Oct. 19, 2008
"Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?"
Gen. Colin Powell, referring to the false rumors about Obama's faith, while endorsing the Democratic Presidential nominee on NBC's Meet the Press
Obama already enjoyed a solid lead in the polls when Gen. Colin Powell delivered his sterling endorsement on "Meet the Press," calling the Democrat a "transformational figure" and coolly dismantling what he viewed as dishonorable tactics employed by McCain's campaign. Even if it didn't push Obama to victory, many observers believed Powell's embrace effectively sealed it; the former Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff may have offered cover for other moderate Republicans to cross party lines, especially in formerly red states such as North Carolina and Indiana and among current and ex-military voters. But it was his eloquent comments about faith in America that really stood out. Throughout the campaign, Obama had been dogged by false rumors that he was a Muslim rumors fanned by partisans seeking to impugn his patriotism and fitness to serve as President. Powell went further than simply dismissing the Muslim claims he rejected the attacks in a way that even the Obama campaign hadn't dared to. He movingly cited a New Yorker photograph of a mother grieving at the grave of a fallen U.S. soldier, his headstone topped with an Islamic star and crescent, and questioned why calling a presidential candidate a Muslim is considered a smear in the first place. The right answer about Obama's faith is that he's not a Muslim, Powell said"But the really right answer is, what if he is?"