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Powell Blasts Negative Campaigning, Backs Obama

Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press, Gen. Colin Powell announced that Democrat Barack Obama will get his vote in November.

Powell's endorsement is a major cross-party defection. The four-star general has served in three Republican administrations. He was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush during the first Gulf War. And as George W. Bush's secretary of state, he went to the United Nations to press the case against Iraq.

Powell said it wasn't easy to disappoint John McCain, whom he's known for more than 25 years. But Powell pointed to the choice of running mate Sarah Palin and said it raised questions about McCain's judgment.

He also expressed concern about the direction of his party, and he passionately criticized his fellow Republicans for what they've been saying about Obama — for example, that he's a Muslim.

"Well, the correct answer is, 'He's not a Muslim, he's a Christian — he's always been a Christian.' But the really right answer is, 'What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country?'

"The answer's no, that's not America. ... Yet I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion he's a Muslim and he might be associated with terrorists. This is not the way we should be doing it in America," Powell said.

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