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Transcript of Colin Powell Endorsing Barack Obama

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I'm also troubled by – not what Senator McCain says – but what members of the Party say, and it is permitted to be said: such things as, "Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim."  Well, the correct answer is he is not a Muslim.  He's a Christian; has always been a Christian.  But the really right answer is, "What if he is?  Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?"  The answer's "No, that's not America."  Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim American kid believing that he or she could be President?  Yet, I have heard senior members of my own Party drop the suggestion he's Muslim and he might be associated with terrorists.  This is not the way we should be doing it in America.   

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine.  It was a photo essay about troops who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery.  And she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave.  And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards – Purple Heart, Bronze Star; showed that he died in Iraq; gave his date of birth, date of death.  He was twenty years old. And then at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross.  It didn't have a Star of David.  It had a crescent and a star of the Islamic faith.  And his name was Karim Rashad Sultan Kahn.  And he was an American.  He was born in New Jersey, he was fourteen years old at the time of 9/11 and he waited until he could go serve his country and he gave his life. 

Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way.  And John McCain is as non-discriminatory as anyone I know.  But I'm troubled about the fact that within the Party we have these kinds of expressions. 

So when I look at all of this and I think back to my army career, 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 into the ... onto the world stage and on the American stage and for that reason, I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama.

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