October 26th, 2012
09:18 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama rejects role of race in endorsement

(CNN) - President Barack Obama on Friday rejected the suggestion of a top surrogate for Mitt Romney that race may have been behind former Secretary of State Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama, saying that scenario "doesn't make much sense."

Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, a top surrogate for the GOP presidential nominee, made the suggestion during a Thursday appearance on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

"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.

When pressed to explain further, Sununu added: "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."

In his Friday interview on the syndicated radio program "The Michael Smerconish Show," Obama said that he would let Powell's endorsement and positive assessment of Obama's economic policies "stand for themselves."

"I don't think that there are many people in America who would question General Powell's credibility, his patriotism, his willingness to tell it straight," Obama said. "So any suggestion that General Powell would make such a profound statement in such an important election based on anything [other] than what he thought was what's going to be best for America, I think, doesn't make much sense."

In his Thursday endorsement, Powell specifically cited Obama's economic policies and questioned how Romney would handle taxes and foreign policy.

Under Obama's economic leadership, he said, "Generally, we've come out of the dive and we're starting to gain altitude."

Sununu later issued a statement calling Powell "a friend."

"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," the statement said.

- CNN's Kevin Liptak and Ashley Killough contributed to this report

Filed under: 2012 • Colin Powell • President Obama
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Dar

    Why else would Powell vote for Obama?
    Obama has done nothing but put us into dire debt that we may never get out of unless we get him out of office now and stop the bleeding.
    It amazes me that all these young voters are so up on Obama???????? Dont they get it, they are ones that they are hurting. The young voters are the ones who are going to have to pay all this debt off. Wake up! It isn't free like when mommy and daddy gives you everything.

    October 27, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  2. jpmichigan

    Excuse me! But the role of race has played a big part in you entire life.

    October 27, 2012 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  3. hangar13

    For those who want to pretend Colin Powell's endorsement was not solely race-based, please answer one question: How many white liberals is Mr. Powell endorsing?

    October 27, 2012 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  4. Janice Brock

    The statement is an insult to all voters as it indicates intelligent voters vote based only on race in lieu of issues . Is that why he votes for Romney? Because he is a white man?

    October 27, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  5. LS

    Obama has dignity and class. These are qualities that are in short supply with the other guy and his nasty cronies.

    October 27, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  6. rla

    This from a president who has used race and class as political tools??? Fool me once but not again... OH how about the help you sent to the seals in bengazi???? Guess that political decision would not look good so you let them die with drones overhead and military assets minutes away!

    October 27, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  7. jimmyjo

    He cried when President Obama was elected. 95 percent of black people voted for Obama. Powell is a Republican. Who would think race is a factor?

    October 27, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  8. Republican in AZ

    The last four yrs. have caused me to rethink my republican views. It started w/ McCain's choice of Palin. I had a very bad feeling in my gut the moment she was announced. I was correct in listening to my gut. Since that time I have witnessed the complete meltdown of the party. John Sununu, Donald Trump, Akin, Mourdock, Bachman, West, Tea Party, Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney.... They're the skeletons in the republican closet come out to destroy. The sad part is they've always been there. Why didn't I see it before? You better believe I see it now. My gut tells me to vote for the president.

    October 27, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  9. peacecj

    One of the main reasons for Obama's failure is this inferiority complex that he cannot reach accross the isles and get moving ahead. He started off with blaming George Bush, and now he is blaming the wealthy. It is going to be a loosing battle trying to make USA socialistic, or redistribute wealth. In this regard, it would serve Obama well to distribute some of his money, as he would pay less in taxes than he is paying presently.

    October 27, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  10. lekan

    to see or hear people like sununu make such statements just gives you an idea of what goes on in his head.racism is racism and that's just a slight example by sununu.this politicians are not for 2012 and are not good examples for the future.Mr Romney,people like sununu are the reason why you might not make it to the white house.americans are more enlightened

    October 27, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  11. plain&simple

    Republican strategy is put it out there....then pull it back. And what sticks, well good for us!!!! Problem is It's so low....gutter politics. Then think of who this style appeals to and there you have it. This country and It's people deserve to be spoken to ,told specifics, and be treated as adults with the ability to reason and make decisions on facts. I have seen none of that from team Romney.

    October 27, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  12. Wire Palladin, S. F

    Win or lose in 2012, we are seeing the last gasp of a dying republican party. They will end up as a dark cloud in political history.

    October 27, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
1 2