Did former U.S. Secretary of State and retired four star Army general Colin L. Powell, a prominent Republican, just endorse Barack Obama for president of the United States because both men are black?

A top surrogate for the campaign of Republican Mitt Romney said so Thursday, bringing race into the presidential contest just days before ballots are cast in America on Nov. 6.

Former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu, who has spoken in support of the Romney campaign for over a year, suggested on CNN Thursday night that Mr. Powell’s announced objections to Mr. Romney’s proposals and policies were not the real reason that Mr. Powell has broken with his own party to openly endorse and support President Obama.

“Frankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that’s an endorsement based on issues, or whether he’s got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama,” Mr. Sununu told CNN’s Piers Morgan on Morgan’s nationally telecast interview program. Asked by Mr. Morgan what that “different reason” might be, the Romney campaign surrogate said:

“Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that you’re proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him.”

Facing an immediate backlash for calling Colin Powell’s endorsement essentially disingenuous, Mr. Sununu backtracked a few hours after the Morgan interview, releasing a statement directly contradicting his own earlier pronouncement. “Colin Powell,” Mr. Sununu said, “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.”

For his part, the Republican Powell made it crystal clear why he was not supporting Mitt Romney, his own party’s nominee. Appearing on the a.m. news program CBS This Morning, Mr. Powell said he had the “utmost respect” for Mitt Romney, but was concerned about what he termed Mr. Romney’s shifting foreign policies. “The governor who was speaking on Monday night at the debate was saying things that were quite different from what he’s said earlier, so I’m not quite sure what Governor Romney we would be getting with respect to foreign policy,” Mr. Powell said.

Mr. Powell was Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005 during the administration of President George W. Bush, yet had no problem praising President Obama for his handling of the U.S. economy. “When he took over, the country was in very, very difficult straits, we were in one of the worst recessions we had seen in recent times, close to a depression,” Mr. Powell said. “We were in real trouble. I saw over the next several years stabilization come back in the financial community, housing is now starting to pick up after four years, it’s starting to pick up. Consumer confidence is rising. So I think generally we’ve come out of the dive and we’re starting to gain altitude.”

The retired four-star general went on to call Obama’s actions to protect the U.S. from terrorist threats “very, very solid.”

Was former Gov. Sununu’s remark on a widely televised interview concerning Mr. Powell’s endorsement of President Obama a last-minute attempt to “play the race card” a little over a week before a national election?

Only Mr. Sununu knows the answer to that inquiry, but there is little question that the endorsement of Mr. Obama by a Republican as prominent as the former secretary of state (Mr. Powell was only a few years ago being encouraged by his party to run for President himself) had to have stung the Romney campaign, which would no doubt have preferred Mr. Powell to simply keep silent if he did not feel he could openly endorse Mr. Romney.

Perhaps Romney supporters felt that the only way to mute the Powell endorsement of President Obama was to marginalize it as simply one black man assisting another. In the world of a New Spirituality, where fairness and transparency would be the hallmark, Mr. Sununu would return to the Piers Morgan program and make an apology to the same nationwide audience for his remark, and then say on national television what he put into a written statement released hours after the CNN program aired: “I respect the endorsement decision he (Colin Powell) made, and I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the President’s policies.”

Wouldn’t that have been refreshing? It would have been far better than saying something blatantly racist on nationwide TV, then issuing a corrective statement hours later–a statement that everyone knows is far less likely to be seen in print by as many millions as watch CNN.

In some circles this is called Get-Away-With-It Politics, in which you do something outrageous Big, apologize for it Small, then say you did your best to correct yourself, while really doing very little to alter the original impression that you so powerfully created.

This kind of political handiwork is usually done by political hacks known as “hatchet men.” Generally these are well known former political figures, now cronies who hang around on the edges of campaigns issuing supportive statements on behalf of the candidate, but without official portfolio, so they can get away with saying what the campaign itself cannot.

In other words, people like former governor John Sununu. And if the Romney Campaign wanted to do something showing real class, it, too, would disavow Mr. Sununu’s racist remark about the Powell endorsement of President Obama.

Don’t count on it.


(Have a comment? Submit it below. Your opinion matters. — Editor)

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  • Sallie Smith

    Wouldn’t it be refreshing if any of our politicians really cared about the people? Wouldn’t it be refreshing if all political offices were “volunteer” (serve the country positions) Wouldn’t it be refreshing if the politicians weren’t more interested in taking care of the “back pocket buddies” and taking care of the real problems the US faces? Our forefathers are probably rolling in their graves watching us quickly become socialist.

  • Darryl Schoenstadt

    Unfortunately, I have yet to see any consistent class with the Romney campaign. Hatchet men/women have been making bigoted statements about Obama and his campaign from the beginning and Romney has no record of trying to draw a line that would have shown any real integrity and character. From my view, he is the most blatant opportunist I have seen in my lifetime and he is proving through his ‘we don’t care about facts’ campaign that if there is one thing he and his team understand, it is the psychology of organizing and amassing group control through fear and deceit.

