by George Beardsley
Full transcript of retired General Colin Powell on Meet the Press, endorsing Barack Obama.
General Colin Powell (Retired), Secretary of State 2001-2005, on Meet the Press:
Meet the Press: ...Senator McCain. You have met twice at least with Barack Obama. Are you prepared to make a public declaration of which of these two candidates you are prepared to support?
Powell (nodding): Uh, yes, but let me lead into it this way.
I know both of these individuals very well now. I've known John for 25 years as your set-up said, and I've gotten to know Mr. Obama quite well over the past two years. Both of them are distinguished Americans who are patriotic, dedicated to the welfare of our country. Either one of them, I think, would be a good president.
I have said to Mr. McCain that, um, I admire all he has done. I have some concerns about the direction that the Party has taken in recent years. It has moved more to the Right than I would like to see it, but that's a choice the Party makes.
And I've said to Mr. Obama, "You have to pass the test of, Do you have enough experience? Do you bring the judgment to the table that would give us confidence that you would be a good president?"
And I've watched them over the past two years, frankly, and I've had this conversation with them. I have especially watched over the last six or seven weeks as both of them have really taken a final exam with respect to this economic crisis that we are in, and coming out of the Conventions.
And I must say that, uh, I've gotten a good measure of both. In the case of Mr. McCain, I found that he was a little unsure as to how to deal with the economic problems that we're having. And almost every day there was a different approach to the problem and that concerned me. It's sensing that he didn't have a complete grasp of the economic problems that we had. And I was also concerned at the selection of Governor Palin. She's a very distinguished woman and she is to be admired. But at the same time, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don't believe she's ready to be President of the United States, which is the job of the Vice President. And so, uh, that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made.
On the Obama side, I watched Mr. Obama and I watched him during this seven-week period. And he displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge, and an approach to looking at problems like this, picking a Vice President that I think is ready to be President on Day One. And also in – not just in jumping in and changing every day – but showing intellectual vigor, I think that he has a definitive way of doing business that would serve us well.
I also believe that on the Republican side over the last seven weeks, the approach of the Republican Party and Mr. McCain has become narrower and narrower. Uh, Mr. Obama, at the same time, has given us a more conclusive, more reach into the needs and aspirations of our people. He's crossing lines – ethnic lines, racial lines, generational lines. He's thinking about all villages have values, all towns have values – not just small towns have values.
And I've also been disappointed, frankly, by some of the approaches that Senator McCain has taken recently – or his campaign has – on issues that are not really central to the problems that the American people are worried about. This Bill Ayers situation that's been going on for weeks became something of a central point of the campaign, but Mr. McCain says that he's a watchdog of terrorists. Then why do we keep talking about him? And why do we have these robocalls going on around the country, trying to suggest that because of this very, very limited relationship that Senator Obama has had with Mr. Ayers, somehow Mr. Obama is tainted. What they're trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings. And I think that's inappropriate.
Now I understand what politics is all about. I know how you can go after one another. And that's good. But, I think this goes too far. And I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow. It's not what the American people are looking for.
And I look at these kinds of approaches to the campaign and they trouble me. And the Party has moved even further to the Right. And Governor Palin has indicated a further rightward shift. I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that's what we'd be looking at in a McCain Administration.