Bush’s former Secretary of State endorses the Senator from Illinois
In a powerful appearance on Meet The Press which is well worth viewing, Colin Powell today set out the reasons why he will be casting his vote for Barack Obama, praising his steadiness, intellectual curiosity and vigour, and his depth of knowledge. He described him as a “transformational figure” of substance who had fought a campaign that was inclusive and inspirational, one that reached out across America, with a Vice-Presidential choice who was ready to be President.
By contrast, Powell had some harsh words for McCain and the Republicans, describing Sarah Palin as not ready for the presidency, with her place on the ticket calling McCain’s judgement into question. McCain was “unsure on the economy” and Powell also expressed disappointment that there had been too much emphasis on lesser issues such as Ayers, and that the whole focus of the GOP campaign had been too narrow.
He noted that the party had moved further to the right than he would like, and stated that he would not be comfortable with two more conservative nominees to the Supreme Court. One of the things that most troubled Powell, however was that party members were describing Obama as a Muslim: “He’s not – he’s a Christian.”
This must surely be one of the sharpest attacks on their own party by a former Cabinet member in recent times. It may well help consolidate Obama’s support among independent voters, and will also burnish his credentials to be Commander-In-Chief and improve his standing on the issues of foreign affairs and defence. A slight drawback is that it may simply be seen by some as one African-American endorsing another.
There are still sixteen days until election day, but might Powell have helped Obama “close the deal” with the American electorate?
A couple of other US stories that may be of interest – Politico reporting that there could be a short election night if Virginia is called for Obama at 7pm Eastern, while the Sunday Times speculates on who might be in an Obama cabinet, suggesting Kerry at State, Larry Summers at Treasury, and Chuck Hagel at Defense – although you are probably advised to treat the piece with caution and a large dose of salt.
Finally, the ever-inventive Ladbrokes have a new US market up on who will be the next Secretary of State – Richard Holbrooke is the 2/1 favourite ahead of Anthony Lake at 5, Kerry at 6, and Powell, Susan Rice and Wes Clarke all 10/1 shots – Bill Richardson and Hillary are at 20, McCain at 25, with Bill Clinton at 33/1.
- USA – Obama raised a record monthly total of $150m in September
Canada – a stonger minority for Stephen Harper and the Conservatives, with Dion’s days at the Liberal helm surely numbered after one of the worst results in the party’s history. The NDP made advances while the Bloc held steady in seats. Full election wrapup available at CBC.
Austria – virtually a state funeral for Haider in Klagenfurt yesterday – but how will the Right of Austrian politics, and indeed the attempts to form a new coalition government, unfold in the wake of his death?