October 25th, 2012
10:34 PM ET
8 years ago

Sununu cites race as factor for Powell’s Obama endorsement

(CNN) – John Sununu, a top surrogate for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, said Thursday that Colin Powell’s repeat endorsement of President Barack Obama could be explained partly by the two men’s shared race.

Speaking on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight,” Sununu 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."

Sununu also pointed to Morgan's original question, which was whether Powell should leave the Republican Party.

"I don't think he should," Sununu wrote.

Powell, who served as the first African American secretary of state under President George W. Bush, made his endorsement earlier Thursday, citing a number of issues not related to race as reasons he was backing Obama for a second time.

The Republican said he believe the economy is "starting to pick up" and attributed the recovery to the president's polices, citing specifically the auto industry bailout and Obama's economic proposals. "Generally we've come out of the dive and we're starting to gain altitude," he said.

Powell said he was "uncomfortable" with Romney's tax plans and views on foreign policy. Pointing to Monday night's final presidential debate, Powell argued the GOP nominee had changed positions on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The former secretary of state said he was concerned with the advice Romney was getting from campaign staff.

"I think there are some very, very strong neo-conservative views that are presented by the governor that I have some trouble with," Powell said, though he did not elaborate on which views.

"I also saw the president get us out of one war, start to get us out of a second war and did not get us into any new wars," he said.

Powell made headlines when the former George W. Bush administration official, who also worked for President Ronald Reagan and President George H.W. Bush, crossed party lines and supported Obama last cycle.

CNN's Jim Acosta contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Colin Powell • John Sununu • President Obama
soundoff (241 Responses)
  1. 22

    Powell,probably the only rational minded republican left.

    October 25, 2012 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  2. Larry L

    Sununu and Rudy Giuliani have become the spokespersons for the low class, white trash, bigoted and hateful elements of the Romney Campaign. Sununu isn't fit to wipe General Powell's boots and Mitt Romney shows his true colors in using him as a spokesperson. Was Ted "Crappy Pants" Nugent busy?

    October 25, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  3. florida815

    Smart man, Colin Powell! Sununu, shame on you.

    October 25, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  4. tessaprn

    Sununu is only stating the truth. Powell certainly cannot be supporting Obama because he has shown himself to be a good president.

    October 25, 2012 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  5. Rob

    Is it race when a white supports another white? Is it race when you race bait to scare white voters about the black guy who is the President?

    October 25, 2012 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  6. The Blind leading the Deaf

    What a cheap shot. He may not liek Colin Powell's preference for another candidate, but calling it racist is a considerable slight to one of our most prestigious citizens. Sununu can't get any lower.

    October 25, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  7. Debbie

    Sununu just showed where GWBush was at on Colin Powell. And apparently Sununu is not aware that the President is 1/2 white.

    October 25, 2012 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  8. Merriann Lanford

    Please tell me that I didn't really hear John Sununu say that Colin Powell endorsed Obama because they are both black! Has no one from the Romney crew sent out the message to PLEASE, PLEASE DO NOT SAY ANYTHING STUPID on tv? The longer this election cycle goes, more and more the Republican party faithful are showing the true nature of the beast. And it's a pretty mangy creature, not unlike a chupacabra.

    October 25, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  9. was there ever a doubt

    race is thicker than party. was there ever a doubt?

    October 25, 2012 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  10. marx

    What else would he say?This whole election circle has revealed that the greatest problem with America is America itself. Obama was never given the chance to succeed by those who always think that America is theirs. Nobody questions Mitt Romney's economic patriotism.You can't talk being Mr. Fixer when you hide your money overseas! Charity they say begins at home at home.

    October 25, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  11. repubsoutoftouch

    How insulting. Can't say I'm surprised-this man was just on Fox saying that the President is causing a racial divide in this country when Obama has never spoken/acted in such a way. Another idiot.

    October 25, 2012 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  12. geggyg

    So is Pres G W Bush and other white politicans endorsing Romney mainly about race , they are all white people after all.

    October 25, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  13. AZ girl

    Yeah, Mr. Powell is so single minded that he will only endorse someone because he "shares a certain race". Are you really freakin kidding me? The man worked for GWB for gosh sakes! What? Afraid of a Republican in the ranks that can define "rape" TRUTHFULLY?

    October 25, 2012 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  14. Sekari Vaidy

    Sununu is unfair. Colin Powell has given the reasons for his endorsement. He is a person of high credibility. Why does he not take Gen Powell at his face value and attribute to him motives? Gen. Powell has done this country proud and we are beholden to him. His views should be taken or rejected for whatever they are worth to each of us individually.

    October 25, 2012 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  15. Independent Voter

    Sununu would have appreciated that endorsement had it been for Romney. Fortunately, Colin Powell is fair, sane, and a man of integrity. Sununu is a thinly veiled racist.

    October 25, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  16. batsrightthrowsright

    Of course, that would be the reason Mr. Sunusu is supporting Mr. Romney, right?

    What an idiot.

    October 25, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  17. NameGarrick Troupe

    Point well made only if the other blind sheep can see this is not based on race.Common sense issues.Poor sunami head is buried to the rim like trump

    October 25, 2012 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  18. SJam

    So is Sununu supporting Romney just because he is white? Hmmm..

    October 25, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  19. Jack

    The only reason sanano is supporting Romney is because they are both white.

    October 25, 2012 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  20. Indy

    Colin Powell has more class in his fingernail then Sununu could ever dream of having and thats why Sununu hits the gutter with his comments.

    October 25, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  21. naksuthin

    Sununu: "Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that you're proud of being President of the United States,"

    So is that why Sununu is backing Mitt Romney??? Or is that why Whites are backing Mitt and Blacks are backing Obama??

    October 25, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  22. dan

    If race was a factor, how would Sununu explain Romney supporters, Alan West and micheal Steele? Sununu needs to just go away.

    October 25, 2012 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  23. Kingsley

    If that is Sununu's opinion, then Sununu is supporting Romney because they are both whites. If the media and folks think that Obama has overwhelming black votes, so is Romney getting overwhelming white votes. Why the fuse?

    October 25, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  24. ShockedbySununu

    Sununu applauds a man for standing with his race. To Sununu and everyone else that agrees with him: President Obama was born to a white mother, so applaud the millions of white and black people that are going to vote Obama into a second term.

    One more thing, if Republicans had someone like Clarence Thomas running for President, I predict he wouldn't get 90% of the black vote. People know who is on their side, most of us can see past color. I'm shocked, that in 2012 we live in a country where a general and former Secretary of State is treated like an idiot without the ability to understand why Romney is a terrible candidate.

    I am shocked by Sununu.

    October 25, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  25. sam

    So when George H Bush endorsed Romney is not race but a black guy endorsed another black guy it must be about race. sununu is the one who has been playing the race card.what an old fart.

    October 25, 2012 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
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