By Geneva Sands - 05/23/12 02:39 PM EDT
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell raised concerns Tuesday about Mitt Romney's foreign-policy advisers.
"I don't know who all of his advisers are, but I've seen some the names and some of them are quite far to the right and sometimes they … might be in a position to make judgments or recommendations to the candidate that should get a second thought," said Powell on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
Powell pointed to Romney's statement that Russia was the "No. 1 geopolitical foe" to the United States as an example of a misinformed or misunderstood understanding of foreign policy.
Romney made that comment in March after President Obama was caught on a live mic asking then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for "space" to deal with missile defense. Medvedev responded at the time by telling Romney to "look at his watch," suggesting his foreign policy on Russia is a thing of the past.
Powell told MSNBC that Romney has been "catching a lot of heck" from the establishment Republican foreign-affairs community.
"We were kind of taken aback by it … I mean, look at the world. There is no pure competitor to the United States of America," he said.
Earlier in the interview, Powell praised Obama's plans for ending the war in Afghanistan.
"I think the president and the NATO leaders came up with a good statement of the problem and the plan to get through this over the weekend in Chicago," Powell said.
The former secretary of State and retired four-star general said he agreed with the decision to end the U.S. active combat role in Afghanistan in 2013 and withdraw troops in 2014.
Powell said he believes the Afghan people have the capacity to prevent further subjugation by the Taliban, but it will be left up to Afghanistan to take responsibility for its own political and societal future.
"At some point the foreign presence is not that helpful, so I think that plan is good and, you know, we just can't stay there forever," he added.
Despite his praise of the president and concerns about Romney, Powell declined to give Obama his endorsement Tuesday during an interview on the "Today" show, saying he owes it to the Republican Party to keep his options open.
"I feel as a private citizen I will listen to what the president says and what the president has been doing, but I also have to listen to what the other fella says. I’ve known Mitt Romney for many years — good man," said Powell, who endorsed Obama in 2008. "It’s not just a matter of whether you support Obama or Romney, it’s who they have coming with them."