Friday, October 17, 2008
Retired Gen. Colin Powell, once considered a potential running mate for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), now may endorse his opponent, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), according to Republican sources. But an air of mystery surrounds Powell’s planned live appearance Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and no one is sure what he will say.
Powell’s unassailable national security credentials could sway voters who are vacillating about whether Obama is ready to be commander in chief, and his endorsement of the Illinois senator would make a national security emphasis by McCain in the election’s closing days extremely difficult.
Powell, 71, a professional soldier for 35 years, has advised the last three Republican presidents.
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The general’s camp is being coy about what he might or might not say on Sunday. But some McCain advisers suspect, without being sure, that Powell will endorse Obama.
“It’s going to make a lot of news, and certainly be personally embarrassing for McCain,” a McCain official said. “It comes at a time when we need momentum, and it would create momentum against us.”
Powell, a four-star Army general, was national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan; chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the 1991 Persian Gulf war, when George H.W. Bush was president; and President George W. Bush’s first secretary of State,
Powell has consulted with both Obama and McCain, and the general’s camp has indicated in the past that he would not endorse.