updated 04/15/2008 AT 1:00 PM ET
•originally published 04/15/2008 AT 3:10 PM ET
Despite Toby Keith’s past public support of President George W. Bush and his famous post-Sept.11 song, “The Angry American (Courtesy of the Red White and Blue),” this year the country star says things have changed.
Keith, who in the past has said he’s a Democrat but was unhappy with the party’s candidates, now can support the current contenders for the nomination.
“I’m real happy that there are two candidates that people can get behind,” he told PEOPLE at the CMT awards Monday. “I feel like there are two people now – with Hillary [Clinton] and the time she’s spent,” he said of the former first lady and current New York senator.
Of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, he said, “Obama looks like a great speaker and a great leader. And I think you can learn on your feet in there, so I don’t hold people responsible for not having a whole bunch of political background in the House and Senate.”
But Keith is keeping an open mind about the election. “I think [John] McCain is a great option too. I think we’ve got three great candidates running.”
Asked if he has decided yet who he’ll support, he said: “Not yet. I’m still waiting and listening. I wish one of the two Democrats would get behind the other one and show us what we’ve got, but right now it’s early in the game.”
Whoever the nominee is, Keith, who has performed 100 shows with the USO tour, is clear about at least one priority. “I think everybody just needs to support our troops. That’s all I tried to do,” he said.” If I ever did anything wrong, it was just in support of our troops.”