Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Powell Endorsement

Party Pooper: Retired Gen. Colin Powell's endorsement of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama Sunday is a slap at the Republican Party and not an indictment of its standard bearer John McCain. Powell told NBC's Tom Brokaw on "Meet The Press" he was "troubled" by Republicans' false implications Obama was a Muslim and the recent focus on Obama's relationship with William Ayers, an underground radical in the 1960s. "I look at these approaches to the campaign and they trouble me," Powell said. "Over the past seven weeks, the approach by the Republican Party has become narrower and narrower." Powell, a registered Republican, lauded McCain and said both candidates would make great presidents. However, he felt McCain vascillated in his approach addressing the financial market crises and used questionable judgment. Meanwhile, he said Obama exhibited a cerebral coolness and understanding. He said Obama was the better option to improve relations with our allies overseas. Powell was critical of McCain's judgment in his nomimation of Sarah Palin as vice president, saying she was not ready to serve while Obama's choice of Sen. Joe Biden would be ready on Day One. The former Secretary of State said at the beginning of his remarks that he was not voting for Obama simply because he was a black man. He added he would not campaign for Obama nor was he interested unless asked to serve in an Obama administration.

What It Means: The endorsement will be the buzz in the media and perhaps some voters the next several days but as history proves will likely be forgotten come election day. However, it could resonate in large active and retired military populations in North Carolina, Florida and San Diego. Powell is believed to be well revered by the military. He is best remembered as the architect for the Powell Doctrine as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon during the Bush I administration. The Powell Doctrine was if the U.S. goes to war, it must wield overwhelming force and have an exit strategy. The endorsement also annoints Obama with credibility in his role as commander-in-chief, closing the ominous gap enjoyed by McCain's war and senate record. "I've always admired and respected Gen. Powell," McCain said on the Sunday Fox News show. He cited endorsements of former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, Alexander Haig, James Baker and Lawrence Eagleberger. "We have a respectful disagreement." The Powell endorsement is just another in a long series of daggers stuck in the heart of the McCain campaign.

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