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October 20th, 2008
07:53 PM ET

Does Powell's endorsement tell us what this race is really about?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/20/art.powell.mtp.jpg caption="Colin Powell introduced Sen. Barack Obama on Sunday on NBC's 'Meet the Press.'"]
Barclay Palmer
AC360° Senior Producer

Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama because he's black. At least, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Buchanan and George Will have all said that is the reason - or a reason.

Will many Americans write off the endorsement because they think the same? A bunch of other generals and secretaries of state have endorsed McCain, after all. And, who cares about endorsements anyway?

So here's a different question - will Powell's endorsement backfire?

Will some people miss or ignore Powell's argument that the McCain/Palin campaign has gone too far with references to "terrorists" etc., and decide Powell's endorsement only proves that this election really is about race - and protecting the interests of your own race - no matter how much the elite liberal media doth protest that it isn't or shouldn't be?

I'm not saying Powell was wrong to speak. To the contrary.

I'm just asking, with all the talk about race out there - and whether the McCain/Palin campaign is using code to bring it up – or not – and whether Obama can seal the deal with white voters - or not – is it more about race than some of us think... or would like?

What's your view?


Filed under: Barack Obama • John McCain • Raw Politics
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. michael Lashway

    Let us be totally serious and honest about the Obama candidacy. I would like a pundit or analyst to to tell me what accomplishment or item in his resume that warrants casting a vote for this gentleman. He is buying the presidency and America appears to be a band of fools to let him do so. Even Colin Powel cannot point to anything Mr. Obama has done because he has not done anything of note, except raise cash.

    October 20, 2008 at 11:09 pm |
  2. Diane Tacoma, WA

    Colin Powell is an extremely intellectual, and brilliant man that obviously thinks logically before he speaks. The title he holds along with his previous ‘job’ history proves that he is tactical and wise in his approach. To suggest that he is so shallow as to base his decision to endorse Senator Obama simply on race proves shows just how racist and ignorant these people are that are making these dispicable allegations.

    October 20, 2008 at 9:29 pm |
  3. Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    I can respect Colin Powell for his decision but why publicize it now and on Meet the Press to boot if it wasn't for some type of political agenda (be it race or not). And if he does see McCain as a good friend, why didn't he at least tell him prior to announcing it to the world? To me, that's low.

    October 20, 2008 at 9:29 pm |
  4. Ruby Jones

    To John Coleman

    Not all Blacks/African Americans jump on the band wagon to vote for the black nominee. I was wanted to vote for Hilary. But after listening to Obama's proposed list of political promises and knowing that so many people really dislike the Clintons because of President Bill Clinton's indiscretion while in office.
    I had a feeling she couldn't win. I decided to vote for Obama.

    There are some African American's who will vote for McCain, that's their right.

    October 20, 2008 at 9:17 pm |
  5. Alan

    What troubles me about the Republican Party is that they insist that Obama will send us into a socialized system similar to what Europeans are doing, but is there anything wrong to want everyone taken care of? Throughout the Bible God bids us to take care of the orphans and widows and the aliens... If this is not socialism–what do you call it? Is baring an arm more important than taking care of our sick people? As an Independent voter I feel General Powell is right; the GOP has become too far right me too!

    October 20, 2008 at 9:16 pm |
  6. Diane

    Colin Powell is an extremely intellectual, and brilliant man that obviously thinks logically before he speaks. The title he holds along with his previous 'job' history proves that he is tactical and wise in his approach. To suggest that he is so shallow as to base his decision to endorse Senator Obama simply on race proves shows just how racist and ignorant these people are that are making these dispicable allegations.

    October 20, 2008 at 9:15 pm |
  7. Lisa -GA

    I think it was great that Powell endorsed Obama!! With all the things going on right now in the world all the republicans can do is throw mud. The time in now to make a change. We all need to come together and get back on track. I am a black married female with children and I live in the south and both of my children have friends of all races. I choose to vote for Barack because I believe in him and I agree with what he stands for. Why is it that people that don't even know me state that I am only doing it because he is a black man??

    I am doing it because if McCain and Palin get elected this country will go backwards 100 years.

    October 20, 2008 at 9:14 pm |
  8. Dave

    I'm with Rose. This election needs to be about substance, and Colin Powell's endorsement cannot be taken as anything more than evidence of his belief in Obama's platform and disgust with Mccain's. I seriously doubt that now, days from the election, race would persuade a life-long Republican to endorse the opposition. Read into however you'd like, but Powell's endorsement is only one of many Republicans that have become angered and disheartened by GOP policies.

    October 20, 2008 at 9:11 pm |
  9. Lisa L, Tucson Az

    How come there isn't more press about the Inland GOP mailing depicting Obama's face on a food stamp? That is clear evidence that the GOP is racist.

    October 20, 2008 at 9:08 pm |
  10. Heather,ca

    I have always had great admiration and respect Powell. His decision was a personal one like all of us. Most of us get to make our decision in private in the voting booth.His decision of who he ultimately endorsed will never change my respect for him.

