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Obama camp touts Powell endorsement in new swing-state TV ad

President Obama's campaign debuted a television ad Thursday touting the endorsement of former Secretary of State Colin Powell.


The commercial comes just hours after the Obama campaign unveiled a similar ad to air on radio in crucial battleground states, and is further evidence the president's reelection team believes the endorsement from the former Bush administration official could help sway centrist voters.

The new television ad will air in Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina, Virginia, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and features Powell's interview with CBS News during which he endorses Obama.

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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 Romney, 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.

“Gen. 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.