John Sununu, a top surrogate for the Mitt Romney campaign, suggested former Sec. of State Colin Powell’s endorsement of the president for a second term came down to race.
Asked by CNN’s Piers Morgan if it was time for the Republican Powell to leave the party given that he had endorsed a Democrat for the last two presidential elections, Sununu suggested the endorsement had less to do with “issues” and more to do with something else.
“When you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder if that’s an endorsement based on issues or whether he’s got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama,” he said.
But then he explained his thinking further.
“When you have somebody of your own race that you’re proud of being president of the United States–I applaud Colin Powell for standing with him,” Sununu said.
Sununu released a follow-up statement Friday morning calling Powell a “friend” whose endorsement decision he respects.
Colin Powell is a friend and I respect the endorsement decision he made and I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the President’s policies. Piers Morgan’s question was whether Colin Powell should leave the party, and I don’t think he should.
Sununu is the former chief of staff for former George H.W. Bush and a former governor of New Hampshire. As co-chair of the Romney presidential campaign he is often on the cable TV circuit speaking on behalf of Romney.