Former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed President Barack Obama for a second term Thursday.
"You know, I voted for him in 2008 and I plan to stick with him in 2012, and I'll be voting for he and Vice President Joe Biden next month," he said on CBS' "This Morning."
Asked whether it was an endorsement, he said, "Yes."
Powell praised the president's handling of the economy and ending of the Iraq War.
"I think we ought to keep on the track we are on," he said.
Powell said he had the "utmost respect" for Mitt Romney, but criticized his tax plan.
He said Romney's foreign policy was a "moving target." "One day he has a certain strong view about staying in Afghanistan, but then on Monday night he agrees with the withdrawal. Same thing in Iraq. On every issue that was discussed on Monday night, Gov. Romney agreed with the president with some nuances. But this is quite a different set of foreign policy views than he had earlier in the campaign."
Powell, a Republican who served in President George W. Bush's first term, backed Obama in 2008. He was frequently mentioned as a potential Republican challenger against Bill Clinton in 1996, but decided against it.
UPDATE: 12:27 p.m. -- President Barack Obama called Powell on Thursday morning to thank him for the endorsement, according to Obama campaign traveling press secretary Jen Psaki. They did not discuss joint appearances. She said they were "very excited" about it and said they “think it sends a strong signal about why [Obama] should be sent back for another four years to be commander in chief.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) blasted Powell on Fox News Radio's "Kilmeade & Friends" Thursday morning.
"Well, I’m just saddened because, you know, I used to be a great admirer of Colin Powell. We were friends. I think one of the sad aspects of his career is going to the United Nations Security Council and telling them things about Iraq that were absolutely false," he said.
"Obviously, my view of the situation in Iraq is we’re losing," he continued. "We’re losing what we won thanks to the surge. Al Qaeda is doubled. There’s training camps in Western Iraq. In Afghanistan, all we do is say we’re leaving. Al Qaeda is on the comeback all over northern Africa. They’ve taken over parts of Mali. All I can say is that Gen. Powell, you disappoint us and you have harmed your legacy even further by defending what has clearly been the most feckless foreign policy in my lifetime."
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