July 3rd, 2009
02:53 PM ET
5 years ago

State of the Union: Powell 'concerned' about Obama's agenda


WASHINGTON (CNN) – In a wide-ranging interview set to air Sunday on CNN's State of the Union, one of President Barack Obama's most prominent Republican supporters says he is 'concerned' about the new president's ambitious agenda and the high price tags accompanying many of Obama's initiatives.

"I'm a little concerned," former Secretary of State Colin Powell says. "I'm concerned at the number of programs that are being presented, the bills associated with these programs and the additional government that will be needed to execute them."

Powell also seems to sound a note of warning to the young president.

"I think one of the cautions that has to be given to the president - and I've talked to some of his people about this - is that you can't have so many things on the table that you can't absorb it all. And we can't pay for it all."

Even as he raises concerns about the new Democratic president's agenda, Powell also seems to back away from some of his own conservative views.

"I don't like slogans anymore like 'limited government.' That's not the right answer. The right answer is, give me a government that works."

"The people want their problems solved," Powell also says in the interview. "And very often, it's government that has to do that. So let's have good government, effective government, whether you call it limited or not."

Despite his concerns, Powell also tells CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that he has a "very good" relationship with president.

"I have met with him not too long ago. I don't insert myself. But we stay in touch," the former Bush aide says of Obama.


Filed under: Colin Powell • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. fad

    Who cares what he thinks as he has lost his credibility?

    first, he trashed the republicans hoping to get favours from the dems and obama and failing that, he now expresses concerns about the obama programs

    Powell has never been known for his integrity or crtiical thinking.

    July 3, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  2. Gene

    America voted for a change in the way government works, not a change to the liberal view. Obama is forgetting this already. Over half of the country voted for him. Almost half didn't vote for him. if he's
    not careful, the winds will shift, his 4 years will be over, then he'll be
    on the speaking circuit with Powell. For some reason, people think of Powell as a republican, but if you read his book, he's voted for
    both parties in elections. He's an independant at best!

    July 3, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  3. LIP

    I'm looking in my wallet and paying the bills and everything has gone up and Obama is talking like there is no end to the money he can get and it has to come from someplace and Colin (turncoat) Powell is finally saying what the rest of us have been seeing, but not believing.
    Get real and put a stop to this foolishness. Sure it would be nice to fix all that is wrong with this government, but it can't all be done at the same time.

    July 3, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. John

    5 days before signing any bill : Broken promise
    Indefenite detainee at Gbay : broken promise
    No Tax increase below 250K income family: cap & Trade: Broken promise
    No lobbyist in my admin: broken
    No porkulous/earmark spending: Broken
    Mirandise law of captured terrorist: Broken
    Gbay; Dont know what to do with detainees.
    Late and lame statement on Iran: No leadership and courage
    Photos of prisoner abuse: Flip flop (thank god, finally he is right).

    A naive man got so lucky to be in white house......

    July 3, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. A. M.

    Powell is concerned? Did he not realize Obama planned to spend the U.S. into the ground based on the policies proposed during his campaign? Maybe Powell is realizing he is also a victim of Obamania and should have never endorsed this man for president.

    July 3, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  6. Unfazed

    President Obama has been in office for 6 months. In that time, he has been candid and open about everything that he is doing. It will take a minute to turn the economy around, get affordable healthcare instituted, exercise wisdom and sucessful diplomacy with our allies and foes, and do the things that he promised.

    Is he moving too fast? If he were moving any slower, then this blog would be filled with critics about that. The President needs detractors, however, because if all he gets is praise, then he would not know that there are those that disagree with his policies. Sometimes good ideas come from those who disagree. Let it be known that the President is open to good ideas.

    Mr. Powell can best lend his expertise and counsel in the privacy of the Oval Office.

    July 3, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. John

    Colin Powell is Just a Soldier all his life.

    He does not know anything about Economy. He is not an Economist.

    He should Just Shut Up and Mind his Own Business.

    Obama has the Best Economists in the World in his Team.

    July 3, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  8. Mary the Democrat

    The White House Spending is getting out of control.

    Common sense should tell the President and his staff that you shouldn't spend money you don't have. Especially when the costs are in the Billions and Trillions.

    Didn't we learn anything from the out of control spending that was being done during the Bush era?

    Obama is starting to look and act just like Bush.

    I hope he listens to Powell.

    July 3, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  9. Powel

    Powell, you're a great American. Very informed, result oriented soldier.

    July 3, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  10. barbara campbell

    I respect Colin Powell but disagree with this assessment of President Obama's agenda. If the Republicans can throw a trillion dollars into their illegal war in Iraq (funds that went into the hands of military-industrial corporations like Blackwater and Halliburton), why do they now object to spending on programs that benefit the American people?

    The Bush administration trampled all over the rights of Americans and the Obama administration is trying to remedy the damage and clean up a multitude of Republican messes. Obama and Congressional Democrats need to work hard on a number of fronts.

    July 3, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  11. Haas

    While I somewhat agree with Powel, if Obama were to listen to his advice he should have listened at the beginning of the year. It's too late now. Most of the policies that dictate how the next 3 1/2 years plays out have already been set. The only 2 major agendas for the rest of this year are healthcare and climate change. They can put climate change off till the economy recovers, in my opinion. But healthcare can't wait.

