Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama had been expected. And today, on “Meet the Press,” Powell made it official:
Mr. Powell told Tom Brokaw, the host of “Meet the Press,” that he had been disturbed in recent weeks by the negative tone of Mr. McCain’s campaign, particularly its focus on Mr. Obama’s passing relationship with William Ayers, a 1960s radical and founder of the Weather Underground. The McCain campaign has sought to promote the idea that Mr. Obama is “palling around with terrorists,” in the words of Mr. McCain’s running mate, Governor Sarah Palin, because of Mr. Obama’s weak links to Mr. Ayers.
“Mr. McCain says that he’s a washed-out terrorist,” Mr. Powell said. “Well, then, why do we keep talking about him?”
After the program’s taping, Mr. Powell told reporters that the thought of attacking Mr. Obama for Mr. Ayers was “over the top.”
Mr. Powell, who was secretary of state in the first term of President Bush, also said that he was concerned about Mr. McCain’s selection of Ms. Palin as his running mate and had come to the conclusion that she was the wrong choice.
“She’s a very distinguished woman, and she’s to be admired, but at the same time, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don’t believe she’s ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president,” Mr. Powell said during the taping.
Mr. Powell offered Mr. McCain a small dose of solace by calling him a different kind of Republican and said that he believed Mr. McCain would make a good president. The problem, he said, was that the Republican Party had moved further to the right “than I would like to see it,” and that over the last several weeks the approach of the party and Mr. McCain “has become narrower and narrower.”