McCain rocked by Colin Powell's switch

FORMER Secretary of State Colin Powell has endorsed US presidential contender Barack Obama in what is seen as the last straw for the faltering campaign of John McCain.

Graham Dines

FORMER Secretary of State Colin Powell has endorsed US presidential contender Barack Obama in what is seen as the last straw for the faltering campaign of John McCain.

Powell, who is a Republican, is backing Democrat Obama. His campaign is now confident of sweeping through traditional Republican heartlands such as Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.

Obama raised a staggering $150million in September, allowing him to dominate the airwaves in paid for advertisement, which are legal in the USA but banned in the UK.

North Carolina has not backed a Democrat for president since Jimmy Carter in 1976. But the endorsement of the retired four star Army general Powell may allay the fears that Obama would be a week commander-in-chief and could persuade many “red necks” to go with Obama, who would become the first African American president.

On NBC Television's nationwide Meet the Press, Powell said of Obama: “I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation . . . coming onto the world stage, onto the American stage; and for that reason, I'll be voting for Sen. Barack Obama.

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Obama has a significant cash advantage over McCain, who accepted $84.1 million in federal funding earlier this year. He is limited to spending that cash.

But Obama opted out of the government financing system, and becoming the first major-party candidate to do so since it was set up in 1976, which makes him free to raise and spend unlimited sums. So far, Obama has raised a record $605 million for his campaign.

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