This is really a remarkably stupid thing to have been said at this stage in the presidential campaign. I was watching Piers Morgan last night, but when it was announced John Sununu was ‘coming up next’ I switched the channel. As those of us who follow politics know the words of Sununu are usually –mean-spirited and racist.
Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama yesterday had the potential to be a one-day story, given that Powell had backed Obama in ’08. But a top Romney surrogate on TV, John Sununu — who served with Powell while working in the Bush 41 administration — made sure that the endorsement stayed in the news. “[F]rankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that’s an endorsement based on issues or whether he’s got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama?” Sununu told CNN’s Piers Morgan, per the Washington Post. When Morgan followed up what that reason might be, Sununu replied, “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.”
*** Romney camp walks back Sununu’s comment: Late last night, per NBC’s Peter Alexander, the Romney camp released this statement from Sununu: “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.” (But when you see the interview, Sununu clearly questioned whether Powell’s endorsement was based on issues and policies. Honest question: If this was the statement the Romney camp was going to send, would they have been better off sending nothing? ) This, of course, isn’t the first time that Sununu words have sparked controversy — and caused some Obama supporters to accuse him of dog whistling on race.. He earlier said he wished Obama “would learn to be an American,” and called Obama “lazy” after the first debate. This is a Romney national campaign co-chair; this isn’t simply some unknown supporter. The last thing the Romney campaign wants to introduce is the idea that endorsements are based on race. Did Ross Perot back Romney because he’s white? What would the outrage have been had some Obama national campaign co-chair insinuated that?