After a solid spell without a serious gaffe, the Romney campaign reclaimed some of its awkward glory on Thursday when campaign co-chair and former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu told Piers Morgan he was pretty sure Colin Powell had endorsed President Barack Obama because they’re both black. He was responding to a question from Morgan about whether Powell should leave the Republican Party after endorsing Obama twice now, but he didn’t actually answer that question until hours later, when he tried to walk back his remarks. But those original comments were pretty bad, and the walk-back was pretty noncommittal.
In response to Morgan’s question, Sununu said, “frankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that’s an endorsement based on issues or whether he’s got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama.” Morgan asked what that might be, so Sununu explained: “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 also apparently forgot that Powell no longer works for George H.W. Bush, whom he referred to as Powell’s “boss.”
It seemed pretty hard to misinterpret that Sununu thought Powell had endorsed Obama because of his race. And Sununu’s statement explaining the comment really doesn’t really change that:
Colin Powell is a friend and I respect the endorsement decision he made, I do not doubt that it was based on anything but his support of the President’s policies. Piers Morgan’s question was whether Colin Powell should leave the party, and I don’t think he should.
Okay, so he finally answered Morgan’s question. And he said something different than he had before, but nobody’s reporting that Sununu retracted the original statement, or that he apologized, or that he “made a mistake,” as he said after his July comment that “I wish this president would learn how to be an American.” Sununu didn’t leave a lot of room for interpretation of his comment as anything other than his belief that Powell endorsed Obama because he’s black. At the time of Sununu’s last blunder, The Fix wondered aloud if he was the Romney campaign’s best or worst surrogate. On Thursday, Sununu answered that for himself.