John Sununu, the co-chair of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, withdrew claims he made Thursday that former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed President Barack Obama because of race.
Powell, a Republican, publicly offered his endorsement for Obama once more Wednesday, saying he’s seen changes in the economy since the President took office in 2009. Powell said he is still a Republican regardless of whom he will be voting for next month.
During an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan on Thursday, Sununu was asked if it’s time Powell left the party.
This is what Sununu had to say.
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“Well, I’m not sure how important that is,” he said. “I do like the fact that Colin Powell’s boss George H.W. Bush has endorsed Mitt Romney all along. And 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?"
When asked what the reason is, Sununu 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.”
Hours after the interview Sununu, a former White House chief of staff, backpedaled on his words, issuing a statement reported by Politico.
“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,” it stated. “Piers Morgan’s question was whether Colin Powell should leave the party, and I don’t think he should.”
In an interview with CBS “This Morning,” Powell cited Romney’s economic plan and foreign policy as things he has issues with. He also said neither presidential candidate asked for his endorsement but that this tight race is between “two very capable men.”
“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.