Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell will be asked to serve as a White House adviser if Barack Obama is elected president, the Democratic nominee has said.
Mr Powell, a retired four-star general and widely-respected Republican, crossed party lines to back Mr Obama on Sunday as he described his rival John McCain’s campaign as petty and troubling.
The coveted endorsement will help Mr Obama tackle criticism that he is too inexperienced on foreign policy and military issues to become the 44th president of the United States.
Yesterday, the 47-year-old Illinois senator said his high-profile supporter would have a key role in an Obama administration.
“He will have a role as one of my advisers,” Mr Obama told NBC’s Today show.
“He’s already served in that function, even before he endorsed me. Whether he wants to take a formal role, whether that’s a good fit for him, is something we’d have to discuss.”
Mr Obama also said he “would love to have him at any stop” on the campaign trail and added that Mr Powell has an “open invitation” to join him.
But the 71-year-old African American, who advised Ronald Reagan and served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under former Presidents George HW Bush and Bill Clinton, is not expected to take the role.
On Sunday, Mr Powell told NBC’s Meet The Press: “I think we need a transformational figure.
“I think we need a president who is a generational change and that’s why I’m supporting Barack Obama, not out of any lack of respect or admiration for senator John McCain.”
He criticised Mr McCain’s choice of Alaska governor Sarah Palin as a running mate, saying he did not believe “she’s ready to be president of the US, which is the job of the vice president”.
Mr Powell also called the McCain campaign’s decision to focus on Mr Obama’s ties to 1960s-era radical William Ayers “an unfortunate characterisation that isn’t accurate”.
His endorsement came just hours after Mr Obama’s campaign disclosed that it raised $150m (£88m) last month — obliterating the old record of $66m (£39m) it had set only a month earlier. Mr McCain seemed dismissive of Mr Powell’s endorsement, saying it was not a surprise.