August 13th, 2008
06:26 PM ET
14 years ago

Colin Powell adviser: He has not yet made his pick

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Powell, a Republican, has said he may not back the GOP pick this cycle."]

(CNN) - Colin Powell’s office denied a FOX report by commentator Bill Kristol Wednesday that the retired general had decided to publicly back Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention.

Several sources told CNN the former Bush Secretary of State has not yet made a decision about a possible endorsement. “As always, he is holding his cards close and waiting for more information," one adviser close to Powell told CNN’s John King.

Powell himself brushed off queries on any potential presidential nod, but told ABC News Wednesday afternoon that he would not be going to Denver. "I do not have time to waste on Bill Kristol's musings,” he said. “I am not going to the convention. I have made this clear."

In February, Powell told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he was weighing an endorsement of a Democrat or Independent candidate. “I am keeping my options open at the moment,” said Powell.

“I have voted for members of both parties in the course of my adult life. And as I said earlier, I will vote for the candidate I think can do the best job for America, whether that candidate is a Republican, a Democrat, or an Independent,” he added.

Powell also offered praise for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, calling him an “exciting person on the political stage.

“He has energized a lot of people in America,” said Powell, who briefly weighed his own run for the White House in the mid-1990s. “He has energized a lot of people around the world. And so I think he is worth listening to and seeing what he stands for.”

On Wednesday, Powell’s adviser said that "he likes and admires John McCain, and that would be a factor in anything he does if he decides to get more involved."

Another source close to Powell said that he has known McCain for more than three decades “and likes him, and is looking for a reason to vote for him. He hasn't found it yet."

The former general, who has largely steered clear of politics since leaving the Bush administration in 2004, noted that the next president will need to work to restore America’s standing in the world.

“I will ultimately vote for the person I believe brings to the American people the kind of vision the American people want to see for the next four years,” he said. “A vision that reaches out to the rest of the world, that starts to restore confidence in America, that starts to restore favorable ratings to America. Frankly, we've lost a lot in recent years.”

On Wednesday, Powell’s adviser said that the vice presidential picks for both candidates would be a major factor in his decision, both for the quality of each man’s running mate and what sort of “signal that choice sends about the character and judgment of the candidate."

He also said that a Powell decision to back Obama would not be a surprise – but a decision to attend the Democratic convention would be.

Filed under: Colin Powell
soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. Franky

    Ohhh man, I don't expect the Colin man himself to endorse my boy. I could hear already the agony!!

    August 13, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  2. obama sucks

    like we as conservatives really CARE about Colin Powell's endorsement???? This guy is as big 'sour grapes' undermining everything that is right to sell out for race.

    The momentum has shifted and NoBama will lose.

    August 13, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  3. Dem

    "“I will ultimately vote for the person I believe brings to the American people the kind of vision the American people want to see for the next four years,” he said. “A vision that reaches out to the rest of the world, that starts to restore confidence in America, that starts to restore favorable ratings to America. Frankly, we've lost a lot in recent years.”"

    So basically Obama... since McCain doesn't really have a vision for America or the World other than Oil, nuclear power and backing Georgia in their conflict no matter how much they taunt Russia.

    Attack Obama
    The REAL John McCain

    August 13, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  4. NoOBAMA

    So, they keep saying it is not about race!?

    August 13, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  5. Joe Kiloz

    Colin Powell is a great man, as a matter of fact he would have won this election regardless of what party affiliation he chose.

    He is still reeling from the Iraq debacle and the blem it has left on his record. However, one must consider how clever the Iraquis were in masquerading the situation to get what they wanted, the overthrow of Saadam Hussein.

    He went out of his way to check with Clinton appointee CIA chief Tenet who told him and eventually the nation, that the WMD's were a "no brainer." Do any of you feel with those set of facts no matter who was in office they wouldn't have reacted differently ?

    I don't know who Mr. Powell will support, though I wish him well in that.

    I know down deep that Mr. Powell knows John McCain is an honorable man who made it a life work to give to his country above all, and that Mr. McCain is a kind and reliable person who will do the right thing for all of us, here and abroad.

    August 13, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  6. JS

    I deeply respect and admire General Powell and his wonderful wife. However should he indorse Obama, I would find that very painful to bare. Better that he should indorse noone then a full fledged Marxist. My only wish was that he was running. He would get my vote, my money and my undying support.