  • Trisha

    For me I see people making up stories because of their own fears, plain and very simple. Powell can endorse any person he wants that is his FREE WILL as a human BEing. (caps on purpose.)

  • Bruce Barnhart

    Have you examined all the “race card” comments and charges that are as carelessly bandied about by the Obama surrogates?? I think not.

  • Michael L

    I Love the one sideness of this article. Not.

    Was the Sununun’s statement odious absolutely.

    But why suggest that either side will come back on camera, I mean the president him self interrupted Romney about his troop with drawl in Iraq calling him a liar which was totally untrue, so why expect them to change.

    Gen. Powell is a very very moderate republican at best.
    He didn’t even support Senator McCain in the last election , so why do you think he would support his party, this time, really.

    Neale wrote,
    In other words, people like former governor John Sununu. And if the Romney Campaign wanted to do something showing real class, it, too, would disavow Mr. Sununu’s racist remark about the Powell endorsement of President Obama.

    As you write this general statement of “hacks” it would be more believable if you implored the President, to make the same disavowing statement, instead of just letting him say generally his campaign has been “over the top”.

    You want to change the political discourse, not in this election cycle.

    Maybe next time or the next, because we would have to lay down a landing pad for that to be created. A space for honest folks to feel comfortable being in. To elect the honest ones.

  • Hugh pepper

    This is blatant racism calculated to appeal to voters in a way advantageous to the Romney campaign. What does this say about the electoral process and the electorate? Does this not simply perpetuate racism and gutter politics? If Romney had any character at all he would denounce this statement and push Sununu to the backbenches.

  • Sean

    I feel this discussion is at best what sparks useless debate. I make this statement by no means to be condescending to “It’s” participants. Rather to maybe help others see the opportunity to hear what can be taken to far out of context that only results in the same behavior we are trying to let go of. (Be it civil or not).

    Disguises are masked for deceitful purposes, unless somebody recognizes that fact first.

    New Spirituality, in my understanding is not going back to what did not work the first time. To realize that only way to change that particular mindset is to recognize it before it causes one to lose focus.

    Or better yet, get lost in the process when it shows up in a familiar way, in order to see for itself what is really going on. If it can be seen, and not reinforced.

    With Sincerity,


  • Frank

    I’m not so excited about the unbalanced approach here as of late. For each knuckle-headed statement or proposal made by some right wing zealot, there are equally knuckle-headed statements or proposals made by left wing zealots. In neither case can one condemn an ideology over a couple of bad apples. But it seems that here we are buying into the theater of left and right. That’s all it is. Theater. It’s like court attorneys that, during trial, malign each other for dramatic effect and afterword are eating steaks at a swanky joint together because “heck, we’re getting paid” “Left and Right” are for your consumption to keep you busy while others decide your fate.

    So we’re talking about race here? His comment was racial. Is he wrong? Who knows? I don’t. You don’t. It could be exactly as he said. If they are friends he could know a great deal that you do not about Powell’s feelings on the issue. And why would that be a bad thing if he was supporting him because he’s black? If it makes him happy then that’s just fine with me. In fact I recall a couple of “A list” black movie actors saying that very thing. Not a problem. It’s their vote and they can use it for whatever purpose they want. That’s freedom.

    Race, or more accurately looks, play in to many peoples thinking when voting. People often vote for the candidate that they relate to. This can be visual as well as political.

    Obama captured 96 percent of the black vote in 08. That’s pretty good! In fact that is so good that I find it hard to think that it was just his policies. It’s right up there with the percentage of Iraqis who voted for Saddam Hussein in his last election. I use that juxtaposition only to point out that there very well could be more than just one’s policies influencing the vote.

    A system who’s parties marry’s the structure of governance with the debate on what’s socially acceptable is almost like a guarantee of strife.

    Why must controlled spending and small government be married to strict social codes and judgement? Why must uncontrolled spending and big government be tied to social freedom of expression? Is there not room for a different kind of party? — a hybrid? If we are all one, do we need parties at all?

    Long winded today, I know. But if you only see the good in one party – or as this site lately does – the bad in one – I think you are missing half of the picture.

  • Michael L

    Well said Frank.

    I married Pats response, on one of these posts.

    Let the red voters in blue states vote for a alternative that would work. And blue voters living in red states voting for a third candidate.

    That could change the conversation.

  • Michael R


    I love your work and what you do but I can’t believe you are getting involved with politics. By saying anything against one party means you are endorsing the other. As a public figure don’t you think you should keep your opinions to yourself? As a spiritual leader you should know by now that our political system is broken and needs a total overhaul. I don’t believe either side any more because the problems have been going on for generations and BOTH parties have had many opportunities to do something about it but all we get is lip service with little to no action. True change, the kind of change we need, I unfortunately believe isn’t coming any time soon. All this political talk is only creating more separation and until we hear more talk of unification and cooperation followed by action nothing is going to change. It can’t. This election has been the most expensive to date and has managed to create only more separation. As one of the greatest spiritual leaders alive don’t you think your dialogue should start reflecting more of what we need instead of pointing out all of the obvious problems. We, the people, have allowed this mess to take place with our complacency, lack of interest and neglect. Until we “wake up” and decide we’ve had enough of the Washington hypocrisy, nothing is going to change. We did it in the sixties. We changed events. We stopped a war, we ended discrimination, we made a difference. The same thing is going to have to occur this time as well because the greedy will not stop being greedy until we demand it. And we do that by coming together for the benefit of all.

