Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama has told supporters at a rally in North Carolina that he is honoured to have the support of Republican stalwart Colin Powell.
Obama said he was humbled by the retired General’s words and his decision to choose him over Republican rival John McCain: “This morning, a great soldier, a great statesman, a great American, has endorsed our campaign for change. Today I am beyond honour. I am deeply humbled to have the support of General Colin Powell.”
Powell, who was Secretary of State in George W. Bush’s first government, had endorsed Obama earlier in the day, saying he would be a “transformational” figure:
“He is a new generation coming onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I will be voting for Senator Barack Obama,” he said on TV.
McCain, however, appeared unfazed by the news that his old friend had backed his rival:
“Well, I have always admired and respected General Powell. We are longtime friends. This doesn’t come as a surprise. But I am also very pleased to have the endorsement of four former secretaries of state, Secretaries Kissinger, Baker, Eagleburger and Haig.”
Correspondents say Powell’s endorsement could go a long way towards convincing floating voters that Obama has what it takes to beat John McCain in next month’s election.