Former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Thursday expressed concerns over GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s economic plan and foreign policy.
After renewing his endorsement of President Barack Obama on Thursday’s edition of CBS “This Morning,” Powell described Romney’s views on certain issues as a “moving target.” Powell also said the decision to endorse Obama for a second term was based on his looking at things as a citizen.
“I think this is an exciting race between two very capable men, and I signed on for a long patrol with President Obama, and I don’t think this is the time to make such a sudden change,” Powell said. “Not only am I not comfortable with what Gov. Romney is proposing for his economic plan. I have concerns about his views on foreign policy.
“The governor who was speaking on Monday night at the debate was saying things that were quite different from what he said earlier,” Powell added. “So I’m not quite sure which Gov. Romney we would be getting in terms of foreign policy.”
On the issue of the economy, Powell told the hosts that while he respects Romney, the Republican’s plan to “cut taxes and compensate for it with other things” doesn’t add up and will not provide for the new defense expenses he has promised.
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Romney did some shape-shifting in the final presidential debate on Monday in Florida. The Republican challenger agreed with the president on almost every foreign policy issue after doing the opposite during the primaries.
One of the most striking things on debate night was Romney’s agreement to a 2014 withdrawal from Afghanistan -- this after long stating he would never announce such a date.
When asked by the morning program hosts what concerns him about Romney’s foreign policy, Powell said “it’s hard to fix it” because “it’s a moving target.”
“Gov. Romney agreed with the president with some nuances," Powell said. "But this is quite a different set of foreign policy views than he had earlier in the campaign. And my concern, which I have expressed previously in a public way, is that sometimes I don’t sense that he has thought through these issues as thoroughly as he should have. And he gets advice from his campaign staff that he then has to adjust and modify as he goes along.”
Romney has modified several of his stances throughout the campaign trail. He has moved from a conservative to someone former President Bill Clinton calls “moderate Mitt.”
Powell isn’t the only one asking which Romney America will get if he is elected to the White House. It seems voters will have to grapple with that as well as they head to the polls in coming weeks.
Troubled by what he said are some very strong neo-conservative views presented by Romney, Powell said when it comes to issues like immigration and education, he stands with Obama. And Romney's vow to repeal Obamacare if he gets into office concerns Powell also.
“I do not want to see the new Obamacare program thrown off the table,” he said. “It has issues. You have to fix some things in that plan. But what I see when I look at that plan is that 30 million of our citizens will now be covered by insurance, and I think that’s good. We are one of the few nations in the world with our size and population and wealth that does not have universal health care.”
With Obama laying out late in the game how his second term will look -- focus on the economy and debt -- Powell said whoever wins the presidency will have to pull the country back from its fiscal woes. But he doesn't solely blame the president for the predicament the nation is in.
“This is something that was put in place by Congress, and, while we are talking about the two candidates for president, let’s not forget that Congress bears a lot of the responsibility for many of the problems that we have now,” Powell said. “They are the ones that write the appropriations bills. They are the ones that pass the legislation for more spending and for the various entitlement programs that people have trouble with.”
Obama has repeatedly said he has faced tough fights from Republicans in Congress in getting things done. Still, Powell, who calls himself a “Republican of more moderate mold” and said it’s a dying breed, said he has worked for several conservatives who knew that they had to compromise.
“Compromise is how this country runs.”
Watch the CBS "This Morning" interview below: