John Sununu, former governor of New Hampshire and a co-chair of the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, made a significant blunder last night when he told CNN’s Piers Morgan that Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for president yesterday because both men are black.

Via CNN:

Speaking on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight,” Sununu downplayed the importance of the former secretary of state’s endorsement, pointing to the support Romney’s received from former President George H.W. Bush. He went on to explain that Powell’s endorsement of Obama didn’t rely solely on the political issues at hand.

“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,” Sununu said, adding: “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.”

Powell, who served as the first African American secretary of state under President George W. Bush, made his endorsement earlier Thursday, citing a number of issues not related to race as reasons he was backing Obama for a second time.

Liberals accused Sununu of blatant racism:

https://twitter.com/kirsh84/status/261679834311315457

One Twitter user openly wished for Sununu to die:

We haven’t found any death threats yet, but the day has just begun.

Twitter user Jay Caruso notes that Powell himself admitted to Larry King in 2009 that he took Obama’s race into account when he endorsed Obama in ’08:

I didn’t endorse him simply because he was black. I felt this was, you know, something to take into consideration. But I also had, on the other side of — of the issue, a dear friend of 30 years, John McCain, a fellow Vietnam veteran who I had known for many years.

And I spoke at length with John McCain about his campaign and I watched Mr. Obama and his campaign. And at the end, I cannot say I was totally colorblind. But at the end, I convinced myself, based on the facts as I saw it, that he was the better choice for this time in our nation’s history.

[Emphasis added.]

In the same interview, Powell told King that Obama’s race was a plus factor with “most African-Americans”:

“And I think he won not just because he was black, although that influenced most African-Americans and a lot of people. I think he won basically because he convinced the American people that he was the right candidate for the times.”

Perhaps race did play a role in Powell’s endorsement, but common sense suggests that ideology — both men support same-sex marriage, abortion rights, gun control, and affirmative action — was a more important consideration.

Obama’s supporters and their friends in the MSM will devote plenty of attention to Sununu’s questionable comments today. With just 11 days to go before Election Day, that is not what the Romney campaign needs.

Update: The early response to this post indicates that our commenters agree with Sununu. Here’s a thought experiment: What if the Democrat nominee were a white liberal like Hillary Clinton and the Republican nominee were a black conservative like Herman Cain. Whom do you think Powell would support? Be honest!

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Update: John Sununu has walked back his earlier statement:

“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. Piers Morgan’s question was whether Colin Powell should leave the party, and I don’t think he should.”