Two Black Republicans, Divided On Obama

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Former Secretary of State Colin Powell's endorsement of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has come with a vast array of questions. Has he opened the floodgates for other Republicans who are teetering on the edge? When presented with a contest between loyalty to one's party and loyalty to one's race, how should one vote? Or is loyalty even a significant part of the equation?

Alex Chadwick speaks with two black Republicans who are divided on these matters.

Ron Christie, former special assistant to President George W. Bush, says he doesn't think Powell's endorsement will have any impact.

"There is no question that Gen. Powell is a very admirable individual, but I have a difficult time believing that just 'cause Powell said he's going to vote for Barack Obama, that he's going to push someone over the edge," he says.

Christie says he is proud to see how the country has progressed, and that it's "encouraging to see African-Americans running for all levels of office." But at the end of the day, "I'm not voting for a race, I'm voting for an individual."

And in his case, that individual is Republican nominee John McCain.

Former Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kevin Ross, who says he voted for McCain in the primary, has a different take on Obama's candidacy.

"For me, I was conflicted about the issue of race," he says. "And I knew exactly what someone like a Colin Powell was struggling with."

He says he felt torn between a sense of loyalty to his party and to his race, but ultimately it came down to the fact that "I had to be able to look at my children, and I wanted to be able to say to them, 'You can be anything you want. And now, after Nov. 4, you can also be president.' "

In his mind, this required supporting the candidate he describes as "competent, bright, touching people's emotions, speaking to a new generation and, on top of that, an African-American" — even if he doesn't agree with all his policies.

He still considers himself a "loyal Republican," however, and emphasizes that it's important that there are African-Americans in both political parties.



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