Sunday, October 19, 2008

Powell hitches his wagon to the wrong man

I believe know one in the Obama camp told Powell about his Raila Odinga problem. Otherwise he would have never endorsed Obama.'s Politics Blog
Meet Chris Cillizza
Powell Endorses Obama
After months of hints and speculation, former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed the presidential candidacy of Barack Obama this morning, a huge vote of confidence in the Illinois Democrat with just 16 days left before the November election.

"He has both style and substance," Powell said of Obama on NBC's "Meet the Press". "I think he is a transformational figure."

As we wrote on Friday, the Powell endorsement carries huge symbolic importance -- not only is he a former high-ranking member of President Bush's Cabinet but he also was the most visible face in making the case for the war against Iraq.

Powell's endorsement complicates any attempt by John McCain and others within the Republican Party to cast Obama as naive on world affairs and unready to lead in a dangerous time. Obama now has a ready retort: "Well, Colin Powell seems to trust my judgment; that's why he endorsed me."

In politics, timing is everything and Powell's endorsement comes at a sweet spot for Obama.

Yesterday in Missouri he drew an estimated 100,000 people to a St. Louis rally, and then this morning his campaign announced that it had raised a stunning $150 million in September alone -- more than double his best previous month of cash collection. And now, an endorsement from a man who is -- arguably -- the most popular political figure in the country.

Did we mention the election is in 16 days?
By Chris Cillizza | October 19, 2008; 9:45 AM ET

Will Colin Powell endorse Barack Obama?
Posted By: Toby Harnden at Oct 19, 2008
Posted in: Foreign Correspondents

The nation's attention (OK, that part of it within the Beltway) will turn to "Meet the Press" on Sunday morning to see whether Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, will finally endorse Barack Obama. It's been an open secret for at least 18 months that Powell is highly enamoured with the Illinois senator. Recently, he's made it known to friends that he's very much out of love with John McCain, whom he believes has surrounded himself with neo-cons and indulged in below-the-belt tactics against Obama.

Now that Powell's chosen to appear on the biggest political platform availble , the general assumption is that he'll give Obama his seal of approval. But veteran Powell watcher Thomas DeFrank cautions that the legendarily-cautious Powell might not make a formal endorsement. Remember, even Republicans like Senator Chuck Hagel, clearly an Obama backer and tipped as a possible pick by Obama to be Pentagon chief, have made no public declaration of support.

Even if Powell does endorse Obama, will it make any difference? It might cause some Republican-minded swing voters (among whom Powell is popular) to get behind Obama but at this late stage the practical effect would be minimal.

A Powell endorsement would be more an indication of how strong the feeling is in official Washington that Obama will win - the assumption being that there's no way Powell (who seems eager to return to public life) would commit himself unless he was sure Obama would be the 44th President...

Many would see Powell's desire for rehabilitation after his support for the Iraq invasion and his ill-judged presentation to the United Nations as a principal motivation for his endorsing Obama.

But publicly supporting Obama at this stage is hardly a great risk. I'd say that it will take a lot more sackcloth and ashes on Powell's part before many will forgive him for aligning himself so closely with George W. Bush over a policy about which he privately expressed so many misgivings.

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