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Powell endorses Obama for president

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed Sen. Barack Obama for president on Sunday morning during an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Powell, a Republican who served as President George W. Bush's first Secretary of State before resigning, called Obama a "transformational figure" who has reached out to all Americans with his campaign and a man who has displayed "a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity" and "a depth of knowledge" in his approach to the nation's problems, according to the New York Times.

The Associated Press coverage reported Powell said both Obama and Republican John McCain are qualified for the presidental position, but Obama is better suited to handle the nation's current problems.

"It isn't easy for me to disappoint Sen. McCain in the way that I have this morning, and I regret that," Powell said of his longtime friend, McCain, in his interview on "Meet the Press."

"But I firmly believe that at this point in America's history, we need a president that will not just continue, even with a new face and with the changes and with some maverick aspects, who will not just continue basically the same policies that we have been following in recent years," Powell said on "Meet the Press."

Some say Powell's endorsement is racially motivated.

The Obama campaign is happy to take the endorsement, however, some voters may discount the endorsement because of race or on the grounds that he is a disgruntled former member of the Bush Administraion, accroding to the New York Times.

Powell said he was aware of the racial aspect of his endorsement, but said it was not the dominating factor in his decision, according to the Associated Press.

According to the New York Times, Powell met with both candidates in June in preparation of making an endorsement decsion.

Powell said he has been unimpressed with the negative tone of McCain's campaign in recent weeks, according to the New York Times. He also was not pleased with McCain's choice of running mate Gov. Sarah Palin.

"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," Powell said.