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. Rob

    Someone wrote that we need to give Obama "time" to "fix" the problems – well, that's great, but his approach will actually CAUSE more problems. They complained that Bush did nothing to decrease our dependence on foreign oil – well, Obama isn't doing anything better because what we NEED is to DRILL more in our OWN country, to research and develop oil from shale, to develop MORE nuclear plants, as well as solar, wind, etc. See, Obama is beholden to the environmentalists, so all he'll do is solar and wind, which will do NOTHING to help decrease our dependence on foreign oil. Also, as far as health care, he needs to listen to the doctors and the patients and NOT the drug companies and insurance companies (which he is currently doing), so any health care reform will only benefit pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies. You see folks, it's not that it's "Reps vs Dems" it's that Obama's policies are just as bad, if not worse than Bush's (Bush was NOT a true conservative, he was basically a Dem lite)!

    July 3, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  2. EcoAZ

    Andy: Boy are you in the wrong country. Get your passport together and GO.

    July 3, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  3. Joe the Troll

    Looks like someone wants Rush and Dick to like him again.

    July 3, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. bill weaver

    Powell's a sad figure – he betrayed his republican colleagues and was effectively cast out by the party as a result. Let's face it, he was as gung ho on knocking out Saddam (who clearly deserved it). Then Powell sold his name to the opposition, who used him like a prostitiute. Now he is discarded by the Democrats like any useless tool. Nowhere man.

    July 3, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. Badger

    3-4 years from now when things are full steam ahead all the nay saying people who want him to fail will be eating crow.

    July 3, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. scott

    So CNN...

    How come he's a great american soldier when he agrees with Maobama and the former bush aide when expresses concern?

    Either way he's an opportunistic former soldier and a niave politcian..

    July 3, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. Mark NY

    How dare someone question the great one and his policies. Why should anyone be concerned about the unprecedented amount of money were spending that we don't have? Its pure ludicrous. And we all know that the recession was nothing but the former president's fault. I mean he was the president that allowed, wait made it law that companies like Freddy Mac and Leman Brothers were made to and allowed to give mortgages to lower class families who couldn't afford them? Also the republicans were the one that were heading those two companies right?

    I'm no republican and I'm no democrat but to blame the collapse of our economy only on George W. Bush and the Republicans borders on crazy. It was a collective effort by a bunch of useless tools who couldn't spot a problem if it hit them in the face. Queen Nancy was as much to blame as savant Bush.

    July 3, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  8. Rob

    Andy – you are TRULY scary! The constitution enumerates the power that Gov has, and it basically details that Gov has LIMITED powers (you know, because our Founding Fathers didn't want to be ruled by a monarchy, a Gov which could do whatever it wanted, whenever it wanted to its people)! If you don't like the way our system of Gov is set up, then you are FREE to leave this country, but to change our constitution to give our Gov unlimited powers is ridiculously stupid – Gov is not the solution to our problems, Gov IS the problem!

    July 3, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  9. Margaret

    Sorry, Secretary Powell, but you have let this country down in a major way by not speaking out before this.

    Now the question is: What do we do about it?

    July 3, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. rekatksir

    Well, duh

    July 3, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  11. NAVY JACK

    Under what rock was Colin Powell and the rest of the "moderates" that endorsed Obama hiding during "the one's" campaign?
    They didn't hear this man stating his wish list of policies, programs and direction for our courts???????????????

    Obama and his DEM leaders are SELF-SERVING, RECKLESS IRRESPONSIBLE EGOTISTS.
    This is the more like Putin in Russia than the frequently compared mezzianic oracle.

    July 3, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. Jack in Florida

    Bush did nothing the last 8 years and it is time to correct all of his mistakes and go where the Republicans wouldn't go...............................I say go big or go home..........................

    July 3, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  13. Andrew

    Powell should have been President in 2000.

    July 3, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  14. Bob Pacific Grove, Ca

    Colin Powell is a Republican....Of course he will be concerned with President Obama's democratic agenda......This is "news"? LOL!!!! Wow!! CNN must be desperate......

    July 3, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  15. Kelly-Welly

    ...and you just now figured this out, Colin? Duh. Maybe if you focused more on what Obama said (and his political record of what he'd already done) during his campaign instead of being so excited by the color of his skin you would have heard him clearly telling us all that he planned to play the part of a National Robbin' Hood. There's nothing new here. It's the typical approach: throw around billions of dollars and "Change" from the taxpayers to give to the bottomless-pit of already-bloated, inept and power-seeking bureacrats and their broken system of broken promises. You wanted change? You got lots of it–from my husband's teacher's salary pockets into the governments. Congrats.

