John Sununu. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
David Jackson, USA TODAY
A top surrogate to Mitt Romney suggested Thursday that race may have motivated Colin Powell's endorsement of President Obama.
John Sununu, former New Hampshire governor and chief of staff to President George H.W. Bush, told CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight: "When you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to look at whether that's an endorsement based on issues or he's got a slightly different reason for endorsing President Obama."
He added: "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 later issued a statement saying race was not a factor: "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."
Powell -- who also backed Obama in 2008 -- made his endorsement of a second term on Thursday, in an appearance on CBS' This Morning.
Powell said that the nation is recovering from the severe recession that Obama inherited.
"I see that we are starting to rise up," Powell said. "I also saw the president get us out of one war, start to get us out of a second war and did not get us into any new wars. And finally, I think that the actions he's taken with respect to protecting us from terrorism have been very, very solid."