(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."
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why don"t you gop listen to powell you may learn something about governing.
Colin Powell is the voice of reason. I would love to see him run for president as an independent. It would force the two major parties to the center. Perhaps reason,sanity and civility would prevail instead of this whacked out extreme left and extreme right mentality that exists in modern politics.
Didn't Rush Limbaugh excommunicated Powell from the Republican Party?
Independents thus far have shown appreciation for the work President Obama is doing, they know their politics.
he has two years to go...powel....did we say it to Bush, or Reagan when they messed like animals in barn....all across the US land....
Of course he still has work to do – it's only two years into his Presidency, and as Powell said, he has already stabilized the economy, worked on healthcare reform and improved our relationships with foreign countries. I'd say job well very well done so far in view of what he inherited. Now let's give him the room and support to finish what he started.
How about a headline that says "Powel Praises How Obama Has Handled Many Important Issues" or "Powel Says Obama Has Improved International Relations" which would be true. Your two headlines have had negative intonations. Is the writer of this article Republican?
The President needs to end both wars and cut Defense Spending literally in half. It is absolutely doable: thousands of bases are not needed, overkill weaponry is not needed, a standing army the size of ours is not needed. STOP THE WARS, CUT THE GUNS, AND YOU'LL BALANCE THE BUDGET.
Colling Powell is an honorable man with personal achievements. But he showed himself weak when dealing with politicans, mostly when he signed on (and sold part of his soul) with the GW Bush administration. He is not in a very good position to "grade" President Obama. Mr. Powell withered under political manipulations of the Bush administration. President Obama has stayed the course and not faded away even under the meanest attacks the GOP and the teaparty have thrown at him.
Oh, by the way, let's see what 'accomplishments' the party of NO has to show by Nov 2012. So far, nothing but heated rhetoric.
Powell admits that President Obama has stabilized the economy, tackled health care, and has a foreign policy. He admits that the president has been working hard to correct the unemployment. Right wingnuts forget that "W" told Americans that we were on the brink of a major depression, and that gasoline was $4 a gallon in the last summer of the Bush experiment in 2008. Baggers forget that, not only did a great depression not occur, but 1.3 million private sector jobs have been created in 2010, despite the extremists vowing to make the president a one termer.
From his picks of Palin, Bauchman, Giuliani, looks like he'll be supporting Obama again.
If he still has work to do (in the wrong direction like he has been) then stop him now. He SEEMS to be taking on a more middle of the road approach but only time will tell.
Independents have shown support for Obama? Maybe that explains the midterm beating democrats took, right? Ha ha
Obama did every thing he can to build the economy the problem is republicans