Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, a Romney surrogate, said on Thursday night that the reason former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed President Obama today was due to the color of his skin.
“Frankly when you take a look at Colin Powell whether that’s an endorsement based on issues or whether he’s got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama,” Sununu told CNN.
“What reason would that be?” asked host Piers Morgan.
“Well, I think 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,” responded Sununu.
This is not even a dog whistle. This is BLATANT racism and I’m sure it will NOT play well with many voters.
The word “racist” is sometimes overused.
But not this time.
UPDATED: As could have been predicted, Sununu later issued a statement — after the racist comment was literally broadcast and the smear on Powell was complete, suggesting this highly prominent consistent Republican moderate had problems with Romney’s many changes in posititions — seemingly walking it back. That is a technique that is becoming evident: say something, get it out there in front of a huge audience, then issue a walk back or denial that is exposed to a much smaller readership. The damage — and political filthiwork — is done. The Politico reports this classic example:
A few hours after the CNN interview, Sununu issued a statement appearing to back away from 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.
How does that fit in with what he said on the air? It doesn’t.
The Romney campaign needs to hire a limo and send Sununu back to New Hampshire. He is damaged goods.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.