"I believe in social responsibility. A man's service to others must be at least in ratio to the character of his own success in life. When one is fortunate enough to gain a measure of material well being, however small, service to others should be uppermost in his mind." - Hon. Walter H. Annenberg (1951)
Former US Secretary of State and Retired General Colin L. Powell has endorsed US Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States of America calling the junior senator from Illinois a "transformational figure."
"I think we need a transformational figure. I think we need a president who is a generational change and that's why I'm supporting Barack Obama, not out of any lack of respect or admiration for Sen. John McCain."
Campaigning in the battleground state of North Carolina, Senator Obama expressed his deep appreciation for Powell's endorsement: ''I am beyond honored and deeply humbled to have the support of General Colin Powell. General Powell has defended this nation bravely, and he has embodied our highest ideals through his long and distinguished public service. ...And he knows, as we do, that this is a moment where we all need to come together as one nation -- young and old, rich and poor, black and white, Republican and Democrat.''
Powell, who served as US Secretary of State in the Republican administration of current President George W. Bush, made the endorsement in a taped recording of Meet the Press.
Secretary Powell, according to the NYT, said the McCain campaign was overtly negative and had gone "over the top" in its mudslinging.
Powell explicitly condemned the guilt-by-association tactics GOP spinmeisters have used to link Senator Obama to Professor William Ayers, a former member of the 1960s radical group the Weather Underground.
Senator Obama and Professor Ayers worked on education reform as the City of Chicago pursued a grant funded by Republican Walter H. Annenberg, former Ambassador to the Court of St. James's (UK) under President Richard M. Nixon.
Annenberg, a successful businessman, was chairman and president of Triangle Publications, Inc., publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer, TV Guide, and Seventeen, as well as a Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1986). He is an alumnus of The Peddie School (1927) in Hightstown, New Jersey, and was a longtime education philanthropist and humanitarian before his death in 2002.
He is survived by his wife, Leonore Rosenstiel Annenberg, former Chief of Protocol of the United States (1981-1982) under President Ronald Reagan. Mrs. Annenberg is currently the chairwoman and president of the Annenberg Foundation where she continues her late husband's philanthropic work.
The Annenberg Foundation awarded an education challenge grant to the Windy City which required oversight by a board of directors: Senator Obama and other Chicago civic leaders were tapped for membership on the board to oversee the grant. Professor Ayers, a specialist on small learning communities and an education scholar, collaborated with the group in the early stages of the grant award process.
Ambassador Annenberg was a great American patriot, a generous patron of education, a world-class philanthropist, and a highly principled public servant. He would not have permitted, as Republican political operatives have implied, persons he believed to be "domestic terrorists" or "anti-American" characters to manage a challenge grant awarded by his family's charitable foundation.
For public records concerning the Annenberg Foundation's Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) Grant, see: http://www.annenbergfoundation.org/news/news_show.htm?doc_id=702786