Former secretary of state Colin Powell said Sunday he was weighing his options in the 2008 White House race, hinting he may cross party lines and vote against the Republican nominee.
"I will vote for the candidate I think can do the best job in America. Whether that candidate is a Republican or Democrat or an independent," Powell told CNN's "Late Edition."
"Frankly, we lost a lot in recent years," Powell added in a swipe at the administration of President George W. Bush, under whom he served as secretary of state from 2001 to 2005.
Powell, a top general and former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said he would vote for the candidate with a vision "that starts to restore confidence in America. That starts to restore favorable ratings to America."
"I am going to be looking for the candidate that seems to me to be leading a party that is fully in sync with the candidate and a party that will also reflect America's goodness and America's vision."
He also praised Democratic hopeful Barack Obama, who is also an African-American, and locked in a battle for the White House nomination with Hillary Clinton.
"I think he's been an exciting person on the political stage. He has energized a lot of people in America. He has energized a lot of people around the world," Powell told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
"And so I think he is worth listening to and seeing what he stands for."
But Powell added he did not share all Obama's views, nor did he completely share the views of the other candidates.
"I think every American has an obligation right now at this moment in our history to look at all the candidates and to make a judgment not simply on the basis of ideology or simply on the basis of political affiliation but on the basis of who is the best person for all of America and which party and what does that party look like?" Powell added.
In the past Powell has freely admitted his liberal social views make him a strange bedfellow for many Republicans.
Once seen as a principled, honest broker above the political fray, Powell was once considered a possible presidential candidate. But he was widely seen as an ineffective secretary of state.
And his reputation was sullied by a speech he gave to the United Nations in 2003 making the case for the Iraq war, and accusing late dictator of harboring weapons of mass destruction. Charges which turned out not to be true.