WASHINGTON (AFP) — Former Republican secretary of state Colin Powell denied Wednesday that he was to appear at the upcoming Democratic convention, in what would have been a coup for White House runner Barack Obama.
The idea of Powell, a former chairman of the US military's joint chiefs of staff, crossing party lines in a spectacular endorsement of Obama was raised earlier by conservative journalist William Kristol.
But Powell told ABC News in a telephone interview: "I do not have time to waste on Bill Kristol's musings. I am not going to the convention. I have made this clear."
ABC said Powell ended the conversation without entertaining any more questions about whether he might endorse Obama.
On Fox News, Kristol had cited unnamed sources as saying Powell would endorse Obama and "may well give a speech" at the August 25-28 Democratic convention in Denver, Colorado.
The extent of Powell's remaining influence among US voters is unclear, as he is one of the figures most associated with the decision to wage war in Iraq, despite his well-known qualms about military action abroad.
But his vast foreign policy experience outweighs even that of Republican Senator John McCain, Obama's veteran opponent in the White House race.
Powell was also one of the highest-ranking African-American public officials ever in US history, and has been complimentary about Obama's bid to become the nation's first black president.
Rebuffing a key line of attack by Obama's critics, Powell told ABC in April: "He didn't have a lot of experience in running a presidential campaign, did he? But he seems to know how to organize the task."
And in February, Powell hinted that he may reject his party and vote against the Republican nominee.
"I will vote for the candidate I think can do the best job in America -- whether that candidate is a Republican or Democrat or an independent," he told CNN.
"Frankly, we lost a lot in recent years," Powell added in a swipe at the administration of President George W. Bush, under whom he served as secretary of state from 2001 to 2005.
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