(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.
I wonder if Bush supporting Mitt was because they are both white.
I think Powell may be grooming himself to replace Clinton as Secretary of State when she quits at the end of the year. Not a bad idea either...we'll see what happens after Obama is re-elected.
I think it's far more likely that it's a "race factor" when white people vote for Romney. I happen to be white - but I THINK and I READ and that's why I voted early for Obama.
John Sununu is a racist. The Tea Party Republican party is racist.Willard the Mormon is Racist.
God help this country.
Powell endorsement???? Who cares????
It is obvious that Sununu is supporting Mitt Romney because he is white.
Mitt the twits campaign uses the race card. How presidential?
So basically he's supports Obama due to the color of his skin. Modernized racism. Very typical for this group . . .
So the support that Romney received from former President George H.W. Bush is not because they are both white men?
Even if his sole reason for endorsing President Obama was their shared race, let him! 350 years of slavery and racist policies against our people, nothing but old white men as presidents since our founding, and you get bent out of shape for this?!? Give us at least this ONE!!
Powell knows Mitt's plans: Start a war with Iran, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon. Powell knows Mitt is sending young American soldiers to die for no reason.
Yeah yeah play the race card. Maybe it's because Powell realizes what a catastrophe Romney is..
Colin Powell is a rational, thinking man who has been burned by the GOP and their shifting policies and outright lies more than once. Gen. Powell pointed out that Mitt Romney has shifted his positions often, and can't really be trusted. Seems the fact that Romney is a flake and a liar are larger factors in his decision to support President Obama than their shared race. The GOP always goes for the lowest level of thought and playing the race card here was shameful on Sununu's part, but to be expected from this GOP snake in the grass.
That is absolutely ridiculous. It's predictable that some would think that. How sad.
I should support Sununu because I am white. Right...John?
How many slight "tip of the hand" until the American public accepts the GOP is filled with those representing the bigots at heart? Granted, for many Americans that has been an unspoken desire in their govt reps, they just don't want it out in the air! Hope NBC or one of the networks pulls a Fox News and repeats a storyline over and over; the GOP is the party for bigots, the GOP is the party for bigots. Not saying that about Romney and all Repubs of course, Romney just represents that super elitist, been in an offshore glass castle for decades and has no fricken clue what a vast majority of Americans are going through Republican, Vile bunch as a whole, especially those Reagan-Bush era dark lords.
Oh good grief!
John Sununu is a tool. If Mitt Romney has ANY sense at all, he will publicly dismiss this f00l.
The US was already getting out of Iraq prior to Obama becoming President. So. if he wants to take credit for following through with that, then more power to him.
Kinda like if Steve Jobs put a plan in place for introducing a new Apple Device, and then left the company, and then Obama joined the company and completed the release of the device. Who should get credit?
So then if a white person supports Mitt Romney are we to question whether it is because they are of the same race???
CNN - REALLY? Do you hate blacks so much that you would post this story with this headline just to throw red meat to your bigot commenters? Soon this page will be filled with hateful words against blacks. How come no one asks if race is a factor when a white person supports a white person? And no one says it is "bias" when a man supports another man?? I am Black and have voted for white candidates 99% of the time!! I am voting Obama because I am a Democrat.
God knows, we white folk should stick together. Only, I would rather stick to the bottom of my shoe than to you, Johnny boy.
Finally a republican that will tell the truth. Economy is getting better!
I love Republican whites. Black people have voted for white people their whole lives, then when they vote for one black person, it's because of race. Meanwhile, there are a lot of them that are voting for Romney because of race.
Did Sununu also claim that Bush was voting for Romney because their both white?
I am done with Romney....This is the same crowd from Bush's era, a bunch of idiots.