October 25th, 2012
10:34 PM ET
2 years ago

Sununu cites race as factor for Powell’s Obama endorsement

(CNN) - John Sununu, a top surrogate for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, said Thursday that Colin Powell’s repeat endorsement of President Barack Obama could be explained partly by the two men’s shared race.

Speaking on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight,” Sununu downplayed the importance of the former secretary of state’s endorsement, pointing to the support Romney’s received from former President George H.W. Bush. He went on to explain that Powell’s endorsement of Obama didn’t rely solely on the political issues at hand.

"When you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to look at whether that's an endorsement based on issues or he's got a slightly different reason for endorsing President Obama," Sununu said, adding: "I think when you have somebody of your own race that you're proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him."

Later, Sununu released a statement saying "Colin Powell is a friend and I respect the endorsement decision he made and I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the President's policies."

Sununu also pointed to Morgan's original question, which was whether Powell should leave the Republican Party.

"I don't think he should," Sununu wrote.

Powell, who served as the first African American secretary of state under President George W. Bush, made his endorsement earlier Thursday, citing a number of issues not related to race as reasons he was backing Obama for a second time.

The Republican said he believe the economy is "starting to pick up" and attributed the recovery to the president's polices, citing specifically the auto industry bailout and Obama's economic proposals. "Generally we've come out of the dive and we're starting to gain altitude," he said.

Powell said he was "uncomfortable" with Romney's tax plans and views on foreign policy. Pointing to Monday night's final presidential debate, Powell argued the GOP nominee had changed positions on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The former secretary of state said he was concerned with the advice Romney was getting from campaign staff.

"I think there are some very, very strong neo-conservative views that are presented by the governor that I have some trouble with," Powell said, though he did not elaborate on which views.

"I also saw the president get us out of one war, start to get us out of a second war and did not get us into any new wars," he said.

Powell made headlines when the former George W. Bush administration official, who also worked for President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush, crossed party lines and supported Obama last cycle.

CNN's Jim Acosta contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Colin Powell • John Sununu • President Obama
soundoff (241 Responses)
  1. commonvoiceoo1

    If Sununu is your pitchman for a better America or free world...Romney, we have a problem! Where does Romney find these retread segregationist...it appears he has a binder full of them!. America refuse to go backwards...some of our senior citizen want things the way it use to be. Sorry, not only is America changing...the whole world is changing. Every country and ethnic goup has begun to stand up and particpate in making the world a better place.

    October 25, 2012 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  2. freedom

    I like Sununu's guts, intellect, and guts !!! He rocks!

    October 25, 2012 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  3. umass89

    Powell states clearly why he supports Obama and it has nothing to do with race. Sununu is an embarrassment. I guess he fits right in with the GOP.

    October 25, 2012 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    Sununu should be ashame for playing the "race" card. Powell was correct to endorse the better candidate.

    October 25, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  5. Texas

    Sununu...you are irrelevant. Give it up.

    October 25, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  6. Jim Taylor

    Everything that I know of General Powell suggests that his endorsement is in spite of kindred race, not because of it. The injection of race into this endorsement is John Sununu's own doing. It's too bad, really. I used to have some respect for Sununu, but the rabble-rousing half-truths and outright lies he has propounded in this campaign has destroyed his credibility completely.

    October 25, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  7. ga.democrat

    John Sununu is a top Romney surrogate. Enough said. Frightening!

    October 25, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  8. blkpwr817

    Although he's a complete idiot, you have to give him props for saying what was on his mind. Most people feel the same way but are too chicken to say it. Powell is no fool, black or white, anybody with common sense can see that Romney is nothing more than GW Bush 2.0. America just can't handle those reckless GOP ways right now. I believe that anyone voting for Romney just has plain ol back woods disdain for President Obama. Can't be for his policies. Because Romney himself doesn't know what he's going to do in office. Many of Romneys colleagues say that he'll do anything just to win an election. So lying means nothing to him. Bottom line Sununu is a loser jst like his presidential candidate will be come Nov. 6...

    Obama 2012!

    October 25, 2012 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  9. algeriatouchshriek

    And the GOPers are calling the Dems desperate. Ha!

    October 25, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  10. Michael

    The fact that a tick like Sunnunu supports him should be reason enough for people to vote against Willard.

    October 25, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  11. Jack

    Lets see if a white rich guy endorses another white rich guy NOT racists or endorsed because they are rich. But if a black endorses a black the reason is color of skin. I guess Sununu. like most repubicans, thinks White Rich guys have the corner on what is best for America. Hypocrites to the Right of me.

    October 25, 2012 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  12. Name jay haro

    John sununu is pathetic. To make a comment towards a greatly respected man is just out of line.

    October 25, 2012 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  13. randy buist

    We should only expect so much from a Romney follower. We only say such stupid things when it pertains to a black man, but white men get passes for every stupid thing that comes out our drooling mouths.

    October 25, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  14. ncooty

    Everything is black and white for the GOP.

    October 25, 2012 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  15. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Sununu is just upset that Powell is regaining some of his reputation after his time in the Bush administration. Powell has some valid critizism of Romney.

    October 26, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  16. Namelaura

    Sununu lives in NeverNeverland!

    October 26, 2012 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  17. NameTomo

    I would cite that race is a factor in why Sunoco endorses Romney!

    October 26, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  18. J.V.Hodgson

    CNN the third paragraph of this is largely in quotes but in the middle before Sununu responds its Piers Morgan asking " what does that mean?"
    The leaving out of that question makes the later sort of withdrawals more meaningful. As though he had no time to further elaborate originally. He chose to give a racist reponse against a former Sec of State and a Republican.
    The moral terpitude of these Republicans especially severely conservative republicans seems irrelelvant to them when election campaigning.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    October 26, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  19. n

    Sununu is a big fat bigot jerk! If there is any racial bias in the room, it's the room full of elephants gaged in the republican leadership and base trunk of lies . . . Driven by Romney the snake oil salesman. Period.

    October 26, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  20. bcrunner

    Sununu is a very ugly person!! Of course he would bring race into this... remember what he said after President Obama lost the first debate.. Mr. Obama was lazy... hint hint!! you know.... black people are lazy..... What a jerk!!

    October 26, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  21. honies123

    Powell should come out of the closet and join the liberal democrats. You are either for the liar or for the honest man. You can't be for both. Obummer has been lying for the last four years, why should he change now?

    October 26, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  22. jane

    John Sununu is a small, bitter man.

    October 26, 2012 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  23. Donkey Party

    Sununu is a disgrace to humanity. Do these GOP pigs forget that President Obama is half white? Disgusting is too kind of a word for the right-wing sub-humans.

    October 26, 2012 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  24. JimB

    Sununu is disgusting. Is this best Romney surrogates can do? This is pure racism. It seems with Limbaugh et al, the media no longer knows when to call someone out on their racism. The GOP continues to alienate people of color. It might cost them this election and it will surely hurt in the years ahead. Disgusting...

    October 26, 2012 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  25. AK_steve

    How do you even respond to such ignorance? The GOP is the most out of touch, insensitive and outdated political party in US history. Get these 1960 neo-nuts out of here.

    October 26, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
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