Powell, a Republican, has said he may not back the GOP pick this cycle.

(CNN) – Colin Powell’s office denied a FOX report by commentator Bill Kristol Wednesday that the retired general had decided to publicly back Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention.

Several sources told CNN the former Bush Secretary of State has not yet made a decision about a possible endorsement. “As always, he is holding his cards close and waiting for more information," one adviser close to Powell told CNN’s John King.

Powell himself brushed off queries on any potential presidential nod, but told ABC News Wednesday afternoon that he would not be going to Denver. "I do not have time to waste on Bill Kristol's musings,” he said. “I am not going to the convention. I have made this clear."

In February, Powell told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he was weighing an endorsement of a Democrat or Independent candidate. “I am keeping my options open at the moment,” said Powell.


“I have voted for members of both parties in the course of my adult life. 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,” he added.

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.”

On Wednesday, Powell’s adviser said that "he likes and admires John McCain, and that would be a factor in anything he does if he decides to get more involved."

Another source close to Powell said that he has known McCain for more than three decades “and likes him, and is looking for a reason to vote for him. He hasn't found it yet."

The former general, who has largely steered clear of politics since leaving the Bush 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.”

On Wednesday, Powell’s adviser said that the vice presidential picks for both candidates would be a major factor in his decision, both for the quality of each man’s running mate and what sort of “signal that choice sends about the character and judgment of the candidate."

He also said that a Powell decision to back Obama would not be a surprise – but a decision to attend the Democratic convention would be.


Filed under: Colin Powell
soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. Dave

    If I had any say in Obama's VP choice, my vote would be for Colin Powell.

    August 13, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  2. Larsen, MN

    Whatever, I'm not hold my breath. I'm supporting Obama, and that's all that matters to me.

    August 13, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  3. CRob

    Mr. Powell, please reconsider your choice to not run for office. You are easily one of the most respected and trusted men in all of America. I hope that whichever canidate wins they put Powell in their administration. He is the kind of person that is above politics and truly is in the best interest of the nation.

    August 13, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  4. Marie

    It's a shame about Powell. I once had so much respect for him. Now, it doesn't matter who he supports, his credibilty is shot. I'll never forget that bogus presentation he made at the UN. Sad.

    August 13, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  5. Peter (CA)

    I hope he does show up in Denver. It will be a wonderful moment as Powell will cause the independents to think more about Obama.

    Go for it General!

    August 13, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  6. aware

    Kudos Colin Powell! :)

    Not 100% black Americans for Obama! Some weigh the consequences! :(

    August 13, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  7. Sprayem [youtube name]

    If General Powell endorses Obama, obviously it will just be diminished to, "Its because he is Black." I would just keep it to myself. smh @ Reverse Racism. More ridiculous than actual racism. A Black person cannot support another Black person based off merit, or personality anymore.

    August 13, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  8. Ron Nebraska

    Cnn, release my comments from moderation in a more timely manner will you?

    August 13, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  9. Mauri

    While every one is free to endorse whomever they choose, I'm not sure I'd put too much weight to Condy Rice and Colin Powell's choices. Having said that, if Powell had run for office, I'd certainly have voted for him. He's experienced, has good character and the race of Powell or any other candidate is not a consideration here.

    August 13, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  10. My Friends, let me tell you,

    Powell didnt want to keep lying for the Neocon henchmen.He is a true Patriot.

    August 13, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  11. Anna C

    Tjaye:
    Not to delve too far into this, but sorry, TJaye, there are many people who think people will vote McCain because of his color, or against Obama because of his.
    Colin Powell is in a historic quandry, and that is a good thing.

    May he make the choice he can feel most at peace about.

    August 13, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  12. aware

    Take your time colin Powell! :)

    The half-white Obama thinks like a Black Liberation Theologian and a Globalist "citizen of the world" not an American! :(

    August 13, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  13. Arack Bobama

    Well, then just what DOES Powell waste his time on? It's not like he's a community activist, or has anything else on his empty calendar.

    August 13, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  14. Peter of Oregon

    Powell's the single member of the Bush administration that I've retained my full respect and admiration for.

    August 13, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  15. Indiana Bob

    Does it matter who Powell supports? I had the utmost respect for that man until he told such bold faced lies at the UN in making up excuses for invading Iraq. He doesn't deserve our respect after making a fool of himself and our country. And don't blame Bush. Powell could have refused and stepped down in honor. He eventually stepped down, but far too late to salvage any honor.

    .

    August 13, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  16. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    Rice will not endorse Obama, but she will vote for him in private. Schwarzenegger too.

    My bet is that Powell will endorse Obama.

    August 13, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  17. Democrat for John McCain

    Those republicans who will endorse Barack Obama should be fools. Barack is the most liberal senator and he will do anything to get to power. Once he is in power, his true colors will come out. Beware.

    August 13, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  18. Cara Richardson

    Karen-phoenix August 13th, 2008 7:21 pm ET

    I think Powell and C. Rice are both backing Obama!!! Go Obama
    _______________________________________________

    I have heard the same thing along with quite a few other repubs. Says a lot about McCain and how he is viewed in the party

    August 13, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  19. Paul from Texas

    Anyone could see months ago Powell will support Obama. Just maybe he is the surprise VP.

    August 13, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  20. check and checkmate

    Come on Gen. Powell, you and I were in the Nam, I don't think your going to base your choice on color. I believe you are a fair man that will choose a known quantity vs a unknown variable. I have a gut feeling your choice will be someone that is moderate, but willing to show some grit if needed.

    McCain/Ridge

    August 13, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  21. Priscilla

    Obama is Powell's only wise pick!

    August 13, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  22. Ellie, Boyds MD

    Colin Powell is the MAN!! It will be an HONOR to have this man endorse Sen.Obama.

    August 13, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  23. David (Atlanta)

    I think he should be consider for Secretary of State in Obama's administration.

    August 13, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  24. Obamacan

    I'll respect him no matter who he chooses. It's Gen. Powell, people. He was the voice of reason in the Bush administration that no one listened too, he was calm in a room full of zealots. If he goes for McShame, I'll still respect him, I just won't agree. Period.

    August 13, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  25. biffington, biff

    Bill Krystol is usually wrong about the direction of the sky being UP and the ground being DOWN....

    August 13, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
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