Democrat Barack Obama, running a presidential campaign that’s raising money at a record clip, has won the endorsement of a widely admired Republican and former member of President Bush’s Cabinet.
Just hours after Obama’s campaign disclosed Sunday it brought in $150 million in September — obliterating the old record of $66 million it had set only one month earlier — Colin Powell, Bush’s former secretary of state and a retired four-star general, went on TV to say he was disappointed in Republican John McCain’s largely negative campaign and that he would back Obama.
"I think we need a transformational figure. I think we need a president who is a generational change and that’s why I’m supporting Barack Obama, not out of any lack of respect or admiration for Senator John McCain," said Powell, a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The endorsement by Powell, long one of the nation’s best-known African-American public officials, was a boost to Obama, who has struggled to establish his national security and foreign policy credentials in the campaign against McCain.
"I have been honored to have the benefit of his wisdom and counsel from time to time over the last few years, but today, I am beyond honored and deeply humbled to have the support of General Colin Powell," Obama said.
Powell was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents George H.W. Bush and Clinton.
He expressed disappointment in the negative tone of McCain’s campaign, his choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as a running mate and their decision to focus in the closing weeks of the contest on Obama’s ties to 1960s-era radical William Ayers, saying "it goes too far."
At a boisterous rally Sunday, Obama said McCain was "out of ideas and almost out of time."
He and his aides appear so confident of his prospects that apart from a brief stop in Madison, Wis., next Thursday, Obama currently has no plans during the next 10 days to return to Pennsylvania, Minnesota, New Hampshire or any other state that voted for John Kerry in 2004.
Instead, he intends to spend two days this week in Florida, where early voting begins on Monday, and travel to Virginia, Iowa, Ohio, Colorado, New Mexico and possibly Nevada and Indiana. Those states hold 97 electoral votes combined, and Bush won all in 2004.
Obama also may stop in West Virginia, where his campaign recently bought statewide television advertising in a late attempt to put the state’s five electoral votes into serious contention.
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