Colin Powell Endorses Obama

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Former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell (ret.) i

Former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell (ret.) speaks during a taping of Meet the Press at NBC Oct. 19, 2008 in Washington, DC. Secretary Powell spoke about his endorsement of Democratic presidential nominee U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL). Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images for Meet The Press hide caption

itoggle caption Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images for Meet The Press
Former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell (ret.)

Former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell (ret.) speaks during a taping of Meet the Press at NBC Oct. 19, 2008 in Washington, DC. Secretary Powell spoke about his endorsement of Democratic presidential nominee U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL).

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images for Meet The Press

Former Secretary of State (Gen.) Colin Powell endorsed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for the presidency yesterday. His announcement, two weeks out from the general election, comes at a critical time for both campaigns and parties.

Powell, a Republican and top adviser to three Republican presidents, crossed party lines over the weekend to endorse Obama's bid.

Powell said on NBC's Meet the Press: "We've got two individuals, either one of them could be a good president. But which is the president that we need now? Which is the individual that serves the needs of the nation for the next period of time?

"And I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities — and we have to take that into account — as well as his substance (he has both style and substance) he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president. I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama."

The endorsement by Powell, also a retired General in the U.S. Army, is expected to help sway battleground states, which tend to be home to military families.

Discussing the endorsement are Mark Whitaker, NBC's Washington bureau chief; Douglas Kmiec, chair and professor of Constitutional Law at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California; Armstrong Williams, a conservative commentator; and Michael Steele, former lieutenant governor of Maryland and current chairman of GOPAC, a Republican political action committee.

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