Colin Powell On Romney: ‘I Have Concerns About His Views On Foreign Policy’

Colin Powell

Former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell endorsed President Obama’s re-election campaign this morning on CBS This Morning. Powell — who served as the top U.S. diplomat during the Bush administration — said the president would be better on the economy but he also had harsh criticism of Mitt Romney’s foreign policy, reiterating his concern about Romney’s neocon advisers and that the GOP presidential nominee essentially threw out all his past hawkish positions and played a moderate during this week’s foreign policy debate:

POWELL: Not only am I uncomfortable with what Governor Romney is proposing for his economic plan, I have concerns about his views on foreign policy. The governor who was speaking on Monday night at the debate was saying things that were quite different from what he said earlier so I’m not quite sure which governor Romney we would be getting with respect to foreign policy.

O’DONNELL: What concerns do you have with governor Romney’s foreign policy?

POWELL: Well it’s hard to fix it, I mean it’s a moving target, one day he has a certain strong view about staying in Afghanistan but then on Monday night he agrees with the withdrawal, the same thing in Iraq and almost every issue that was discussed on Monday night, governor Romney agreed with the president with some nuances but this is quite a different set of foreign policy views than he had earlier in the campaign and my concern which I’ve expressed previously in a public way is that sometimes I don’t sense he has thought through these issues as thoroughly as he should have and he gets advice from his campaign staff that he then has to adjust or modify as they go along.

ROSE: Are you concerned about the people that are advising governor Romney?

POWELL: I think there are some very very strong neoconservative views that are presented by the governor that I have some trouble with.

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Back in May, Powell took issue with Romney’s characterization of Russia as America’s “number one geopolitical foe.” “Come on Mitt,” Powell said, “think.” The former Secretary of State also said at the time that he was concerned with who is advising Romney on foreign policy. “I’ve seen some of the names and some of them are quite far to the right and sometimes I think they might be in a position to make judgements or recommendations to the candidate that should get a second thought,” he said.

But Powell noticed the obvious during the presidential foreign policy debate this week. The Mitt Romney whose “instinct is to call to the Cheney-ites” on foreign policy issues was nowhere to be found. “Despite Romney’s momentary embrace of President Obama’s policies [during the debate],” CAP’s Matt Duss wrote this week, “we should still be concerned with the role that neoconservatives would play in a Romney administration.”