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. RB

    Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way, Colin!

    August 13, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  2. Arizona Official

    Do not be afraid of what you believe in. Be strong and we all be working together as one people and one nation.

    August 13, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  3. Sherry, Atlanta


    August 13, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  4. James

    Bill Kristol is a clown.

    This would not be the first time that he has gone off half cocked and said something so wrong so confidently that he could intimitdate others into not questioning his knowledge.

    And if Powell does endorse Obama then what?

    Is this clown Kristol going to start disparaging this true American hero who we now know allowed himself to be used by the Bush/Cheney whitehouse?

    Bill Kristol. What a pud.

    August 13, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  5. Al

    Colin powell is a man to be *respected* no matter who he endorses
    The *BEST* person by far to come out of the Bush administration
    Obama should definitely consider him for VP

    August 13, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  6. Karen-phoenix

    I think Powell and C. Rice are both backing Obama!!! Go Obama

    August 13, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  7. former democrat

    He would compliment McCain nicely on the ticket

    August 13, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  8. Come together

    He would make a great president.

    August 13, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  9. Ralph V. AZ

    Powell is a true hero!

    Not a prefabricated counterfit hero like McCain that doesn't know where he stands if anything.

    Obama/Powell 08!

    August 13, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  10. Vig

    McCain should ask Powell to be his VP. That will give Blacks two choices instead of Mr. All-About-Me Obama.

    August 13, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |

    Colin Powell is one of the smartest men there is!! I'm glad he came out and smacked Bill Kristol who consistently lies just to carelessly throw anything out there to have it in the news for the moment. I welcome anyone else to spank him too!

    OBAMA '08.

    August 13, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  12. gdouglas

    Tell me that this support is not due to Obama being black, I dont think I would believe it though. i say the people of the USA lost out on their chance to get the best candiate and that person is Hilliary Clinton.

    August 13, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  13. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Colin Powell is a retired General who was in charge of our military men and women. McCain has never been in charge of anything and I like Powell can't find a reason to vote for McCain. America needs a leader not an old man.

    August 13, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  14. David Menifee, Ca

    He's dammed if do dammed if he don't he can't win. if he choice Obama he's voting for him because he's black and if he goes with McCain well I don't why he would do that after his experiences with the Bush administration.

    August 13, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  15. Ridgeway

    Who cares what he thinks. He's a senile as Carter.

    August 13, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  16. RM

    brother colin just keep "mum" and retire happily forever an independent consultant to DNC and RNC!!!!!!!

    August 13, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  17. Sherri

    Colin Powel was used by the Bush Administration. His support of Senator Obama would be a most welcome turn of events. I would love to see him as VP!

    August 13, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  18. Porter

    Well if Colin Powell says he hasn't decided then he must not have decided. Powell would never lie to us about something this important... or WMDs in Iraq.

    August 13, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  19. Peter

    Colin cares about our country

    August 13, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  20. Critical View

    Over 90% of African-Amercans support Obama. Let's see if Powell can stand the heat of peer pressure.

    August 13, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  21. TXBad1 Never for Obama (X-Dem)

    I will never Vote for Obama , But Collin Powell, Has more sense about the Democratic Party than its own leadership does! To Bad he did not run, I would Have easily Voted for him and his experience!

    August 13, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  22. Scott, West Chester OH

    Powell claimed to be a Republican when it suited his needs. He's really very liberal. Of course, he'll vote for a fellow African-American liberal. No surprise there.

    August 13, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  23. Darrel from Denver

    Powell as VP or in a Cabinet position kind of takes the wind out of the sails of McCains credentials in this theater, doesn't it?

    August 13, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  24. Rob

    Watch and see. Powell will endorse Obama. Why? Because Powell tolerated that nut case idiot Bush for four years while every bit of good advice Powell gave was ignored and Bush followed the advice of Darth Vader Cheney instead. Powell knows better than anyone that McBush is the third terrible term of Bush.

    August 13, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  25. Shaik

    Come on the right thing and redeem yourself in the eyes of the American people after that fiasco at the UN Security Council....undo the wrong by supporting the right candidate who will end the war

    August 13, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
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