John Sununu, a top advisor to the Republican nominee said in an interview to CNN on Thursday night that former Army General and Secretary of State Colin Powell’s decision to endorse Obama’s re-election campaign appeared to have been driven by race.
“You have to wonder whether that’s an endorsement based on issues or that he’s got a slightly different reason for President Obama,” Sununu said during in the course of the interview.
He was immediately asked by CNN’s Piers Morgan what the reason the former New Hampshire governor was talking about.
Sununu responded: “Well, I think that when you have somebody of your own race that you’re proud of being President of the United States — I applaud Colin for standing with him.”
Actually, John Sununu is an intelligent and accomplished white man who endorsed the Republican challenger Mitt Romney, who is white, over Barack Obama, who is black.
According to Think Progress, no one believes that Sununu carried out this decision for any reason other than the fact that he prefers Romney’s policies to Obama’s, and it would be absolutely inappropriate to claim that Sununu joined the Romney team because he wanted a president of his same race.
Soon after his comments during the interview Sununu began facing a wave of criticism on social networking websites such as well-known Twitter and Facebook.
“If John Sununu thinks Colin Powell endorsed Obama because of he is black, is it fair to assume Sununu endorsed Romney because he is white?,” tweeted @WillMcAvoyACN, a parody account of the popular character from HBO’s The Newsroom.
Touré , the co-host of MSNBC’s The Cycle, tweeted, “John Sununu supports Romney. Is this because he wants to see a President of his own race? Why’s it sound absurd that way but not for Blacks?”
Comedian Eugene Mirman also took to Twitter writing: “Criticize John Sununu all you want, but the same thing was said about Wesley Clark’s racially motivated endorsement of Kerry in 2004.”
As Politico reports, soon after the CNN interview, the Romney top aid issued a statement appearing to reverse the comment.
“Colin Powell is a friend and I respect the endorsement decision he made and I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the president’s policies. Piers Morgan’s question was whether Colin Powell should leave the party, and I don’t think he should,” Sununu said.
By the way, retired Gen. Powell, made no mention of Obama’s race in announcing the endorsement on Thursday.
Appearing on “CBS This Morning,” Powell praised President Obama for his reversing the country’s abrupt economic downturn and approved most of the president’s policies on issues ranging from national security to climate change to health care reform.
“I think, generally, we’ve come out of the [economic] dive and we’re starting to gain altitude,” said Powell, who served as George W. Bush’s secretary of state. “It doesn’t mean all our problems are solved….But I see that we are starting to rise up.”
“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,” Powell added. “The actions that he has taken with respect to protecting us from terrorism have been very, very solid.”