Powell to advise Obama

October 20, 2008 12:00 am

, WASHINGTON, October 20 – Former secretary of state and US military leader Colin Powell would serve as an advisor to a Barack Obama administration, the Democratic presidential candidate said Monday.

"He will have a role as one of my advisers," Obama told NBC in an interviewed aired Monday. "He’s already served in that function, even before he endorsed me."

Obama declined to say whether Powell, who was chairman of the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993 and secretary of state from 2001 to 2005, would have a specific position if he were to beat rival John McCain in the November 4 vote.

"Whether he wants to take a formal role, whether there’s something that’s a good fit for him, I think is something that he and I would have to discuss," Obama said.

Front-runner Obama admitted that he had asked Powell to hit the campaign trail on his behalf, but Powell refused.

"You know, I won’t lie to you. I would love to have him at any stop he wants to participate in," Obama said.

However, Obama said, Powell insisted he was not a politician, saying: "I think it’s best for you and John McCain to duke it out."

On Sunday, Powell endorsed Obama’s bid to become the first African-American president, calling the senator a "transformational" leader.

Speaking on NBC’s "Meet the Press," Powell, a longtime Republican and the first African-American to chair the joint chiefs, said Obama had "met the standard" to lead "because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America."

"I think he would be a transformational president. For that reason I will be voting for Senator Barack Obama," he said.

Should the mixed-race Obama win on November 4, "all Americans should be proud, not just African-Americans," he added.

"It would not just electrify our country, it would electrify the world."


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