WASHINGTON — Former Secretary of State Colin Powell declined Tuesday to renew the presidential endorsement he gave Barack Obama four years ago, saying he wasn’t ready “to throw my weight behind someone” at this time.
The former chairman of the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and Cabinet member under President George W. Bush demurred when asked if he was backing Obama again this time around. Four years ago, Powell caused a stir in Republican political circles when the longtime GOP figure endorsed Obama over war hero Sen. John McCain, calling Obama a “transformational figure.”
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Not so this time, Powell said in an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show. At least, not yet.
“It’s not just a matter of whether you support Obama or Romney. It’s who they have coming in with them,” he said.
Pressed to say why he was holding back on giving Obama his blessing a second time, Powell told anchor Matt Lauer, “I always keep my powder dry, as they say in the military.”
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He said that Obama had “stabilized the financial system” in the wake of the deep recession of 2008-2009 and “fixed the auto industry.” Powell also said he thought the country was on the right path toward winding down the war in Afghanistan.