    August 13, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  7. Debby

    Yep okay Powell, but if you have known John McCain for decades and like him and only know Obama for a few months why wouldn't you endorse the decade one. This doesn't make any sense but this does endorsing and voting for Obama because he is black.

    August 13, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  8. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    I hope that General Powell will deliver a resounding endorsement to Senator Obama. It would be especially effective considering he's known Senator McCain for so long.

    As for VP, I think, based on the way the speaksers are set up, it's either Biden or Bayh. Or some person we don't know is being vetted.
    But outside of a "surpise", it's likely to be one of those two, and my guess is that it'll be Biden so as to keep that Senatorial seat in Dem control.

    August 13, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  9. Bayou Joe

    Any respect I have for Colin Powell will go down the drain if he decides to support Obama. I hope that he is hesitating because of Obama's ties with Bill Ayers and the Radical Left Wing of the Democratic Party.

    August 13, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  10. Walter

    If Powell does endorse Obama, he will find out just how fast the Republican chicken-hawks are to turn on somebody that they had claimed to respect.

    The Republicans' problem is that they only honor your service to America if you agree with their right-wing politics. You can ask John Kerry and Max Cleland about that.

    August 13, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  11. Voting Obama

    He doesn't even want to back the republicans.... We all know why!!!!!!

    Obama Baby!

    August 13, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  12. Ken

    Before people start making ignorant statements, I would like to say that this is NOT a race thing. Powell was thrown under the bus by the Bush administration and they have not treated the Republican very well. He is clearly not happy and wants change. I really hope an endorsement will come.

    Obama 08

    August 13, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  13. Pepou

    I hope Colin Powell makes the obvious choice : B. Obama. He has been insulted enough by the Bush administration and he is way to intelligent to support old foggy McCain.

    August 13, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  14. Jesse

    Obama should pick Kathleen Sebelius as VEEP and then get Powell to do a big endorsement before the convention.

    August 13, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  15. Adam

    I have always liked Colin Powell. I like how he thinks things through and picks the best option, whether it is his personal choice or not, he is willing to see both sides and figure out what is best.

    And he seems like he's a decent kinda guy.

    August 13, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |

    Does Powell have "dirt" on "The Vietnam Songbird?"

    August 13, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  17. not important

    He will not support Barack Obama. He will support McCain just like his other neocon friends Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and all the other neocons.

    August 13, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  18. Tennessee Mike

    Powell is like ole' David Gergen, not a helluva lot of substance there.

    If he and Papa Bush and Dickhead Cheney had the nuts and guts to let Schwarzkopf get Sadaam back in '91, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in.

    Powell was the token African-American, if he'd been white, he'd retired from the Army as a major.

    August 13, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  19. tai

    Any smart human being would not vote for a republicans after bush.

    August 13, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  20. trust

    Aw, FIXED NOISE is at it again with their lies.

    August 13, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  21. M. Winners, Mesa, AZ

    I was ready to vote for Gen. Powell if he would have elected to run for POTUS a few years back. A great individual with a fair and balanced outlook on the key issues of national security, international politics, human rights and economic issues.
    It's unforgivable that Bush used his stature on the world stage and loyalty to the CIC only to throw him under the bus to advance the very personal Bush v. Hussain family feud (Think Hatfields and McCoys).
    I don't really care who Gen. Powell endorses – it won't effect my opinions about him one iota – However, I must admit I do hope it's Obama...

    August 13, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  22. Bud

    After the way Bush & Company threw Colin Powell under the bus with false information as he addressed the U.N., I should think he would change his party affiliation. McSame is just more of the Bush political theology. Colin Powell could serve a Democratic President very well, as he TRIED to serve in the best interests of the USA under Senor Bush.

    August 13, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  23. good for powell

    whomever powell chooses, Be it republican he be labled "bush dog for bush candidate" be it democrat he'd be labled " race before policy"

    August 13, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  24. flavoter

    General Powell is my pick for Sen. Obama's VP. Oh Sh!T I forgot people in this country only talk about being diverse when it sounds good or they want to pat themselves on the back.

    This country has great people that are not being utilized, but individuals like Bush, McCain and Cheney are chosen to lead us into total darkness.....America it's time we all come together and bring this country (From Darkness to Light). Nothing can ever change unless people want change and take a stand for true change..

    Collin how many times did cheney really use those slurs we hear about, when you guys argued about there rush to war...

    Obama 08

    August 13, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  25. Gene

    I hope he endorses Obama. This is one endorsement that people may be swayed by.

    August 13, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
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