While Powell served in the administrations of two Republican presidents, he said Sunday it was too early in the 2008 race to say whether he would back the GOP nominee.
"I'm going to support the best person that I can find who will lead this country for the eight years beginning in January of 2009," Powell said.
Powell was secretary of state under President Bush and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman for the first President Bush.
Powell said he has met twice with Obama, the Illinois senator. "I've been around this town a long time and I know everybody who is running for office. And I make myself available to talk about foreign policy matters and military matters with whoever wishes to chat with me," Powell said.
Powell said he does not want to serve in elected office but was less certain about a return to some government post.
"I would not rule it out. I am not at all interested in political life if you mean elected political life. That is unchanged. But I always keep my eyes open and my ears open to requests for service," he said.
He was interviewed on "Meet the Press" on NBC.