MSNBC News reported Sunday morning that former Secretary of State Colin Powell has stated during taping of NBC's Meet the Press with Tom Brokaw that he's endorsing Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, and intends to vote for him on November 4th. This is a monumental pick-up for Obama, as it strongly undercuts the repeated claim by Sen. John McCain, the Republican candidate, that Obama is weak on national security and foreign policy matters, and is not qualified to be commander-in-chief.
Said Powell outside the studio after taping the interview:
"I think that Sen Obama brings a fresh set of eyes, a fresh set of ideas to the table...Sen. McCain, as gifted as he is, is going to execute the Republican agenda...but I think we need more than that. I think we need a generational change, and I think Sen. Obama has captured the feelings of the young people of America, and is reaching out in a more diverse, inclusive way across our society."
Powell also stated that McCain's negative campaigning "troubled me."
So now the big question is when and if -- and by how much -- McCain, Gov. Sarah Palin and the Republican attack machine will attempt to impugn the character and military record of Powell with a Swift boat-like smear campaign. Just remember what these thugs did to Sen. John Kerry, a five-time decorated war hero. With just 16 days left before the election, and the polls and the electoral map swinging appreciably in Obama's direction, it is highly likely that the heretofore unassailable Powell -- an American political and military icon -- will be swept up in the muck as the desperation of the McCain camp intensifies. You can bet that key endorsements from Powell and legendary billionaire investor Warren Buffet -- placing Obama in some very good company on the military and economic fronts -- will cause the Rethugs to ratchet up their incendiary rhetoric on William Ayers, Rev. Jeremiah Wright and ACORN... and that Powell, the once-mighty conservative war-hero and pillar within the Republican establishment, is now just another unpatriotic pawn of the effete liberal elite.
And I'm sure, as Brokaw suggested to Powell, there'll be more than a few McCain surrogates who make the irresponsible and reprehensible charge that the endorsement represents nothing more than one black man voting for another.
"If I had only had that in mind, I could have done this 6, 8, 10 months ago. I really have been going back and forth between somebody I have the highest respect and regard for, John McCain, and somebody I was getting to know, Barack Obama. And it was only in the last couple of months that I settled on this. And I can't deny that it will be a historic event for an African-American to become president. And should that happen, all Americans should be proud, not just African-Americans, but all Americans, that we have reached this point in our national history where such a thing could happen....who will also not only electrify our country, I think, it will electrify the world."
To be sure, as the White House appears to be slipping from its grasp, the McCain camp will be stepping up its negative campaigning over the next 16 days, and to what degree, if any, Powell plays a part in that is anyone's guess. Stay tuned...
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