11/19/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Powell Endorses Obama

We saw this coming. Colin Powell announced today that he is endorsing Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States. Two weeks ago I thought it was curtains for McCain's run to the White House with is "that one" reference to Obama in the second debate. Looking back, McCain lost his bid when he announced he was suspending his campaign. He should have just shelved it at that point, because there was no way he was going to emerge victorious from an economic meltdown associated with 8 years of Bush and Cheney at the wheel.

I recall my excitement in fall 1995 when Colin Powell teased the public and press that he might consider a run for the presidency in 1996. He was doing a national booktour at the time and many of us felt that he could best challenge Bill Clinton's bid for a second term. In the end, Powell's wife influenced him to back away from the highest office in the land, but Powell remained a formidable political brand in national politics. His tenure as Secretary of State was marred by his 2003 UN appearance shortly before the invasion of Iraq. Nevertheless, he remains an elder statesman in national politics, a man who measures another by substance more than style, which means a lot when endorsing Obama for president.

Powell's endorsement of Obama for President is far more influential than any of the newspapers that have so far endorsed Obama. The fact that the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune have endorsed Obama is a yawn in comparison. Today's endorsement is coming from a man who could have easily been elected the first African-American president in 1996 had he chosen to go through the national wringer that is the presidential nomination process.

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