Obama touts Powell endorsement in new radio ad

The ad introduces Powell as a Republican and quotes heavily from the endorsement Powell made last week during an interview with CBS News.

"Powell enthusiastically cited the President’s leadership in bringing us back from the brink of economic collapse, ending the war in Iraq, putting in place a plan to end the war in Afghanistan, and his strong record of fighting terrorism as reasons for his endorsement," the Obama campaign said in a statement. "Like Secretary Powell, the American people know that President Obama is a strong, steady and decisive leader with an affirmative vision to move our country forward."

The ad is scheduled to air in Florida, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Ohio, Iowa, Nevada and Colorado.

The bruise of the Powell endorsement was compounded last week for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign, when former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, a top surrogate for the Romney campaign, suggested that Powell endorsed Obama because of race.

Sununu made the comments during an interview on Piers Morgan's CNN show Thursday night, after the host asked whether Powell should leave the Republican Party after endorsing Obama in a second consecutive election.

"Frankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder if that's an endorsement based on issues, or whether he's got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama?" Sununu said.

Morgan asked what reason Powell would have otherwise.

"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," Sununu said.

Sununu later walked back his remark.

"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," Sununu said in a statement. "Piers Morgan's question was whether Colin Powell should leave the party, and I don't think he should."

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) also criticized Powell for his endorsement.

“General Powell, you disappoint us and you have harmed your legacy even further by defending what is clearly the most feckless foreign policy in my lifetime,” McCain said Thursday on the Kilmeade and Friends radio program.

Powell also endorsed Obama in the 2008 presidential election against McCain.