by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) May 22, 2012
Former US secretary of State Colin Powell had praise but no endorsement Tuesday for President Barack Obama, saying he plans to "keep my powder dry" as he weighs whom to back in November's election.
Powell, himself once was widely touted as a prospect for the White House, and who endorsed Obama in 2008's presidential race as a "transformational figure," said the president by-and-large has lived up to that billing.
"There are some things that he has done I wish he had not done. For example, leave Guantanamo open. I would have closed that rapidly. He tried. He was stopped by Congress," Powell told NBC's "Today Show" program.
"He stabilized the financial system. He brought about a stability in the economy. He fixed the auto industry.
"I think he took us out -- not completely out -- but he took us out of the most difficult problem we were facing at that time, which was an economy that was collapsing. And it's improving, but not fast enough.
"So his number one goal for the rest of this year, as it should have been for the whole four years, is to get the economy running again," Powell said.
But he said he has yet to make up his mind whether to support the Democratic president for re-election, or to back Republican challenger Mitt Romney, a millionaire businessman and former Massachusetts governor who is running largely on a platform of getting the economy going again.
"I always keep my powder dry, as we say in the military," said Powell, a former general who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- America's highest uniformed officer -- and US national security advisor.
He now runs a charitable foundation and weighs in as a public figure on political matters from time to time.
"I feel as a private citizen I ought to listen to what the president says and what the president's been doing. But I also have to listen to what the other fellow says," Powell said.
"I've known Mitt Romney for many years -- good man," he said, adding that "it's not just a matter of whether you support Obama or Romney, it's who they have coming in with them" if they win the November election.
Powell added: "I'm still listening to what the Republicans are saying they're going to do to fix the fiscal problems we have, to get the economy moving," before he makes his endorsement.
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