  • Peter

    Not being an American I feel that my opinion should be taken just as that, an opinion no better than anyone else’s. But standing on the sideline I can see President Obama as a ships captain trying to navigate America through some very rough sea’s & trying to ensure that all the passengers have a journey as comfortable as possible. When a wave hits there will be passengers that get injured & you would expect the other passengers to assist the injured where possible. As a captain you must do what is in the best interests of all the passengers, but firstly you must do what is in the best interest of the ship as without this, all may perish.
    So as much as it is an extremely difficult period for a lot of Americans suffering economic hardship, if the country tries to back away from the course President Obama has taken, and economic indicators show that things are beginning to improve, I feel that the nation as a whole will suffer a downturn again with even greater hardship than has just been experienced. Please don’t let that happen, the whole world is watching and we believe and trust in the spirit of America as a whole to bring the earth back to itself through love faith and understanding.

  • Arletta Saafir

    Hilarious!!!! It is quite apparent that no matter what a black man has accomplished when the race card is introduced he is automatically marginalized and dismissed. How convenient for the Republican camp. Especially since many Republicans, while loath to admit it, who are lukewarm on Romney and his policies but will vote for him simply because he is white

  • Ron

    I don’t care about what color or race people are, the system that we have in place is NOT WORKING. I don’t want either one of the candidates. I want a different WORLD, one that doesn’t need a government to rule over humanity. Humanity rules it self!!!!!!!!!!!! Love is the only way.

  • Ruchir

    The leaders and spokespersons are only a reflection of the people collectively. The people are not yet ready to be awake and live responsibly, so they get leaders who use them. Surely more will wake up, but if we want to speed things along, we should present some practical incremental solutions. Only love is not enough. One must be strong, very strong, and then the love one feels has some power. Many spiritually inclined people are weak financially and emotionally. They are unable to participate in this world. What greater reality can they create when their being is scattered in feeling anguish and despair. The unkind control our world because they have great passion and enthusiasm – for money at any cost, power over others, feeling separate and superior, etc. Unless we can generate such enthusiasm among ourselves, we can not bring about the world we want. Neale had started a ‘group of 1000’ a few years ago as a platform for people to come together to change the world. I joined the group too for some time but I wasn’t ready to commit to it fully. I lacked in enthusiasm. I doubt that we had any measurable impact. But I have been taking my own baby steps since, all of which are about taking responsibility and transforming myself. Neale, I beg you to continue to speak out even at the risk of appearing partisan, because people who come to this site are mature enough to make up their own mind about issues.

  • Víctor

    Talking about that US “political system is broken and needs a total overhaul”, as Michael R said, I suggest this article for a good reading:

    Voting for Death


  • Jaz

    Great article.. Víctor, thanks. I’m glad I dropped in.

  • Lloyd

    Is there racism in our society, absolutely, and prejudice and greed and ignorance and fear, and all the human traits that exist. The real question for America is do we want freedom, and how are we going to get it? Revolution, rewriting our constitution, eliminating congress and taking responsibility for voting in a democracy where popular votes rule instead of elected humans who get bought by greed? We must “each” choose to take responsibility for whom we vote for and what they stand for. So which party offers us more freedom and which party supports freedom of choice for all, and which party is willing to accept difference as a good thing instead of as something to fear and control? Which party values war and control over other countries, versus a partnership in a human community? These are the questions that each of us must answer for ourselves, and this should determine whom we vote for, not rethoric. Capitalism is not mentioned in our constitution, and actually corporations were only to be allowed as long as they could show benefit to the majority of society, and the early limit was 5 years. Money is not speach, it is just the illusion of power, and individuals ie each of us must learn how to take back our power, personal and collective. We are the government, and the government was created to protect society from all threats domestic and forgien, including corporate/banking institutions and now is the time to vote out those that side with the greedy over the struggling humanity just wanting to survive. Do not let the fear mongers deter you from doing what you know is justice and fairness and love of our Oneness. Namaste’

  • Muhammad

    Joy,How lovely to find your coemmnt when I logged in today! Thanks so much for dropping by. I appreciate your feedback. I am enjoying each day of my busy life and spent a delightful Thanksgiving with my sister her family for the first time in several years so that was wonderful. I hope your Thanksgiving Day was lovely as well. I’ve just send off the final draft of the first of what I hope will be a series of Labyrinth Journals to be published. It’s exciting and a bit scary too, but I’ve learned to be more comfortable with the discomfort’ that comes with sharing what I write, and hopefully it will get easier as time goes by.Hugs and blessings,Virginia