In what many see as a major boost for Barack Obama, former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell has said he will vote for the US Democratic presidential candidate.
The endorsement of the former army general who served in three Republican administrations could help ease voter concerns over Obama’s experience on national security and foreign policy matters.
“He has both style and substance,” said Powell. “He’s met the standards of being a successful president, being an exceptionnal president. I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming in on the American stage and for that reason I will be voting for senator Barack Obama.”
The news coincides with an announcement by Obama’s team that he has broken his campaign fund-raising record, allowing him to dominate the air waves with advertisements.
Republican senator John McCain continues to trail Obama in opinion polls, though a recent survey said Obama’s lead had narrowed.
With the vote just over two weeks away, the campaign has toughened, with particular focus on the economic crisis and each side questioning the other’s ability to handle it.