Sunday, October 19, 2008

TRANSCRIPT: Fmr. Sec State, Gen. Colin Powell (ret.) endorses Barack Obama

Here is the earth-shaking endorsement by former National Security Advisor, former Secretary of State, retired head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell. Powell served under both President George H. W. Bush and President George W. Bush. He led the military during "Operation Desert Storm" in 1991. In as much as he has been political, he has always been a Republican. He spoke for George W. Bush's candidacy at the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia. The conduct of the John McCain campaign and many people in the Republican Party clearly drove Powell to this decision.
Scroll to the bottom, to where he squarely addressed Tom Brokaw's question of any (racial preference in his endorsement. )

Today, he added to Barack Obama's legitimacy among moderates and Independents, by endorsing the Illinois senator in an exclusive interview with Tom Brokaw on "Meet the Press." More than anything, this endorsement undergirds Obama's legitimacy as a potential commander-in-chief of the military.

THE FOLLOWING IS THE TRANSCRIPT OF HIS ENDORSEMENT OF BARACK OBAMA:
I know both of these individuals very well. I’ve known John for 25 years, as your set-up said, and I’ve gotten to know Mr. Obama quite well over the past 2 years. Both of them are distinguished Americans who are patriotic, who are dedicated to the welfare of our country. Either one of them, I think, would be a good president.

I have said to Mr. McCain that I admore all he has done. I have some concerns about the direction that the 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.

And I’ve said to Mr. Obama, you have to pass a test of ‘do you have enough experience?’ And do you bring the judgment to the table that would give us confidence that you would be a good president.

And I’ve watched them over the past two years frankly, and I’ve had this conversation with them.

I have especially watched over the last 6 or 7 weeks as both of them have really taken a final exam with respect to this economic crisis that we’re in and coming out of the conventions.

And I must say that I’ve gotten a good measure of both, and 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 did not have a complete grasp of the economic problems that we had. And 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, 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 watched Mr. Obama, and I watched him during this 7-week period. And he displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge, and an approach to looking at problems like this and picking a Vice President that I think is ready to be president on day one, and also in, not just jumping in and changing every day, but show intellectual vigor. I think that he has a definitive way of doing business that would serve us well.

I also believe that on the Republican side, over the last 7 weeks the approach of the Republican Party and Mr. McCain has become narrower and narrower. Mr. Obama at the same time has given us some more broader inclusive 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 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 he’s a washed out terrorist—well, why do we keep talking about him? And why do we have these robocalls going on around the country trying to suggest that because of this very, very limited relationship, that Senator Obama has had with Mr. Ayers, now Mr. Obama is tainted. What they’re trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings, and I think that’s inappropriate.

Now I understand what politics is all about, I know how you can go after one another. And that’s good. But I think this goes too far. And I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrower. 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.

And 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 would be looking at in a McCain administration.

I’m also troubled by…what members of the party say, and 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 7-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 a 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 20 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 Kareem Ushad 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 could go serve his country, and he gave his life.

Now we have got to stop polarizing ourselves in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory 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 on 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’ve 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, 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 onto the world stage, the American stage,

And for that reason, I will be voting for Barack Obama.

--transcript from groundreport.com

Following that formal endorsement statement, he responded to Brokaw regarding Obama's capability to lead the military.:

BROKAW:
I can already anticipate some of the reaction to this. Let's begin with the charge that John McCain has continued to make against Barack Obama. You sit there, as a man who served in Vietnam, you commanded a battalion of 101st, you were chairman of the Joint Chiefs, you were a national security adviser and secretary of state. There is nothing in Barack Obama's history that nearly paralyze any--parallels any of the experiences that you've had. And while he has performed impressively in the context of the campaign, there's a vast difference between sitting in the Oval Office and making tough decisions and doing well in a campaign.
POWELL:
And he knows that. And I have watched him over the last two years as he has educated himself, as he has become very familiar with these issues. He speaks authoritatively. He speaks with great insight into the challenges we're facing of a military and political and economic nature. And he is surrounding himself, I'm confident, with people who'll be able to give him the expertise that he, at the moment, does not have. And so I have watched an individual who has intellectual vigor and who dives deeply into issues and approaches issues with a very, very steady hand. And so I'm confident that he will be ready to take on these challenges on January 21st.
* * *

Again, we should remember, Powell cited the desperate moves by the McCain campaign and Republicans (... "my party" -Powell) as repelling Powell. McCain could have had this endorsement.

Note further, the points that Powell makes in dispelling any racial bias in his endorsement:
MR. BROKAW: And you are fully aware that there will be some--how many, no one can say for sure--but there will be some who will say this is an African-American, distinguished American, supporting another African-American because of race.

GEN. POWELL: If I had only had that in mind, I could have done this six, eight, 10 months ago. I really have been going back and forth between somebody I have the highest respect and regard for, John McCain, and somebody I was getting to know, Barack Obama. And it was only in the last couple of months that I settled on this. And I can't deny that it will be a historic event for an African-American to become president. And should that happen, all Americans should be proud--not just African-Americans, but all Americans--that we have reached this point in our national history where such a thing could happen. It will also not only electrify our country, I think it'll electrify the world. --transcript from raisingkaine.com.

--->> McCain has lost the moderates. In addition to vacating Michigan his campaign should vacate upper New England and the Middle-Atlantic states, the last bastions of moderate Republican Congresspeople.

3 comments:

Norris Hall said...

Is Powell correct when he says that the Republican party is shifting to the right???
After viewing this video interview by Republican Senator Michelle Bachmann I've changed my view
Click to view Video of Senator Michelle Bachmann on Hardball
So...what do you think. is Colin Powell was just being overly sensitive

AL_EastCoasting said...

Thanks, Norris, for drawing attention to Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann's appearance on Chris Matthew's Hardball.
She is indeed Senator Joe McCarthy reincarnate!

AL_EastCoasting said...
This comment has been removed by the author.