Breaking News
2:24pm UK, Sunday October 19, 2008

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has endorsed Barack Obama for President of the United States.

The move is a huge boost for Mr Obama as Mr Powell served under current President George Bush during his first term.

He had also been talked about as a possible running mate for Mr Obama's Republican rival John McCain, a man with whom he had worked for many years.

Sky's Ian Woods, reporting from Washington, said the decision was a "major setback" for the McCain campaign.

He said that in a TV appearance, Mr Powell had criticised the McCain campaign and praised Mr Obama.

The news came as it was revealed that Mr Obama raised more than $150m (£87m) for his campaign in September, breaking the record of $66m (£38m) he set the previous month.

Unlike his Republican rival John McCain, Mr Obama chose not to accept public funding for his campaign, leaving him free to raise millions privately.

The amount of money raised has allowed him to blanket the airwaves with advertising in the run-up to the November 4 poll.

Mr Obama's campaign has purchased a half-hour prime-time television slot on October 29, six days before the election, to make its final push.

His campaign added 620,000 new donors last month to bring the total to 3.1 million.