Powell endorses Obama for president, calls for "generational change"

WASHINGTON (AP) - A former member of the Bush administration is backing Barack Obama. Colin Powell has told "NBC's Meet the Press" that he regrets disappointing John McCain, but feels Obama is a "transformational figure."

Powell says both Obama and McCain are qualified to be commander in chief. But he says Obama is better suited to handle the nation's economic problems as well as help improve its standing in the world.

Powell also expressed disappointment in the negative tone of McCain's campaign, as well as in his choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential nominee. Powell says he does not believe Palin is ready to take over as president, if necessary.

Powell's endorsement has been much anticipated because he is a Republican with impressive foreign policy credentials.

At the same time, he is a black man and Obama would be the nation's first black president.