At a news conference before a speech in Vancouver, BC, Colin Powell said that he would not rule out supporting Barack Obama. He said that his support of John McCain is not a foregone conclusion. He also said that although he and Obama are both black, he won’t be voting based on race.
“I will vote for the individual I think that brings the best set of tools to the problems of 21st-century America and the 21st-century world regardless of party, regardless of anything else other than the most qualified candidate. Both of them certainly have the qualifications to be the president of the United States, but both of them cannot be,” Powell said.
Beyond race, I can understand why Powell might support Obama over McCain. The reason has everything to do with McCain’s desire to continue and expand upon the Bush foreign policy doctrine, which goes against the Powell doctrine that military force should only be used as a last resort. Still it would be a shocker if Colin Powell came out and gave a formal public endorsement to Barack Obama at any point.
The story was around last summer that Powell had a few conversations which offered informal advice to Obama. Powell has been quietly supportive of Obama as he has risen through the political ranks over the last few years, and I am sure that this story will revive the speculation about a possible Obama/Powell ticket.
I believe that is extremely unlikely, but maybe Powell could be coaxed back into public life with a role in shaping Obama’s foreign policy. The idea of redeeming himself for being used in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq would have to have quite a bit of appeal to a man like Colin Powell.
You can read the full Globe and Mail story right here.