October 26th, 2012
11:46 AM ET
2 years ago

Booker: Sununu's comment was 'unfortunate'

(CNN) – Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a top surrogate for President Barack Obama's campaign, said Friday that a surrogate for Mitt Romney made the wrong call when he argued Colin Powell endorsed Obama because they shared the same race.

"Whatever he meant or not, it was a statement that is unfortunate and just reflects a lack of understanding and sensitivity," Booker said on CNN's "Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien."

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He added: "He's gotten himself in a jam and he's going to wear that jam for a while."

Speaking on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight," Romney surrogate John Sununu on Thursday 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."

Booker on Friday said the "responsible thing to do" would be for the Romney campaign to issue their own statement.

"But the one thing I don't like about our political culture is we take one person's comments–stupid or not–and then we just try to spread it out and lay it over anything," Booker said. "Mitt Romney didn't say this, so it's the kind of thing for me that's just a dumb comment."

Booker was in the spotlight himself earlier this year for criticizing his own party's attacks against Romney's corporate career and saying political language used on both sides of the aisle is "nauseating." He later walked back his remarks.

Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee, also weighed in on Sununu's comments on "Starting Point." Asked if he thought Powell voted for Obama because of race, Sessions sad, "no, I think you would have to ask Colin Powell."

"You could say that I endorse Mitt Romney, but that's not just because I'm a white man," Sessions continued. "We all have things which we're for, which we support. Colin Powell believes the president is heading down the right path. I simply disagree on this issue with Colin Powell."


Filed under: 2012 • Cory Booker • John Sununu
soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. Barak Lincoln

    Sununu and Romney have not offered one intelligent thought to the political discourse. These are two bigots that ought to proudly bring out their hoods and sheets and frankly its sad. They are cowards and very unamerican. Sununu is only voting for Romney because he is White; he talks about how the President needs to learn how to be an American while he's from Cuba, WOW! This is pure racism at its core: Blacks have always been accused of being unamerican, half juman, lazy and dumb, all the labels that Romeny, Sununu, Chaney, and Trump as well as the GOP congress has labeled the President. These are ignorant sad fools that cant stand the idea of a Black man being in authority

    October 26, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. Expat American

    Secretary Powell’s endorsement is important in regards to foreign policy.

    We saw that Romney had no opinion on foreign policy at the last debate; other than the President is doing a good job.

    The reason is pretty clear to see. As President, Romney would defer all foreign policy to those from the Bush/Cheney regime; the majority of which are running his campaign.

    The same is true for domestic and economic policy.

    Romney is nothing but a puppet. Same Bush/Cheney Wine in a different Bottle.

    Ask yourself, would you want Paul Ryan a heartbeat away from the red button? Paul Ryan will be too busy putting rape victims in jail to answer the phone at 2am.

    October 26, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. Ben

    Blacks have been voting mostly Democratic for years. They average 90%. Blacks mosty voted for Obama because he was a Democrat, not because he was black. I'll bet there are more whites voting for Romney because he ISN'T black than blacks that vote for Obama because he is black. Sununu's a bigot, plain and simple.

    October 26, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  4. JHA in Texas

    Fmr. GOP New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu has tossed his body of work in govt. into the dumpster. It was a short trip, since he was fired as White House Chief of Staff by BUSH I over corruption charge.

    Sununu has acted as Romney's attack dog, he has smeared and seriously disrepected the United States of America. I found his words and behaviour unAmerican and criminal and 100 % racist. Sununu has made all of Romney's campaign racial attacks against our 1st black US President. It is time GOP Romney campaign reins in their foaming at the mouth mad dog.

    Gen. Colin Powell has served this country with honor and distinction, place his life on the line in defense of this country, and when asked has served in several White House adminstrations beginning with Reagan. I found Sununu dragging "race" into the election, a sad desperate Romney campaign attempt to stop bleeding of their losing campaign. Gen. Powell is a officer, statesman, warrior and gentleman. It is ashame the Romney campaign & Sununu cannot follow his example, but seek to drag him down to scummy level.

    October 26, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  5. Strategic Bob

    Ann Salter,

    the Democratic candidate would be getting 90% of the vote whether he or she was black, white, or purple with yellow polka-dots. there may be a racial preference issue there (and there isn't with Romney?) but it is also about policy preferences. what is disturbing to me is that there isn't more white support for a President with policies that would help the country move forward to a better place. why do so many whites support a candidate and party whose expressed policy positions have put this country into the toilet, not once but repeatedly?

    this 61 year old white man, born in the South, will be voting for Obama, not because he is black or because he is a Democrat, but because my study of history, economics, international relations, national security (34 years in uniform, retired as an O-6), and public policy issues tells me that, of the two choices available, Governor Romney represents the worst possible alternative.

    as for my track record in predicting Presidential failures, I did not trust Nixon and I predicted Jimmy Carter would be a terrible President. I also predicted that George W. Bush would make Carter look good. I feel history has validated both predictions and my distrust of Nixon. I trust my judgment on these kinds of issues. Mitt Romney would be a disaster of epic proportions for this country. I hope I don't get a chance to see this validated.

