No, I don't agree with Rush Limbaugh and others who claim that Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama's candidacy was all about race.
But race was a factor in a certain way, I'm sure.
Here's what I think happened:
Colin Powell has become a consumate Washington Insider who is well respected by both Republicans and Democrats. Therefore his approval was aggressively sought after by both sides as very few people are. Usually, people choose sides in Washington and are loathed to cross party lines because of the political consequences. Powell is one of the few who have the credibility to make a decision about this race and have people believe party politics didn't come into play.
So I accept that Powell studied all of the issues and came to his best judgement.
However, I firmlybelieve that Powell started this process with only 2 options:
1. stay neutral
2. endorse Obama
General Powell as never going to publicly endorse John McCain under any circumstances.
This is where race comes into play. Colin Powell has maintained credibility in the black community where other Republicans have withered. He's done this by supporting Affirmative Action, by supporting/doing community work, by being respectful of traditional black (liberal) leaders, etc. Powell has never been on the wrong side of a black/white debate from the black community's point of view.
To endorse McCain would have put him on the wrong side in the black community.
So in typical General Powell fashion, I think he found a way to both be honest and do what was best for the country. Therefore he limited himself to the choices above.
Had he concluded McCain was best, we simply wouldn't have heard from Powell.