Colin Powell right to endorse Barack Obama

November 4, 2008 — by Karthik Sreedhara and Rahul Thakker

During an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Oct. 19, retired Gen. Colin Powell formally announced his support for Sen. Barack Obama in his race for the presidency. In endorsing Obama, Powell became the highest profile Republican to add support to the Democratic ticket.

Powell, with a 74 percent approval rating (according to Harris Interactive), is a respected Republican politician, and was a professional soldier in the United States Army for 35 years before serving as National Security Advisor from 1987-1989, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989-1993 and as Secretary of State from 2001-2005.

Because Obama is already holding such a commanding lead in national polls and Powell’s interview came so late in the race, the endorsement probably won’t help the Democrats garner many new votes. Since Powell is so widely known and praised among all Americans regardless of party affiliation, however, his statement should assure Obama’s followers and prove to the rest of the people that Obama is a capable, experienced leader who is better suited for the office of president of the United States. The endorsement is a major blow to the McCain camp simply because it casts doubt on the smear tactics their nominee has used throughout the course of the election process.

During the interview, Powell, a moderate Republican, expressed his admiration for both candidates but said that Republican Sen. John McCain’s uncertainty regarding the economic crisis and his selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a more extreme Republican, as his running mate were concerning. Powell also complimented Obama’s calm demeanor and said that he not only “displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge, and an approach to looking at problems like this,” but that he also chose a vice president who would be “ready to be president on day one.”

Powell later attacked McCain for his overaggressive efforts to portray Obama as someone affiliated with terrorists and criminals, such as former Weather Underground member William Ayers and ACORN, a government organization recently accused of voter fraud. In addition, Powell said the GOP’s derogatory comments hinting that Obama is a Muslim as well as the negative connotation McCain has given the Islamic faith went too far, saying that it “doesn’t make any difference who you are and what you are. If you’re an American you’re an American.”

Powell’s arguments are well founded. McCain has constantly changed his stance and policies regarding the fiscal crisis, taxes, health care and several other key issues. He has often been caught making contradictory statements and blatantly lying to the media. Also, Sarah Palin is not a suitable candidate for the vice presidency, especially considering McCain’s age and the high possibility that she could have to take over his office.

With so much at stake during this election, voters should seriously consider the words of prominent and knowledgeable men like Colin Powell when at the booth on Nov. 4.

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