October 26th, 2012
11:46 AM ET
1 year 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. ART

    Any respect I ever had for John Mccain as a military man just went out the window after I heard his response to Collin Powell endorsing President Obama. This man has no shame and actually disgust me,he needs to retire and let the new generation take over because it is obvious he has lost what little mind he had left

    October 26, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  2. plenty

    Sununu like so many of his fellow gop members are hopelessly bigoted and don't even realize it.

    October 26, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  3. Canuck

    @Bob
    " But, the real issue and question here is why Obama can't even acknowledge that he half-white, and worse yet, why he doesn't even acknowledge his white Mother..."

    Weirdest comment of the day IMO. Even if the statement was true why is it the real issue and question?

    October 26, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  4. NVa Native

    And how many mormons do you think are voting for Obama? But they're not rascists are they.
    Let me guess – not even the black ones!

    October 26, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  5. REGinAZ

    Race bias definately exists and that is a real shame because it is then used, as Sununu demonstrates, to manipulate those with a prejudice to believe propaganda and then to take a position, even vote, against their own best interests – against what could be clear to them should they put biases, prejudices, hyped up fears, stired up emotions and blind loyalties aside and rather rationally and objectively considered the truth.

    October 26, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. Barak Lincoln

    ...And Romney will not reject the racial comments of Romney or Sununu. Romney was a Bishop in his church which discriminated against Blacks until 1978. Its in him that he is better than the President. He has no respect for President Obama, at all, he despises the thought of a Black man being the president of the United States. This is a sick individual and though I'm Black and Democrat I have voted for Republican's also and really like Sen. McCain until he choose an individual that was not qualified to be on that level of political discourse. This is serious business, and its time out for electing individuals because they feel its their turn or right!

    October 26, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  7. Sue

    There's not a single republican in existence that has a thought of their own. They are mindless lackeys who spout of ugly rhetoric and lies in order not to offend the vapid tea party and the wealthy super pac contributors who have poured millions into the coffers of republican candidates. John Sununu is no exception. You have 2 elements remaining in the GOP – 1)the "young guns" (i.e. Eric Cantor/Paul Ryan who think their "something" doesn't stink) and the old fossils like Sununu who miss the limelight of the political scene and don't understand that their remarks are totally irrelevant!

    October 26, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. Brian

    He's a bigot, plain and simple. As a white male, I will tell you that this way of thinking is very prevalent among the white demographic. I know, stating the obvious. Conversely, white males will vote the very same way, for the white candidate based on race.

    October 26, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. Joe from Boston

    Dining on wingtips again, Mr. Sununu?

    Another fine example of Willard's brain trust.

    October 26, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  10. Jo Ann

    So is Sununu voting for Romney because he's "somebody of your own race that you're proud of"?

    October 26, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  11. C. K. Justus

    Maybe Sununu was implying that George Herbert walker Bush indorsed Romney because he is white?
    Maybe Sununu will vote for Romney because he is white for he certainly has not put forth a plan other than give people like Sununu a massive tax cut on top of the Bush tax cuts so they can fill their Cayman Islands and Swiss bank accounts and let the middle class bear the burdens of this country while filling the pockets of people Sununu and Romney!!

    October 26, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  12. sununucoward

    sununu like cheney never served 1 DAY in military or reserves. Not 1 day. yet they denouce people who put their lives on the line. SHAME on Sununu, the coward.

    October 26, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. n, tx

    Sanunu is a racist man and Romney what can we call him, rich person with no moral and only for rich. So sanunu so white people are voting for Romney so is it a race thing. U are one stupid person grow up.

    October 26, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  14. sieben13

    The REAL person will come out if you continue to make comments in public. The comment by sununu came from his racist heart & reflects the mentality of many repuglicans .

    October 26, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  15. Penny Wright

    Confucius say:"Republican back in White House put America back in poor house."

    October 26, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  16. sieben13

    the comments by sununu reflects the RACIST mentality that he and many repuglicans have

    October 26, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  17. Richard

    Once again we are talking about someone(John Sununu) who is nobody in the political circle A washed up no power having ex governor who is looking for a seat at the table. He was lousy when in office and still sucks now. So because Colin Powell supports thePOTUS its because he did it for race. NO!!! He understands that the Republican party sucks after seeing how it used him to do its dirty work on IRAQ. Liars, Liars and more Liars. As a service member who served and lost friends in Iraq I cant stand politicians that cant be honest. Pick up a weapon and prove yourself.

    October 26, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  18. bigdawg1

    Regarding Sunny-boo-boo: Stupid is as stupid does!

    October 26, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  19. DCBill

    Whether Colin Powell made his endrosement or not, the GOP would have found a way–already have found ways–to inject race into the presidential equation.

    It's their stock position and there is very little in the GOP recent history which argues otherwise. (Just look at all of those Tea partiers!)

    If Romney wins, you can expect him to bleat about his predecessor's mistake not allowing Romney to do all of the things he promised.

    Of course, he's promised everything to everyone, since he has been on both sides of virtually every major issue since chasing after the GOP nomination.

    October 26, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  20. Cosmo Delirium

    I always try to discover the motivation of others through the prism of what motivates me. I guess Sununu uses the same method.

    October 26, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. Dave

    As the Republicants movefurther away from the center and toward radical right, they want you to think that the Democratic candidates are moving left. This sort of makes them think it is an equalizer. The fact that no such thing has happened does not affect their addled little minds. The Democratics are the center these days. Much t the dismay of the further left.

    October 26, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  22. Rosslaw

    And Sununu, fired from his post as Bush One's chief of staff due to his relentless stupidity and toxicity, is a relentlessly stupid and toxic idiot. Where's the newsworthiness of that.

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

    I think John Sununu has revealed himself over the last year to be a bigot of the first order. It's one thing to be an enthusiastic supporter of Mitt Romney. It's quite another to say that any black who supports Obama is doing so solely because of Obama's skin color. He insults Colin Powell, one of the most respected Republicans/Americans with total impunity. There's no room for this kind of rhetoric in our political discourse. Sununu is a global embarrassment to our form of government.

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

    I am ashamed of the GOP party on the whole. So many backwards ideas and thoughts out there. This isn't the 1200's

    October 26, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  25. Iamjustsaying

    Major Booker – As a veteran General Collin Powell is in the best position to understand American best interests one of the most critical things I learned in the military is that one race count is that race is cohension – work together and do our best. Gen Powell is absolutely correct and you are also. The most depressing factor for me is all of the racism which is significant within the Republician Party – Other nations are see it, and the wage workers who have love in theitr hearts for their fellow man see the hypocrisy – it is unfortunate to see some much hatred and lies being told on the President based on ignorance.

    October 26, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
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