John Sununu, the former New Hampshire governor and surrogate for Mitt Romney, suggested during an interview with CNN Thursday night that Colin Powell endorsed President Obama because both are African American.

Piers Morgan asked Sununu to comment on the former secretary of state, who is a Republican, bucking his party to back Obama. “[F]rankly, when you take a look at Colin Powell, you have to wonder whether that’s an endorsement based on issues or whether he’s got a slightly different reason for preferring President Obama?” Sununu said.

“What reason would that be?” Morgan pressed.

“Well, 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.”

Early Friday, Ryan Williams, a spokesman for the Romney campaign, e-mailed this statement from Sununu:

“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.”

The ad from Colin Powell:

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