    July 3, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  16. Todd

    As a Democrat, Collin Powell's concerns should be taken with a pound of consideration. He didn't attack the President or the Democrats. President Obama needs someone, with some credibiility, questioning his policies. There is no reason to attach Collin Powell.

    The GOP has no credibility, their a political joke.

    July 3, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  17. Mark NY

    Andy good luck with your revolution. How many people are you going to storm the Capital building with? One?

    July 3, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  18. Steven

    Wouldn't an ideal solution be to have a free-market, capitalist society WITH some level of government overview to ensure that corruption and carelessness is kept to a minimum? I'd be fine with a government that doesn't interfere with business directly, but rather punishes those companies and individuals who break the rules.

    God forbid liberals actually have to work hard to earn what they get.

    July 3, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  19. Efrain

    To Chris, listen you little Rush, W, Cheney zombie, your boy W had everything fall into his lap. An election was handed to him in 2000 by SCOTUS (that's Supreme Court of the U.S. you ignoramus). He inherited a budget surplus, and was handed an incredible opportunity in 9/11. He was the original golden child. He took all this incredible luck and along with his conservative cohorts and the radical right took this country down the path on which we are on now. Let see now W led us into fighting the wrong war. We should have gone after the Saudi hijackersd in Saudi Arabia. We should have gone after Bin Laden in Afghanistan. Your reference to his so called tax cuts (mainly for the rich) led us to the greatest financial crisis since the Great depression. Him and his Republican buddies spent like drunken sailors. And if you remember he was leading the charge to privatize Social Security and tie it to the stock market. So stop listening to Rush, Beck, Hannity and Cheney and wake up to the facts as to why we are where we are. I would suggest you look at a documentary by CNBC called "House of Cards" and you will learn the truth.

    July 3, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  20. Mark NY

    How dare someone question the great one and his policies. Why should anyone be concerned about the unprecedented amount of money were spending that we don't have? Its pure ludicrous. And we all know that the recession was nothing but the former president's fault. I mean he was the president that allowed, wait made it law that companies like Freddy Mac and Leman Brothers were made to and allowed to give mortgages to lower class families who couldn't afford them? Also the republicans were the one that were heading those two companies right?

    I'm no republican and I'm no democrat but to blame the collapse of our economy only on George W. Bush and the Republicans borders on crazy. It was a collective effort by a bunch of useless tools who couldn't spot a problem if it hit them in the face. Queen Nancy was as much to blame as savant Bush....

    July 3, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  21. Marc L

    Powell endorsed a man for President who he has no shared political ideals with. What did he think would happen? I think Powell needs to step out of the political spotlight for a while. He really is losing whatever credibility he had left. There is no doubt he has a lot to offer society, but politics is no longer his arena.

    July 3, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  22. Lou from CT

    I think Mr. Powell is right to sound a warning, but it is also refreshing to see such a prominent Republican not running around in "Chicken Little" mode.

    Mr. Obama – it might be wise to at least listen to Mr. Powell.

    July 3, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  23. Paul H

    Hmm, be careful what you wish for you just might get it?
    Powell you asked for this. You voted with your heart, you voted for change, you voted for history. Powell you were pulled into the onslaught of media coverage on everyone's senses. This is what we get when we do not ask the hard questions, or question a mans record.
    Forget everything that the talk radio tries to tell you about Obama, but ask yourself what has this man really accomplished? The answer is very little.
    Ask the hard questions. And watch this man give a double edged answer. Never does he (Or Pelosi) give an absolute answer.

    July 3, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  24. jay

    I understand Powel's concerns but the problem is when he and his men where screwing this country up they did not do it one at a time the were able to do in all together, and didn't he know it was going to cost money to fix it?
    An by the way where do these rich people know about the problems facing 95% of the middle class in America.
    I wish CNN will invite normally struggling Americans no they programs then we can have a concrete debate.

    July 3, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  25. Jon

    Maybe he shouldn't have pretended to be a Republican while he was voting for Obama solely because he was black. Quite frankly, Powell should follow the path taken by Specter and just join the Democratic or Socialist Party of America and than he could drink the Obama Kool-aid and he wouldn't be worried anymore.

    July 3, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
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