Outspoken Romney surrogate John H. Sununu has retreated from a comment he made Thursday night saying that former Secretary of State Colin Powell is endorsing President Obama because both men are black.
During an interview on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight,” Mr. Sununu suggested that Mr. Powell — a Republican and retired Army general — recently endorsed the president over GOP challenger Mitt Romney because of “a slightly different reason” than Mr. Obama’s political credentials.
Mr. Morgan then asked Mr. Sununu to clarify his thoughts.
“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,” Mr. Sununu said.
Hours later, the former New Hampshire governor issued a statement backtracking on his remarks.
“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,” he said. “Piers Morgan’s question was whether Colin Powell should leave the [Republican] party, and I don’t think he should.”
Mr. Sununu has earned a reputation during the presidential race as perhaps the least guarded surrogate for either candidate.
He called the president “lazy and detached” after his lackluster performance in the first presidential debate, accused Democrats of moving the final night of their convention to a smaller venue due to attendance concerns rather than bad weather forecasts, and in July, he criticized Mr. Obama’s economic policies by saying he wished the president “would learn how to be an American.”