    October 20, 2008 at 9:04 pm |
  11. Sara

    Powell said he was disturbed by McCain's negative ads. However, he forgot that Obama has also been running negative ads. In fact, I believe he has set a record for the amount of money his campaign has spent on negative ads. Let's not forget Biden has disagreed with some of the attack ads against McCain. Powell also said he was bothered by the McCain campaign questioning Obama's ties to Ayers. However, this is a legitimate issue. Voters have the right to know who Obama is friends with. Obama wants to be our President so nothing should be off limits.

    October 20, 2008 at 9:01 pm |
  12. Ed Hassay

    Colin Powells endorsement and comments are some of the most accurate and forthright that I've heard throughout the campaign. Those who find themselves on the short end of his comments are probably uncomfortable as they realize a person of character has addressed issues that are substantive and true. Much of what I see on the McCain and Palin side of this campaign appears too rehearsed, too directed by others who are pulling strings behind the scenes and reactive with little originality of their own. Its a sad commentary about a party who has garnered much admiration in the past.

    October 20, 2008 at 9:00 pm |
  13. Ron In Texas.

    Hi Anderson,
    Powell's endorsement just means. One Black Man endorsing another Black Man. What else could he do? Yes he will catch some flack from the Republicans , but not near as much as he would have from the Blacks if he had endorsed McCain. One Liar endorsing another.Powell lied to the UN when making the case for the war and when the lies caught up to him he resigned. He was so ashamed, and that's why he has not really been seen now for almost 3 years. Obama has told so many lies he can't keep up with them, and he will also pay dearly when they do catch up to him. And as you know lies always come back.

    Obama says he is "Going To Change The World". Do you think he can do it in 6 days and rest on the 7th?

    October 20, 2008 at 8:57 pm |
  14. Della J

    I am so tired of everyone bringing up the race issue. Do we say the same for whites that endorsed Mcain-Palin? No, we simply listen to their views, whether we respect them or not, and allow their voice to be heard. Please find something else to discuss and stop trying to sway voters. After all, there are more important issues that are up for grabs.

    October 20, 2008 at 8:55 pm |
  15. Roman-Roselle, IL.

    It will not backfire! Anybody watching the campaigns closely can see the negativity in McCain and Palins speeches. Powell is dead on and I wish more would step up to the plate and say it. McCain and Palin are undermining what running for election really means! I am a first time voter and I am tired of all the mud slinging. I like the even steady course that Obama has shown in the past weeks. He truly reaches out to all the people of all races. I have had enough of McCain saying 'my friends', I am not his friend-he is a man applying for a job that I am to decide to hire or not. He has not filled out the application correctly for me.

    October 20, 2008 at 8:42 pm |
  16. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    The worst part of what I would call a campaign having gone too far was referencing to "terrorists". Who in their right mind would relate a vetted senator to a terrorist which left me to question where Palin's boundaries are as it relates to power vs. freedom. And worst yet McCain, who has much political experience and a POW, said nothing. If this is what the zest for power does to a person then they should have no place in a position of policy making regardless of race.

    October 20, 2008 at 8:42 pm |
  17. Wendy

    Powell was clear, thoughtful and specific about his reasons for endorsing Obama, and those reasons are no brainers to thinking, logical people. To believe that Powell's endorsement is because of race is as vapid as suggesting Obama "pals around with terrorists" because he and Ayers served on boards together in Chicago. Yet as vapid as this suggestion may be, you can bet the McCain campaign and supporters will run with it to discredit Powell. Yes, racism is alive and well to those self-serving individuals who will use any manipulation to try to sway public opinion and stay in power.

    October 20, 2008 at 8:34 pm |
  18. Labreeze

    Thank you Powell for your honesty and integrity. Americans needed
    to hear the truth from a person who has been in the White House; under the Bush adminstration. Thank you

    October 20, 2008 at 8:33 pm |
  19. Steve - Philadelphia, PA

    If McCain is such a "maverick" why doesn't he agree with Gen. Colin Powell and say "I was wrong in the direction that I followed because I was unwilling to be ""maverick" toward my party base with which I really disagree but only agreed with to get elected? And I will be a "maverick" and say that the negative ads I have been running have been dictated to me by the RNC and do not really reflect the type of campaign I wanted to run. I will be a "maverick" and say that my choice of Sarah Palin was a mistake and that I hope that if elected God will allow me to carry out that term of election.

    October 20, 2008 at 8:31 pm |
  20. Doozie Susie

    Absolutely not! Colin Powell long ago proved that he can cross the aisles in politics, be a gifted leader among nations, and is clearly color blind in his actions & deeds. Why do so many (especially in the media) TRY SO HARD to look for signs of the negative aspects of race, when in my experience, the average American is becoming color blind for good reason – it is just, and , it is about time! Those that want to stay color focused are only looking out of touch and foolish. I am an avid supporter of Barack Obama. It is funny that since the DNC of 2004, most of my news was on the radio, and I did not know that the man who I have good reasons to support, is just like U.S. – blended. Am I just color blind? Maybe, and proud of it.

    October 20, 2008 at 8:25 pm |
  21. SM

    Is anyone surprised Powell is supporting Obama? What percentage of blacks are supporting Obama?

