I will reconsider.  The work is not done, there are still children hungry in Mississippi.  This I know.

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Barack Obama

October 30, 2008

Who Really Puts “Country First”? Colin Powell
by Leah McElrath Renna
of the Huffington Post

A primary motivator for Colin Powell’s public endorsement of Barack Obama for president appears to have been the character of the negative attacks by the McCain campaign.

Appearing generally somber and thoughtful during his remarks following the taping of Meet the Press, former Secretary of State Powell became most animated during his discussion of the nature of John McCain’s campaign strategy during recent weeks. Negative campaigning that sticks to highlighting realities is one thing — but the distortions, slurs and race baiting implemented by the McCain campaign are another animal altogether. Their use by a candidate who has built his reputation on his professed integrity has puzzled, shocked and repelled many in the Republican Party who, like Powell, have known John McCain for years.

As Powell talked about the McCain campaign’s emphasis on Obama’s alleged connection with 1960s radical activist and Chicago-based education advocate William Ayers, Powell’s voice rose in volume and his face became the most animated. He denounced the use of such tactics during such a critical time in our nation’s history — a time when we are not only dealing with continuing military engagement on two fronts but are also facing the greatest economic crisis in many decades. Powell went on to strongly point out that the McCain campaign’s false claims that Obama is Muslim and its insinuations that he is a terrorist are creating division with the United States and further damaging our reputation and standing within the world.

It was clear from Powell’s demeanor and the tone of his remarks that the man takes no pleasure in breaking from the Republican Party in making this endorsement. As a leader who has unparalleled respect within the upper reaches of the military and in public opinion, Powell’s repudiation of the McCain/Palin ticket holds particular power. Powell is clearly aware of his influence. His carefully considered endorsement will no doubt lose him many friends within Republican circles.

In the end, however, one man in the Republican Party truly has decided to put “country first” – and that man is Colin Powell.