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. J.C.

    '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."'

    Same here! I am still undecided. In fact, there may be more undecided than before. Just look at the CNN's Poll of Polls. The total % of both major candidates have been consistently lower than 91% of 8/4/2008.

    August 13, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  2. Adrian

    Bill Kristol, neoconservative warmonger, makes yet another failed prediction.

    If there is a God, this notorious "little demonic dwarf" will surely rot in Hades for the human suffering he has enabled.

    August 13, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  3. ral-OH

    I think Colin Powell would make a great Vice President for
    Barack Obama.

    What a surprise that would be, crossing the aisle to another
    party for the VP pick.

    He has alot to bring to the table, with his background and Obama
    desire to change things to the better – what two better individuals
    to do it.

    Obama / Powell 08

    August 13, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  4. William, from Cali!

    Colin Powell was once a highly decorated "military man", now; he's....... 'just another politican"................playing the game of "politics". wisely and shrewdly!

    August 13, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  5. aaaaa


    August 13, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  6. Jerry, Florida

    The one and only reason Mr. Powell would endorse Senator Nobama is because he's Black. Mr. Powell would never be forgiven by the Black community if he did otherwise. If he was as smart as I think he is, he would stay neutral.

    Also, Mr. Powell is well aware of Senator Nobama's inexperience and lack of credentials for the highest office in the land. After all, Senator Nobama just stopped by the U.S. Senate long enough to ask for directions to the Oval Office.

    August 13, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  7. Puffy

    The Bush adminitration have used him in front of the UN to make biggg faux statements and try to finish this carrier off. Make him look bad we anderstand the game now! Joint us please!!!

    August 13, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  8. ex-Republican for Obama

    The man Powell is describing is Obama. Hope he can be persuaded to go to Denver.

    August 13, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  9. Ex-Obama Democrat for McCain

    He can only help the Democrats because right now Obama looks like a weakling and a punk in the face of this newest problem with Russia. Where is he....still surfing in Hawaii? McCain is looking competent, capable and presidential. I think it's time both the Democratic congress and Obama both get off their tails and show some leadership and GET BACK TO WORK.
    Kathryn Amherst MA

    August 13, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  10. Jay

    Colin, the truth will set you free!

    Obama 08

    August 13, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  11. Ken

    Waht a joke! We all know who Powell is going to vote for. Why is the media even questioning him about it. Besides, what difference will it make? NOTHING!

    August 13, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  12. Jim

    They said on national news radio today that McCain doesn't know how to use a computer.....either he is incompetent or a true elitist who can't be bothered with things like punching a keyboard.....nine homes....dumped his wife for a millionaire's daughter.....

    August 13, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  13. Paul in Dallas

    I think even Bush will be backing Obama before mcCain is through.

    August 13, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  14. Donna from Colorado Springs

    I wish that Powell would back Obama. I think it would help him greatly.As for him being chosen for veep.....I don't think so

    August 13, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  15. kevin from kc

    Obama needs Colin to seal the deal!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 13, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  16. Jan Il.

    Sir, I sincerely hope that your options are left open for the rest of your career. Some say your a hero, I saw you break from the Bush administration just after your speech declaring that there were WMDs I believe that you knew the truth,same as Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rove. What you did not do was, Come out on the White House steps and scream the truth to all of us who were at the time preparing to send our sons to a war that was lies. I will never support you, You Sir are No Hero to me.

    August 13, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |


    OBAMA 08

    August 13, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  18. Alexis

    @Krisiten last I checked celebrities were still human and americans and you dont have to be a celebrity to be self indulgent.

    August 13, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  19. JK Ashburn, VA

    Endorsements? Who cares? People need to learn to think on their own - something in very short supply in most of the politcal blogs on CNN.

    August 13, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  20. Vigla


    You obviously have no idea how inernational diplomacy works, so don't try to tell us that Obama's ideas are off base. Talking to your enemies prevent wars, or was the cold war a figment of our imagination? Oh, I get it, we only talk to our enemies when they can blow us up, is that it?

    You need to get out more...

    Obama 08!

    August 13, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  21. JOHN


    August 13, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  22. Kris from AZ

    I think Powell knows in his heart Obama is the right man for the job for the next 4 years. A wise man knows it is time for somebody level headed and smart to be in the White house

    August 13, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  23. Kris from Phx

    Karen in Phx your rock

    August 13, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  24. McCain / Powell

    I would like to see Powell as VP for McCain. It may seem like a political ploy but as a former Democrat I believe he could really help to lift America higher. An Independant, how delightful. I have an exciting feeling that America is going totally PURPLE.

    August 13, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  25. Seattle Sue

    After the way Colin Powell misled the American people to go to war with Iraq, I don't have any respect left for him.

    August 13, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
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