    October 20, 2008 at 8:24 pm |
  22. Carol, CA

    The only people that have said that this endorsement is all about race......... are Republicans. If Powell had endorsed McCain, they would be crawling all over him saying how wonderful he is, and how important the endorsement is.

    Another flimsy campaign stunt by McCain to divert attention away from the real issues.

    October 20, 2008 at 8:21 pm |
  23. Annie Kate

    I think a small percentage of people will always think its about race no matter how far we move beyond it. Someone on 360 said during one of the analysis sessions in this campaign that the generation of WW2 and the baby boomer generation would have to die off before that changed. Having lived in the South all my life I'm sorry but I have to agree with that statement.

    I don't care about endorsements and I really wish we would do away with them. An endorsement implicitly says that the person who gave it is more qualified to select the next President than the average voter and that the average voter needs their pick of the candidates to know how to vote. I think we're just a little bit smarter than that. I'm glad General Powell knows who he is going to vote for but I would have just as soon he kept it to himself.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    October 20, 2008 at 8:16 pm |
  24. Mark Spaziani

    Colin Powell is the only true Maverick in the Republican Party; with good judgement I might add.

    Obama was asked by the McCain campaign why he didn't leave Wright's Church when he didn't like what Wright was saying? John McCain remains with his party while he criticizes what they are actually doing; not just saying. That's a hipocrit.

    October 20, 2008 at 8:15 pm |
  25. Bret Peters

    An intelligent, world traveled, open-minded, experienced beyond acceptable, took his time in his decision. Elegant and truthful his views and reasons say it all. We love him as Americans, and his views are the same as most over Americans. I was very impressed with all his comments, but the story of the mother at the Muslim’s American soldier grave closed his comments and opened American's eyes. Much respect,

    October 20, 2008 at 8:15 pm |
  26. Lisa L, Tucson Az

    I think the Republicans will write it off as race because they need to have an excuse as to why he didn't support McCain. They won't admit that McCain is bad for the country.
    I don't think Powell's endorsement will backfire because Americans are smart enough to see through the Republican race agenda.( At least I hope so!)

    October 20, 2008 at 8:13 pm |
  27. Nathan Crean

    these are the same people that would love to keep America Divided.
    Besides, who even gives these people more than a thought anyway, my 5 year old grandson is less iginorant than this bunch of pro-white conseratives. By the way, I'm white and voting for a Black man or woman from either party has never been an issue. What is at issue is Americas future and John McCain has forgotten it is We, Not I.

    October 20, 2008 at 8:13 pm |
  28. John Coleman

    I agree with you, the moment a black was nominated, I would say a good guess would be 90 to 95% of the African Americans jumped on his bandwagon before even hearing what he stands for. I would wager some do not even care, they just want a black President.
    And you add onto that all the Bush haters, (who somehow think McCain will follow Bushes politics which couldn't be any farther from the truth) and that is a lot of votes for Obama.
    Honestly, would any white republican have ever stood a chance??
    So yes, race is playing a huge part in this election.

    I personally could care less what race was running, I just want the best man to win.

    Obama will not win this election for the right reasons, I just hope to God he doesn't win for the wrong ones!!!!

    October 20, 2008 at 8:12 pm |
  29. Patrick of Ohio

    Didn't Bush use Powell against Al Gore to seem more experienced?

    And let's stop with this media bias towards Obama.

    Headline: "Polls show McCain's attacks against Obama unfair"

    Do you ever hear it the other way around? All right, now that that is established let's blog about Tony Rezko, Charles Keating, and why both the two-party system candidates will lead us to perdition.

    Oh, and to boot, let's stop talking about race, we all sprout from the same roots regardless if you believe in religion or science we all have a common human ancestor. Plus politicians really are a race of their own. It is frankly unfair to cow people into believing in liars like Obama or McCain just because one has an all year tan and the other can't get a tan for fear of melanoma.

    October 20, 2008 at 8:11 pm |
  30. Cindy

    Colin's endorsement of Obama is suspect since in that same interview he raised absolutely no issue that he disagreed with McCain on. The only thing he could come up with is negative ads and Palin's so called inexperience. Yet if you put Palin's experience against Obama's she has way more. So it makes that argument null and void. Makes me think he was just in it to make history with a black man.

    Cindy...Ga.

    October 20, 2008 at 8:10 pm |
  31. wow

    if it was only race, he could have said ages ago. no, he waited and accesed the situation( something i would expect a good general to do) watched the developements and made a decision. something mccain didn't do when selecting palin. meeting her only once and a tiny conversation, presto decision made. don't forget that there are plenty of black republicans in high profile jobs that won't be voting for barack. in general race will always be out there.

    October 20, 2008 at 8:07 pm |
  32. Rose from Muscoy

    Race! What's that?

    Please give Colin Powell some credit, people.
    If it was RACE he would of ENDORSE Senator Obama a loooonnng timeeee agoo! Rush Limhaugh, Pat Buchanan, needs to get over it or they will miss the election.

    October 20, 2008 at 8:02 pm |