Retired Army Gen. Colin Powell, a former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and former secretary of state, endorsed President Barack Obama Thursday amid attacks by challenger Mitt Romney over the incumbent's proposal to maintain current defense spending.

Powell, a Republican who had endorsed the Democrat for election in 2008, reaffirmed his support for Obama’s re-election Thursday on the CBS News “This Morning” show. His 2008 support of Obama, then a senator from Illinois, represented one of the first black president’s most prominent endorsements.

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The endorsement came as both Obama and Romney raced to campaign in as many swing states as possible two weeks before the election. Obama targeted niche audiences while Republican challenger Mitt Romney focused on the macro-issue of the economy as the two took different approaches to energize voters in battleground states.

The candidates and their surrogates followed multiple paths Wednesday to make their case to voters in the final stretch before the Nov. 6 election.