Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Colin Powell to
Join Barack Obama ?

ONE has held the highest office of any black man in the history of the US government and its armed forces. The other is seeking to go a step further and become the first black man in the White House.
Now Washington is buzzing with talk that Barack Obama, a Democrat presidential candidate, and Colin Powell, a former US Army general and secretary of state, may join forces.
Last week Mr Powell revealed that he had been advising the senator from Illinois on foreign policy - provoking a flurry of speculation about the plans and ambitions of both men.
Mr Powell, 70, who left office in January 2005 under a cloud left by the war in Iraq, has served three Republican presidents, but made it clear that he was considering backing a Democrat to succeed his former boss, George Bush. He disclosed that he had twice met Senator Obama, at the request of the White House hopeful. "I make myself available to talk about foreign policy matters and military matters with whoever wishes to chat with me," Mr Powell said.
"I'm going to support the best person that I can find who will lead this country."
He ruled out any suggestion that he might seek the vice-presidency. But asked whether he would accept another senior post, he said: "I would not rule it out. I am not at all interested in political life if you mean elected political life. But I always keep my eyes open and my ears open to requests for service."
Mr Powell and Senator Obama are not obvious partners. Senator Obama, alone among the Democrat frontrunners, opposed the Iraq war from the start - a war that Mr Powell's now discredited testimony before the United Nations on Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction programs is seen to have helped bring about.
A former adviser to president Bill Clinton - whose wife, Hillary, is the other leading Democratic candidate - welcomed Senator Obama's links with Mr Powell as a sign that he wanted to heal the divisions in American society.
Philip Crowley, the director of homeland security at the Centre for American Progress and a former White House special assistant, said: "It's refreshing that we have a candidate that wants to craft a centrist policy that will reach out across party lines."
The blogger Too Sense, who writes on racial issues, said: "Powell's meeting with Obama is a brilliant move. Obama's association with another one-time potential black president, a black man who white America has found so non-threatening that he was held up as a model for 'the rest of us', can only increase his appeal."
Telegraph, London