Colin Powell has endorsed President Barack Obama for a second term of presidency. Powell, who backed Obama in 2008, announced his endorsement on CBS This Morning on Thursday.
“I think we ought to keep on the track that we are on,” Powell said.
Neither candidate asked for Powell’s endorsement and the general did not give early notice to either candidate, he said.
His backing arrives less than two weeks before the Nov. 6 election. Earlier this year, Powell declined to endorse, saying he was not ready to choose until he’d seen more of Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign.
President Obama called Powell to thank him for his endorsement, according to spokesman Jay Carney.
Powell, who served as secretary of state under President George W. Bush, found fault with Romney’s changing views, particularly on international affairs.
“The governor who was saying things at the debate on Monday night was saying things that were quite different from what he said earlier,” Powell said referring to the final debate on foreign policy earlier this week. “I’m not quite sure which Gov. Romney we would be getting with respect to foreign policy,” he added.
“One day he has a certain strong view about staying in Afghanistan but then on Monday night he agrees with the withdrawal - same thing in Iraq. On almost every issue that was discussed on Monday night, Gov. Romney agreed with the president with some nuances. But this is quite a different set of foreign policy views than he had earlier in the campaign,” Powell said. “And my concern is that sometimes I don’t sense that he has thought through these issues as thoroughly as he should have.”
The former secretary of state’s endorsement won’t move votes, though, msnbc host Chuck Todd said on Morning Joe on Thursday.
“This would have had more impact if he had not endorsed. If he would have said I’m not endorsing this time or going with Romney.” Todd said. “Then that becomes man bites dog.”
An unexpected endorsement – like that of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has stayed out of the race so far – or one that reverses an earlier choice has far more power than a re-endorsement, he added. “This one is more a sigh of relief in Obama Land,” he added.
Despite the endorsements, Powell said he’s still a Republican.
“I think I’m a Republican of a more moderate mold,” he said, “That’s something of a dying breed I’m sorry to say.”