    October 26, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  6. My Rhode

    It's time for Mr. Sununu to return to his country of birth, CUBA, until he can "Learn How To Be An American."

    For a fellow who is not even a U.S. native, unlike the President, one can only characterize the shabby rhetoric Sununu now peddles on our shores, as exemplifying the "Audacity of HATE."

    October 26, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. Reggie from LA

    BinaryTooth: But... It's true.
    -----------
    I knew it would only take a moment to find sentiment like ol Briney Toot. For as many times as Powell has voted GOP, what would be one more? The answer is he knows what Romeny's record looks like and what he and Ryan are proposing and of course, knowledge of what the GOP presidency will be based upon is whatever high-contributing oligargarchs and plutocrats have already scripted. Getting rid of Obamacare, EPA, Planned Parenthood. All the things that help America, but put a thorn in the sides of special interests who don't give a rat about the most of us. What about white Republicans who would prefer to vote Obama, Toot? I can only imagine what Toot and Sununut are saying about them.

    October 26, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. quinLee

    robert Davis: Deny all you want. Hope and Change– He has divided this country more than ever..Where is the outrage over libya
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________

    So by your rationale it's Obama's fault that some people are racists and Republicans have refused to cooperate in any fashion. Or better yet, it's Obama's fault that the Rep have done everything in their power to stoke fear and hatred to gain an advantage. Here's and idea for you and the rest of the hypocritical Right, take responsibility for your own actions-unless you are part of the 47%.

    October 26, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  9. mulwillie

    This is not the first time that Sununu has played the race card attempting to bring bigotry into the race to favor Romney.

    These are shameful comments by Sununu but the real shame is on Romney. Romney not only keeps this man as a surrogate for his campaign but keeps putting him out there stoking the flames of racism.

    October 26, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. USPatriot

    What a stupid comment! NH voters voted for him to be governor. They gravely made huge mistake putting a lowly racist into american politics main stream.

    October 26, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  11. Canuck Observer

    Sununu comes across as a bloated blowhard, low on intelligence and high on being malicious. Have another doughnut Mr. Sonunu

    October 26, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. Robert

    Colin Powell's endorsement has convinced me to vote for the president.

    October 26, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  13. Aaron Bakken

    Sununu is a truly offensive individual who doesn't even know how to lie well. Why does the press continue to even give him air time? Would like to see him crawl back under the rock he's been hiding under.

    October 26, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  14. @GuileOfTheGods

    So according to Sununu's theory, he's only voting for Romney because he's white? Isn't that how it works?

    October 26, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. KolobCalling

    When two white men run for POTUS, more than half of white people vote for one of them and the rest of voters vote for the other guy. Which voting group is racist? Since we never had a Black person as POTUS, there is are no records to compare to make such a statement that people of color only vote based on color. The majority of Black people did not support Sharpton when he made an attempt to run for president. I guess Black people who vote for Mittwit have Romnesia re his racist mormon religion or maybe they forgot that they are Black based on NuNu's reasoning.

    October 26, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  16. P4Persepctive

    I find it fascinating that blacks even vote democratic. Do you all recall the term "Dixie Democrats"...which was the movement with the Democrat Party in the South aligned to states rights and keeping segregation in place. Look it up.

    October 26, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  17. Ray

    Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama has convinced me to vote for Mitt Romney.

    October 26, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  18. ghostriter

    Mr. Booker is wrong. Sununu is a Romney surrogate. He should probably kick him off the team. But Romney won't do that.

    Republicans, if you thought Biden's comment on chains is worse than this, You may not be the brightest cookie in the jar.

    October 26, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. Ideas, Ideals, not ideologies

    John changed his statement the next day. Whenever Sununu makes takes a position just wait a day or two for him to change his mind. Kind of like his Romney. I guess he suffers from Romneysia.

    October 26, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. The bottom line..

    So how many people are voting for Romney only because he is white?

    October 26, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  21. Rick McDaniel

    Actually, Sununu said exactly the truth. Blacks are voting for a black man, no matter how BAD his job performance, has been, including blacks who have been traditionally, Republicans.

    The people who actually care the most about skin color, are now very obvious, and it isn't the white community.

    October 26, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  22. NVa Native

    Not all Repubs are rascist, but pretty much all rascists are Repubs. Along with Sunnunuu anyone who claims that black people vote for someone because of only their color – that person is a bigot.

    October 26, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. Pam

    The GOP mantra this election has been "open mouth....insert foot".
    When will these yahoos understand that taking it back later does not take it back?
    Apologize all you want....you said it.....and we won't forget what you said!
    Maybe you politicians should learn to think first!

    October 26, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  24. WhatIF

    It's sad that someone like Colin Powell can't be a presidential candidate. I know he has no desire to run for the office but even if he did, I'm afraid he won't get the Republican nomination. What does that say about the GOP?

    October 26, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  25. Dennis Freeman

    An angry, old man whose time has passed

    October 26, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
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