COLIN POWELL ENDORSES OBAMA…. On “Meet the Press” this morning, ret. Gen. and former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama. Powell continued to refer to the Republican Party as “my party,” and added that he doesn’t plan to hit the campaign trail for Obama, but nevertheless gave a full-throated endorsement to the Democratic candidate. More soon.

Update: Here’s the video:

Second Update: I’m still trying to track down a transcript, but in the meantime, note not only Powell’s glowing praise of Obama, his vision, and his readiness, but also Powell’s denunciations of the McCain campaign’s tacitcs (they’ve gone “too far”), adding Palin to the ticket, McCain’s nauseating robocalls, the Ayers “issue,” the prospect of additional conservative Supreme Court justices, and the fact that the Republican Party has moved “even further to the right.”

Obama, Powell said, is “the president we need now,” citing his “ability to inspire, the inculsive nature of his campaign, because he his reaching out all across America … he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president. I think he is a transformational figure.”

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.