(Truthout.org) Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell endorsed Senator Barack Obama for president on Sunday morning as a candidate who was reaching out in a "more diverse and inclusive way across our society" and offering a "calm, patient, intellectual, steady approach" to the nation's problems.
The endorsement, on the NBC public affairs program "Meet the Press," was a major blow to Senator John McCain, who has been a good friend of Mr. Powell for decades. Mr. Powell, a Republican, has advised Mr. McCain in the past on foreign policy.
Mr. Powell told reporters after the taping of "Meet the Press" that he had been disturbed in recent weeks by the negative tone of Mr. McCain's campaign, particularly its focus on Mr. Obama's passing relationship with William Ayers, a 1960s radical and founder of the Weather Underground. The McCain campaign has sought to promote the idea that Mr. Obama is "palling around with terrorists," in the words of Mr. McCain's running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin, because of Mr. Obama's weak links to Mr. Ayers.
"I thought that was over the top," Mr. Powell told reporters. "It was beyond just good political fighting back and forth."
Mr. McCain was asked about Mr. Powell's endorsement during an interview on Fox News Sunday.
"I have always admired and respected General Powell," Mr. McCain said. "We have a respectful disagreement."
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