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Is Colin Powell Close To Making An Endorsement?

Colin Powell

Former U.S. Secretary of State General Colin Powell attends the Africa Rising Festival in London, England. Dan Kitwood, Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Dan Kitwood, Getty Images

Colin Powell may throw his support behind John McCain or Barack Obama after tonight's debate, writes Lawrence O'Donnell.

When Colin Powell turns off his TV after the final presidential debate, he will have learned everything he is going to learn about the candidates vying to succeed his former boss, George W. Bush. Powell has made it clear that he has been thinking about an endorsement for a long time but wanted to hear more from the candidates before making his choice. It now seems beyond doubt that Colin Powell will endorse Barack Obama and thereby hammer the final nail in the coffin of the Republican campaign to hold onto the White House.

The recent ugliness of the McCain-Palin rally audiences cannot be lost on Colin Powell. And Powell is not one to ignore a 14 point lead in a New York Times poll. But most important for Powell and the press will be his explicit rejection of the Bush-McCain approach to Iraq, Iran and the rest of the world.

Powell's endorsement will be perfectly timed to dominate a news cycle or two. It will give Obama the one thing he still needs more of—credibility as Commander-In-Chief. And Sarah Palin's speechwriters will be hard pressed to come up with a condescending quip about it.

Assuming Powell endorses Obama, what impact do you think it will have — both on the election and on Powell's legacy?

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