More Republican trouble for McCain. We should have a poll to guess the next prominent Republican insider who will decide to dump McCain in support Obama.
(CNN) – Former Secretary of State Colin Powell announced Sunday that he will be voting for Sen. Barack Obama, citing the Democrat’s “ability to inspire” and the “inclusive nature of his campaign.”
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell says he is voting for Barack Obama.
“He has both style and substance. I think he is a transformational figure,” Powell said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“Obama displayed a steadiness. Showed intellectual vigor. He has a definitive way of doing business that will do us well,” Powell said.
Powell, a retired U.S. general and a Republican, was once seen as a possible presidential candidate himself.
Powell said he questioned Sen. John McCain’s judgment in picking Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate because he doesn’t think she is ready to be president.
He also said he was disappointed with some of McCain’s campaign tactics, such as bringing up Obama’s ties to former 1960s radical Bill Ayers.
Powell served as secretary of state under President Bush from 2001 to 2005.
The notion of a Powell endorsement has been rumored for several months.
On August 13, Powell’s office denied a report on Fox by commentator Bill Kristol that Powell had decided to publicly back Obama at the Democratic National Convention.
Several sources said at the time that Powell had not made a decision about a possible endorsement.
“As always, he is holding his cards close and waiting for more information,” one adviser told CNN’s John King in August.
Powell himself brushed off queries on any potential presidential nod but told ABC News on August 13 that he would not be going to Denver, Colorado, for the convention.
“I do not have time to waste on Bill Kristol’s musings,” he said. “I am not going to the convention. I have made this clear.”
In February, Powell told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that he was weighing an endorsement of a Democratic or independent candidate.
“I am keeping my options open at the moment,” Powell said.
“I have voted for members of both parties in the course of my adult life. And as I said earlier, I will vote for the candidate I think can do the best job for America, whether that candidate is a Republican, a Democrat or an independent,” he added.
Powell has offered praise for Obama, calling him an “exciting person on the political stage.”
“He has energized a lot of people in America,” said Powell, who briefly weighed his own run for the White House in the mid-1990s. “He has energized a lot of people around the world. And so I think he is worth listening to and seeing what he stands for.”
Powell’s adviser has said that “he likes and admires John McCain, and that would be a factor in anything he does if he decides to get more involved.”
Another source close to Powell said he has known the Republican nominee for more than three decades “and likes him and is looking for a reason to vote for him. He hasn’t found it yet.”
The former general, who has largely steered clear of politics since leaving the Bush administration, noted that the next president will need to work to restore America’s standing in the world.
Powell gave the keynote address at the Republican National Convention in support of George W. Bush in 2000.
“I will ultimately vote for the person I believe brings to the American people the kind of vision the American people want to see for the next four years,” he said. “A vision that reaches out to the rest of the world, that starts to restore confidence in America, that starts to restore favorable ratings to America. Frankly, we’ve lost a lot in recent years.”
Powell’s adviser also said at the time that the vice presidential picks for both candidates would be a major factor in his decision, both for the quality of each man’s running mate and for what sort of “signal that choice sends about the character and judgment of the candidate.”
He also said that a Powell decision to back Obama would not be a surprise.