(CNN) - Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who endorsed President Barack Obama in the 2008 election, said Sunday that while the president has addressed some of his campaign promises, he still has "got a way to go."
He credited Obama with stabilizing the economy, tackling health care reform and working with countries around the world, but declined to give the president a letter grade.
Powell, who worked in four presidential administrations – most recently under former President George W. Bush – said he expects a strong economic message at the State of the Union address Tuesday. He said the electorate was expecting that focus when Obama assumed office.
"I think he's working very hard on the issue of unemployment, which I think is the major problem facing America right now, and I think, and I hope, this will be the centerpiece of the State of the Union speech," Powell told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. "We didn't elect 'Superman,' we elected a human being."
Powell seemed to disagree with both sides of the aisle on ways in which to cut spending.
"I am put off when people say you are going to freeze spending" or roll it back to 2008 levels, Powell said. He said the "real money" is in entitlement programs like social security, Medicare and Medicaid, and not in funding for National Public Radio or the National Endowment for the Arts, as some have suggested.
"Don't tell me you're going to freeze to a level. That usually is a very inefficient way of doing it," Powell said. "Tell me what you're going to cut – and nobody up there yet is being very candid about what they're going to cut."
Obama has pledged to freeze non-defense discretionary spending and Republicans have said they want to continue at 2008 spending levels.
But Powell said Obama's energy and "youthful approach" have proved useful in foreign policy. He pointed to countries offering increased assistance in Afghanistan and a more positive rating for America around the world.
"There have been improvements, but at the same time, we could not expect everything to improve for the better all at once just because a new personality came on the scene," Powell said.
Although he would not say for certain what the future will include for American troops in Afghanistan, he said there will be "some level of withdrawal," this summer. He said progress will go backward, however; if military action is not backfilled with a functioning government. The Obama administration pledged a drawdown of troops by this summer.
"One year of surge has produced rather inconclusive results," Powell said. "There are some elements of success and some elements where I think there has been backsliding. I'm not sure where we're going to be in July."
Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.