Colin Powell on Meet the Press

When such a man as former Sec of State Colin Powell, who enjoys an 80% approval rating, makes such a strong, well-thought & well-spoken endorsement, its hard to ignore or argue with. I would have to say I agree with the Republican & Ret. General.

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I have said to Mr. McCain that I admire all he has done. I have some concerns about the direction that the party has taken in recent years....I was also concerned at the selection of Governor Palin. She's a very distinguished woman, and she's to be admired; but at the same time...I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president. And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made.

On the Obama side, I watched Mr. Obama...And he displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge and an approach to looking at problems...And also, in not just jumping in and changing every day, but showing intellectual vigor. I think that he has a, a definitive way of doing business that would serve us well. I also believe that...the approach of the Republican Party and Mr. McCain has become narrower and narrower. Mr. Obama, at the same time, has given us a more inclusive, broader 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 ads, 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....What they're trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings. And I think that's inappropriate.

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. He's 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?

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 world--onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama.

I strongly believe that at this point in America's history, we need a president that will not just continue...the policies that we have been following in recent years. I think we need a transformational figure. I need--think we need a president who is a generational change. And that's why I'm supporting Barack Obama.

From the press conference:

And this business of, for example, a congressman from Minnesota who’s going around saying let’s examine all congressmen to see who is pro-America or not pro-America. We have got to stop this kind of nonsense and pull ourselves together and remember that our great strength is in our unity and in our diversity.

Mr. Obama is now a socialist because he dares to suggest that maybe we ought to look at the tax structure that we have. Taxes are always a redistribution of money. Most of the taxes that are redistributed go back to those who pay it in roads and airports and hospitals and schools. And taxes are necessary for the common good...And for us to say that makes you a socialist I think is an unfortunate characterization that isn’t accurate. And I don’t want my taxes raised...But I also want to see our infrastructure fixed. I don’t want to have a $12 trillion national debt and I don’t want to see an annual deficit that’s over $500 billion heading toward a trillion. So how do we deal with all of this?

I think that Sen. McCain, as gifted as he is, is essentially going to execute the Republican agenda, the orthodoxy of the Republican agenda with a new face and with a maverick approach to it. And he'd be quite good at it. But I think we need more than that.
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