Former Secretary of State General Colin Powell gave an eloquent endorsement of Barack Obama today on “Meet the Press.” Powell, as we know, has served in several Republican administrations. He resigned as Secretary of State from the current Bush administration in 2004.

In his statement leading up to today’s endorsement General Powell expressed his concern around the false intimations by GOP operatives and others regarding Barack Obama’s religion, emphasizing that Obama was a life-long Christian but also pointing out what an insult the smear tactics (and I would even say the outrage in the corrections) are to Muslims period. “The really right answer is what if he is?” Powell said. As examples, Powell offered a 7 year old Muslim American should be able to believe he/she can be POTUS followed by a recent story of a fallen soldier from New Jersey who was 14 when the 9-11 attacks occurred, enlisted in the U.S. military when he was of age, and served honorably. His tomb stone, General Powell described, does not have a cross or a Star of David, but a crescent and a star.

Finally, somebody said it! Maybe a “somebody” who will be heard. I have no tolerance for intolerance and divisive tactics. So far this part of the interview isn’t ticking up in much of the MSM which is why I wanted to emphasize it here. Powell also mentioned the Republican party has become “narrow,” probably the most polite way to describe the divisive tactics in recent weeks by the McCain/Palin campaign.

“This is a time for outreach,” General Powell said to Tom Brokaw.

I haven’t always agreed with General Colin Powell on policy issues, but I’ve always respected and liked him. Today, I salute him.

Update: My friend Cheryl Contee aka Jill Tubman id’ed the photo of the headstone General Colin Powell referred to in his statement on her blog I’ve copied it below. The woman is Eisheba Khan, mother of the deceased soldier Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan. The photo was taken by Platon for a New Yorker magazine photo essay titled Service.

Eisheba Khan, mother of Kareem Rashad Kultan Khan.  Photo by Platon.