(DUNN, N.C.) On the day Barack Obama's campaign announced a record-shattering $150 million fundraising month, he also scored a major endorsement today from former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who made his announcement on NBC's "Meet the Press."
"He has both style and substance. I think he is a transformational figure," Powell said in the interview.
Powell has been in contact with both Obama and John McCain during the election, but he has said that he wanted to stay out of the process. This morning, Powell said that he is concerned with the direction of the GOP, McCain's handling of the economy, and he with Sarah Palin. He ultimately decided to support Obama because he believes that the country needs a "generational transformation."
Obama is expected to address the endorsement at a rally in Fayetteville this afternoon, but Powell will not be making a surprise appearance. The campaign said they are not sure when and if Powell will be campaigning with the Democratic nominee. Powell said on "Meet the Press" that he has no plans to hit the trail in the final 16 days of the campaign.
In an interview with Fox News this morning, John McCain said he was not surprised by the endorsement. "Well, I've always admired and respected General Powell. We're longtime friends. This doesn't come as a surprise, but I'm also very pleased to have the endorsement of four former Secretaries of State – Secretaries Kissinger, Baker, Eagleburger and Haig. And I'm proud to have the endorsement of well over 200 retired Army generals and admirals, but I respect and continue to respect and admire Secretary Powell."
The campaign also announced this morning that they raised a record $150 million in the month of September. In an e-mail to supporters, campaign manager David Plouffe said the average donation was less than $100. This shatters Obama's previous fundraising record of $66 million, set in August. The $150 million is about half of the $326 million John Kerry raised for his entire 2004 presidential campaign. And September's haul brings Obama's total to over $600 million since he became a presidential candidate in February 2007.
Obama became the first candidate to opt out of the federal public financing system since that program was implemented in the 1970s, allowing him to raise unlimited amounts of money for the general election. McCain, who accepted the public money, is limited to the $84 million he received from the federal government.