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Colin Powell endorses Obama for second term

  • Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed President Barack Obama's re-election bid on Thursday.

    Powell said his decision was due to the Democratic incumbent’s efforts towards ending the war in Afghanistan, curbing terrorism and boosting the U.S. economy.

    "I think we ought to keep on the track that we are on," said the Republican, who also backed Obama in 2008 on CBS This Morning. He added, "I voted for him in 2008 and I plan to stick with him in 2012."

    The announcement comes just days after Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney sparred over foreign policy in the third and final presidential debate ahead of the November 6 election.

    Polls indicate Obama and Romney are in a tight race with a Reuters/Ipsos online tracking poll giving Romney a 1-point lead on Thursday. Romney sat at 47 percent compared to Obama's 46 percent.

    Obama welcomed Powell’s endorsement at a rally in Richmond, Virginia.

    "I was proud and humbled to learn that we have Colin Powell's support in this campaign. I'm grateful to him for his lifetime of service to his country both as a soldier and as a diplomat," he told supporters.

    In his endorsement, Powell added domestic issues such as the economy, healthcare and education were key in his support for a second term for Obama.

    "When he took over, the country was in very, very difficult straits, we were in one of the worst recessions we had seen in recent times, close to a depression ... we were in real trouble. I think generally we've come out of the dive and starting to gain altitude," he said.

    Powell also slated Romney's inconsisten approach to foreign policy and raised doubts over whether the former Massachusetts governor's could address the deficit.

    "I'm not quite sure which Governor Romney we'd be getting with respect to foreign policy," he told CBS.

    On the U.S. budget, he added: "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 expenses associated with defense."

    Powell, a moderate Republican, served as secretary of state under President George W. Bush.