Sununu walks back comments about Powell and race

The Romney surrogate backtracks from his remark that Colin Powell only endorsed Obama because he is black

Published October 26, 2012 1:29PM (EDT)

John Sununu is walking back his comment that Colin Powell only endorsed Barack Obama because they are both black.

Sununu, the former governor of New Hampshire and current campaign surrogate for Mitt Romney, told CNN's Piers Morgan last night: "Frankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder if that's an endorsement based on issues, or whether he's got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama."

When pressed, he elaborated: "Well, I think when you have somebody of your own race that you're proud of being president of the United States, I applaud Colin for standing with him."

After the interview, Sununu put out the following statement, via National Review Online:

"Colin Powell is a friend and I respect the endorsement decision he made and I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the president’s policies. Piers Morgan’s question was whether Colin Powell should leave the party, and I don’t think he should."

Sununu previously described Obama as “lazy and detached" after the first debate, and said at a different point: “I wish this president would learn how to be an American." He also backtracked on those comments.

By Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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2012 Elections Barack Obama Colin Powell John Sununu Mitt Romney