Obama shrugs off Romney adviser's comment on Powell endorsement

WASHINGTON Fri Oct 26, 2012 8:44pm EDT

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event at the Charlottesville nTelos Wireless Pavillion in Virginia, August 29, 2012. REUTERS/Larry Downing

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event at the Charlottesville nTelos Wireless Pavillion in Virginia, August 29, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama shrugged off the suggestion by a top Mitt Romney adviser that former Secretary of State Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama was due to race rather than support for his positions.

"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 best for America, I think, doesn't make much sense," Obama told radio host Michael Smerconish.

Obama and Republican challenger Romney are locked in a tight battle before the November 6 election. Both campaigns are in high gear as Election Day draws near and any controversy or gaffe gets attention.

Smerconish asked Obama in an interview released on Friday whether he was offended by Sununu's remarks.

Sununu, a former New Hampshire governor and chief of staff to former President George H.W. Bush, was asked to comment on Powell's endorsement of the Democratic president, and whether Powell, a Republican, should leave the party.

Sununu, who co-chairs the Romney campaign, said Powell, who was secretary of state under President George W. Bush, might have had a another reason for giving his support to Obama.

"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," he said during an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan.

Pressed what that reason was, Sununu suggested it might be because, like Obama, Powell is black.

"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," Sununu said.

When the comment stirred controversy, Sununu backed away, saying Powell's backing of Obama was undoubtedly based on the president's policies.

"Colin Powell is a friend and I respect the endorsement decision he made, I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the President's policies," Sununu said in a statement. "Piers Morgan's question was whether Colin Powell should leave the party, and I don't think he should."

Obama said Powell's statement of support spoke for itself.

"He spoke about the fact that my foreign policy during a very difficult time had been steady and strong," the president said. "He talked about with respect to our economy, that we had helped to rescue America from a potential great depression and that we were moving in the right direction."

In endorsing Obama on Thursday, Powell cited the president's efforts to wind down the war in Afghanistan and tackle terrorism as well as an improving U.S. economy.

"I voted for him in 2008 and I plan to stick with him in 2012," Powell told "CBS This Morning."

(Reporting By Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Comments (4)
TheNewWorld wrote:
“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 best for America, I think, doesn’t make much sense,” Obama told radio host Michael Smerconish.

But Republicans voting for Romney is all because they are racist and has nothing to do with their differing vision of America right?

Oct 27, 2012 4:05am EDT  --  Report as abuse
texoman wrote:
Sununu should be ashamed of himself! He and his party are the ones that continually play the race card. Why else would the white middle-class males vote against their own economic welfare? It’s like Chickens voting for Colonel Sanders!

Oct 27, 2012 9:27am EDT  --  Report as abuse
TheNewWorld wrote:
@texoman

“Sununu should be ashamed of himself! He and his party are the ones that continually play the race card. Why else would the white middle-class males vote against their own economic welfare? It’s like Chickens voting for Colonel Sanders!”

First I agree that Sununu should be ashamed of himself. It was inappropriate and he had to know that would only hurt his party. Second, It is a difference of opinion based on economic philosophies. Democrats seem to think that you grow the economy through the public sector, and Republicans think that it grows through the private sector. What interest would I have voting against my employers self interests? Why would I want my employer to be punished by the Democrats? Why would I want to see their expenses and regulation increased? What logical person could think that would be good for them? Obama and many of today’s Democrats are either anti-capitalists, or lack an understanding of how the global economy works. Hence, no matter what his race or sex or religion is I will not vote for him. The other side of the coin that you are negating is the religous/moral values voters. They will not vote for Obama because of his support of gay marriage, having the government tax their paycheck to pay for college students to get contraceptives, etc. I disagree with them on social issues, and hence I will not vote for Romney.

Clinton was a pro-capitalist Democrat who helped reduce government spending, hence we had a great decade with him. Bush was a pro-capitalist/big government Republican (NeoCon) who drastically increased spending, hence we have a horrible decade and more to clean up his mess. Obama is an anti-capitalist Democrat reminiscent of the 60s-70s Democrats with a twist of NeoCon. He unfortunately is worse than GW Bush. Romney more than likeley would be a Pro-Capitalist, NeoCon. The only bright side we have is that we can’t possibly increase spending like Bush and Obama has done.

I am a fiscal conservative/social liberal, and right now the Libertarian party is the only one with the correct approach to fixing many of America’s problems.

Oct 27, 2012 3:59pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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