Colin Powell Hails Obama

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[National News]


Former US secretary of state Colin Powell said Monday he is pleased by African-American White House hopeful Barack Obama's success in the early presidential nominating contests.

On the eve of the crucial New Hampshire polls to nominate a Democratic and Republican candidate, Powell told public television PBS he is "taking joy" in success of the Illinois senator, who won the Democratic vote in last week's key first nominating contest in Iowa.

Powell also urged Americans to "enjoy this moment where a person like Barack Obama can knock down all of these old barriers that people thought existed with respect to the opportunities that are available to African-Americans."

Powell, who has declined to mount his own presidential bid despite being the first African-American to serve as national security advisor, secretary of state and chairman of the joint chiefs, said race should not be Obama's defining characteristic. "This argument about him not being black enough, that’s just absolute nonsense," Powell said in excerpts of the interview released by PBS.

"He is putting himself forward not as a Black man but as an American man who wants to be president of the United States of America. We should see Barack as a candidate for president who happens to be black, and not a black candidate for president."

Obama, a 46-year-old senator for the state of Illinois, is the son of a white American mother and Kenyan father. He has been endorsed by talk show superstar Oprah Winfrey, while civil rights leader John Lewis has expressed his support for Obama's Democratic rival, former first lady Hillary Clinton.


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