    I do think Obama should at least hear Powel out. he doesn't have any political agenda and unlike most of the Reps, he really does have this county's best interests at heart.

    July 3, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. chubby

    Don't tell me one of obamas "so called Republican" lap dog's has only now become concerned.

    July 3, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  13. Anita

    Finally, someone who puts things in perspective without all that mudslinging we see from palin and mccain.

    Colin Powell is stil credible, introspective and has every right to voice what he thinks should be done for the country.

    He served his country – what about the rest of you?

    Ah don't dog a man until you walk in his shoes!!!!

    July 3, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  14. Andy

    We Need a Three Fourth Majority in the House and Senate.

    We Need To Throw The Republicans Out.

    We Need to Amend the US Constitution on the Following Aspects:

    1. A President cannot Mislead the Country into War.
    2. No Torture.
    3. Regulated Banking and Mortgage Lending.
    4. Affordable Health Care by the Government for all.
    5. Equal rights for Gays.
    6. We need Strict Laws to curb Corruption, Extortion, Fraud by Insurance Companies.
    7. Capitalism in America is not Working. Capitalism is becoming Corrupt and a Tool for Criminals like Madoff to Play. Capitalism is breeding Crime.
    CAPITALISM MUST GO – IF IT CANNOT BE CONTROLLED.

    July 3, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  15. EcoAZ

    Fad: Attacks on the character of Colin Powell are completely unwarranted. No matter which "side" (only an idiot takes "sides" in America) you're on, Colin Powell has ALWAYS been an honorable and focused individual I would have been proud to support to public office.

    I concur with an earlier poster...had Colin Powell been v.p. nominee with McCain, McCain would have sailed into the White House.

    July 3, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  16. Ann

    waiting for all of you to become more concerned. You voted for him, idiots

    July 3, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  17. Bush, Really

    I read all the comment of how much "8 years of W destroyed/ruined this country.

    What did he destroy or make so awful?

    Our current recession was not caused by the Bush Admin.

    Iraq, was the Bush Admin's ball game, and even if you completely disagree with our going in, you can argue the counter point of why we went.

    High healthcare costs mainly stem from illegals immigrants, frivolous laws suits, and Medicaid/care, which was not a Bush policy.

    W wasn't my favorite either, but he wasn't that bad.

    July 3, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  18. Matt

    It never fails to suprise me how stupid most Amaericans are. Everything wrong is Bush's fault even though individual responsibility has no say. The housing market crashed because my fellow stupid Americans want more than they can afford and that's Bush's fault. Get more stuff with more credit cards and when we can't pay our bills just go banrupt and start all over, Bush's fault not the stupid Amaerican. Bush just as Obama doesn't check the National checkbook in their back packet. If the Dems and Obama didn't want to spend as the past administration did they could have voted it down since the Dems had the majority. Individual financial responsibiltiy got us in this mess, more so than Bush and Obama's big spending big Government is just going to compound the problem.

    July 3, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. Fla.

    I agree we need government to be more effective in problem solving, and President Obama is putting forth great effort to address our issues. His ability to multi-task was one of the reasons many Americans voted for him.

    I also agree to do away with the purported slogans, particularly from the GOP. Republican so-called "limited government" is simply a marketing strategy, but in reality, it's unfortunately another hypocritical fallacy for the GOP.

    July 3, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  20. Henry

    Arthur M. Solis, perhaps you would be happy if all black people were easy to control and keep in line. If they all did what you want them to do, like little slaves, instead of holding their own opinions that aren't based simply on race. I'll tell you something, I have known plenty of black people who joined the NRA in the early 1990s because they believed in gun rights. They also were fully aware that some know-it-alls would misinterpret their joining to mean they supported every action of the NRA past, present and future but that simply was not the case. Get to know black people (or people of any color) before you go making assumptions about why they do what they do.

    July 3, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. slimjim66

    We as Americans don't get it . When our President says it out loud that
    the stimulus Package will work . Thats because this Great American
    Country can only survive , if we really listen BUY AMERICAN . GOD
    BLESS AMERICA .......

    July 3, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. TINA

    Too Late Colin!

    We tried to tell you this before you supported the rookie!

    July 3, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  23. Samuel

    Republican Party is Done, Gone, Finished.
    Filibuster for us. The Duds and Incompetent have been Eliminated.
    Freedom has Come to America.
    We no more have Idiots Running our Country.
    We have no more Criminals in White House.

    July 3, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. joanne

    if powell and he republicans would help Obama get the job done as the last 2 administrations did NOT maybe I could elieve him a little but he is just anothr big mouth with no action in my opinion..shut up or put up is my opinion

    Obabam took oave 24 hurs after Bush. Paulso and the other guy said we sould be dead if we did not agree to put several rillion in thier hands to clean up their mess..

    remember we are spending a biooion dollars a week for 84 monthsnow what have we got for that money>

    NOT MUCHecept about 5000 ead military 50 thousand wonded military.

    July 3, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. Rich from Pholly

    Mr Powell

    Get outside the beltway and see the economic conditions in the rest of the country–we are not protected. There is a need for more stimulus not less. Have you thought that government spending inside the beltway might be mitigating the worst of the downturn in your neighborhood?

    July 3, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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