Colin L. Powell, the former Republican secretary of state and retired four-star general, said on Thursday that he had decided to endorse President Obama’s bid for re-election and was concerned that Mitt Romney was “a moving target” on foreign policy.
In an interview on “CBS This Morning,” Mr. Powell said that he was “more comfortable” with the president’s views on immigration, education and foreign policy.
“I do not want to see the new Obamacare plan thrown off the table,” Mr. Powell said. “It has issues — you have to fix some things in that plan — but what I see is that 30 million fellow citizens will now be covered.”
It is an open question whether his endorsement will carry as much weight as it seemed to four years ago when he threw his support behind Mr. Obama in the final weeks of his campaign with Senator John McCain. But the president’s advisers had been waiting with anticipation of an endorsement, which Mr. Powell did not reveal until his television interview Thursday morning.
In the interview, Mr. Powell said that the nation’s unemployment rate was still too high, but he added: “I think generally we’ve come out of the dive and we’re starting to gain altitude.” He praised the president for his handling of national security.
“I also saw the president get us out of one war, start to get us out of a second war and did not get us into any new wars,” Mr. Powell said. “I think the actions he’s taken with respect to protecting us from terrorism have been very, very solid. And so I think we ought to keep on the track that we are on.”
On Afghanistan and other foreign policy concerns, Mr. Powell said that he did not believe Mr. Romney “has thought through these issues as thoroughly as he should have.” He added, “There are some very, very strong neo-conservative views that are presented by the governor that I have some trouble with.”
He said that he still considered himself a Republican, but in “of a more moderate mold.” He added, “That’s something of a dying breed, I’m sorry to say.”
Mr. Powell, a retired Army general who was a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, criticized the Republican Party as failing to recognize a need for compromise. He also had sharp words for Congress, which he said had fallen down on the job in dealing with the nation’s fiscal burdens.
Four years ago, Mr. Powell announced his endorsement of Mr. Obama in an appearance on “Meet the Press” on NBC. He did not say during his interview Thursday on “CBS This Morning” whether he would campaign on Mr. Obama’s behalf.
“I voted for him in 2008,” Mr. Powell said, “and I plan to stick with him in 2012.”