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Powell Endorses Obama — Transcript

October 20th, 2008 · No Comments · Politics

Powell-meet-the-press

From Meet The Press, Sunday Oct. 19th, 2008.

And this should have been spoken to Tim Russert R.I.P. but was delivered by Sec. of State Colin Powell to Tim’s brother & colleague Tom Brokaw.

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Colin Powell’s statement:

I have some concerns about the direction that the Republican 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.

I have especially watched over the last six or seven weeks as both candidates 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 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 were having and almost every day there was a different approach to the problem.  And that concerned me, sensing that he didn’t have a complete grasp of the economic problems that we had.

And I was also concerned at his selection of Governor Palin.  She’s a very distinguished woman, and she’s 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 that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made.

On the Obama side, I also 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 – as well as picking a Vice President that, I think, is ready to be President on day one.  And also, in not just jumping in and changing his approach 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 the approach of the Republican Party and Mr. McCain over the last seven weeks 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 ethnic lines, racial lines, generational lines.  He’s thinking about how 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 washed-up terrorist.”  Well, then, why do we keep talking about him?

And why do we have these robo-calls 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.  I think it goes too far, and 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.

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.

I’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And that it 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, so what if he is?  Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?  The answer is 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’ve heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, “He’s a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.”  This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I feel strongly about this in part because of a picture in a photo essay I saw about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And one picture 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, his date of birth, date of death.  He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross, it didn’t have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith.  And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American.  He was born in New Jersey.  He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life.  Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourselves in this way.  And 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 figureHe is a new generation coming into the world — onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for these reasons I’ll be voting for Senator Barack Obama.

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For my tribute to a great political reporter — check out my Tim Russert tribute.

For one of the most historic events in American history — check out my Obama Inauguration Adventures.

For how Woodstock promoter Michael Lang used my reports in his book — check out how Obama’s Inauguration was like Woodstock.

For an account of the most jubilant night in the history of New York — check the Election Night 2008 Adventure

For a night in New York that started out just as joyous — check out the Election Night 2004 Adventure.

For the kind of creations that got us across the historic finish line — check out my poem and video for Where Wayward Jekylls Hyde.

For an on-the-campaign-trail adventure — check out the physical altercation I was in the middle of with Al Franken at a Howard Dean rally in ’04.

For a full listing of great reporters and news sources — check out my Political Sources Primer.

For how well these sources work — check out my 2012 election predictions.

… or here’s the 2008 projections — in both, I’m over 98% correct.  😉

 

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Brian Hassett  — karmacoupon@gmail.com

Brian Hassett .com

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