By Adele Hampton - 05/22/12 02:41 PM EDT
"[Obama] knows that I always keep my powder dry, as they say in the military," said Powell, who endorsed Obama in 2008. "I feel as a private citizen I will listen to what the president says and what the president has been doing, but I also have to listen to what the other fella says. I’ve known Mitt Romney for many years — good man. It’s not just a matter of whether you support Obama or Romney, it’s who they have coming with them."
"There are some things that he has done that I wish he had not done — for example, leave Guantanamo open," Powell said. "I would’ve closed that rapidly. He tried, and he was stopped by Congress.
"He stabilized the financial system; he brought about stability in the economy; he fixed the auto industry," Powell continued. "I think he took us out — not completely out — he took us out of the most difficult problem we were facing at that time, which was an economy that was collapsing. It’s improving, but not fast enough."
Powell, a Republican mainstay, said one of the benefits of being a private citizen is the ability to keep his options on the table. He warned against sticking to old endorsements as the political climate changes.
"The beautiful part of being a private citizen is you can decide when you want to throw your weight, if you want to throw your weight," he said. "I’m still listening to what the Republicans are saying they’re going to do to fix the fiscal problems. We have to get the economy moving, and I think I owe that to the Republican Party.
"Too often in this country we simply stick with whatever you said last year even if it doesn’t work out or make sense, so I like to listen to everybody, examine everything and then in due course make a judgment and vote the way I think the correct way to vote is."