In separate television interviews as he promotes his new book, the retired general credited Obama with stabilizing the financial system and "fixing the auto industry" but said much more remains to be done.
"I think he took us out, not completely out, but he took us out of the most difficult problem we were facing at that time, which was an economy that was collapsing," Powell said on NBC's "Today" show. "It's improving, but not fast enough. So his No. 1 goal for the rest of this year, as it should have been for the whole four years, is to get the economy running again."
He raised questions about GOP candidate Mitt Romney's views on foreign policy, but insisted he plans to keep his "powder dry" when it comes to throwing his support behind one of the two.
"I feel as a private citizen, I ought to listen to what the president says and what the president's been doing. But I also have to listen to what the other fella's been saying," Powell said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In an interview on MSBNC's "Morning Joe," Powell suggested Romney may want to take a second look at his foreign policy advisers.
"I don't know who all of his advisers are but I've seen some of the names and some of them are quite far to the right, and sometimes they, I think, might be in a position to make judgments or recommendations to the candidate that should get a second thought," Powell said. "For example, when Gov. Romney not too long ago said the Russian Federation is our No. 1 geo-strategic threat. Well, come on, Mitt. Think!"
Powell's words come as a new Quinnipiac University poll shows Romney leading Obama in the key state of Florida. The former Massachusetts governor is ahead 47 percent to 41 percent among registered voters, compared with a virtual tie there earlier this month, Fox News reported.