Former Secretary of State in the Bush administration Colin Powell announced Thursday that he is supporting President Obama for a second term and for a second time. A Republican, Powell endorsed Obama against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the 2008 presidential election.
"I voted for him in 2008 and I plan to stick with him in 2012, and I'll be voting for he and for Vice President Joe Biden next month," Powell told "CBS This Morning" when asked if he would be supporting Obama. "I think we ought to keep on the track that we are on."
It is unclear how much impact Powell's endorsement will have but it comes on the heels of this week's third and final presidential debate on foreign policy.
The former Army General, who said he had the "utmost respect" for Mitt Romney, still criticized his foreign policy strategy as a "moving target" because he hasn't explained how he would increase defense spending while reducing taxes at the same time.
"The governor who was speaking on Monday night at the debate was saying things that were quite different from what he said earlier," Powell said. "I'm not quite sure which Governor Romney we would be getting with respect to foreign policy. I don't sense he's thought through these issues as thoroughly as he should have. He gets advice from his campaign staff that he then has to modify as he goes along."
Given Powell's more liberal economic views, combined with his second endorsement of Obama, some have questioned if he really is a Republican.
"I think I'm a Republican of more moderate mold and that's something of a dying breed, I'm sorry to say," Powell said. "But, you know, the Republicans I worked for are President Reagan, President Bush 41, the Howard Bakers of the world, people who were conservative, people who were willing to push their conservative views, but people who recognize that at the end of the day you got to find a basis for compromise. Compromise is how this country runs."
McCain, who was once close to Powell prior to losing his endorsement to Obama in 2008 was not surprised by the move but thought the former Bush official has done even further damage "to his legacy."
"All I can say is: Gen. Powell, you disappoint us," McCain said Thursday on Fox News Radio's "Kilmeade and Friends." "And you have harmed your legacy even further by defending what has clearly been the most feckless foreign policy in my lifetime."
Powell also took aim at the economy and why he thought President Obama was best suited to get Americans back to work.
"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 … We had 800,000 jobs lost in that first month of the Obama administration and unemployment would peak a few months later at 10 percent. So we were in real trouble … So I think generally we've come out of the dive and we're starting to gain altitude. It doesn't mean we are problem solved – there are lots of problems still out there. The unemployment rate is too high. People are still hurting in housing. But I see that we are starting to rise up."
Polls show Romney gaining on Obama in key battleground states such as Florida, Ohio and even Democrat dominant Pennsylvania. Real Clear Politics shows Romney closing in on Obama in Ohio and Pennsylvania and ahead in the Sunshine State.