Former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed President Barack Obama for a second term Thursday, telling “CBS This Morning” that he voted for Obama in 2008 but this time was going further and publicly backing him.
“We’ve come out of the dive and we’re starting to gain altitude,” Powell said. “The unemployment rate is too high, people are still hurting in housing, but I see that we’re starting to rise up.”
Powell said that when Obama took over “the country was in very, very difficult straits. We were in the one of the worst recessions we had seen in recent times, close to a depression.”
“The fiscal system was collapsing: Wall Street was in chaos, we had 800,000 jobs lost in that first month of the Obama administration,” he said. “Unemployment peaked at 10 percent, so we were in real trouble. The auto industry was collapsing, housing was started to collapse, and we were in very difficult straits.
“And I saw over the next several years stabilization come back in the financial community,” Powell added. “Housing is now starting to come back after four years; it's starting to pick up. Consumer confidence is rising."
The four-star general also said that Obama “got us out of one war, started to get us out of a second war, and did not get us into any new wars.”
“The actions he has taken in respect to protecting us from terrorism have been very solid,” Powell said. “We ought to keep on the track we are on.”
Powell served as secretary of state during George W. Bush’s first term. He was also national security advisor in the last years of the Reagan administration and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff from 1989-1993.
He told CBS he still considers himself a Republican. "I think I'm a Republican of a more moderate mold — that's something of a dying breed I'm sorry to say."
During his CBS appearance, Powell criticized GOP candidate Mitt Romney’s foreign policy, saying his positions in Monday night’s debate were “quite different from what he said earlier.”
"I'm not quite sure which Governor Romney we would be getting with respect to foreign policy," he added. “One day he has a certain strong view about staying in Afghanistan but then on Monday night he agrees with the withdrawal — same thing in Iraq.”
On Romney’s domestic policy, Powell said, "As I listen to what his proposals are especially with respect to dealing with respect to our most significant issue — the economy — it's essentially: ‘Let's cut taxes and compensate for that with other things,’ but that compensation does not cover all the cuts intended or the new expenses associated with defense."
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