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. Larry

    Powell has always been wishy washy. He's another
    Republican who has no credibility.

    Again. give us solutions. We're tired of finger pointing.

    "The people want their problems solved" and President Obama is working hard to solve them. In my lifetime I've never seen a president so determined to get this country working for EVERYONE again.

    It took 8 years for the Republican administration to get it in this mess. President Obama has been in office 6 and a half months.

    He's doing a terrific job. Don't criticize him Powell, help him.

    July 3, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  2. skyhawkdriver

    Gee..imagine that..first powell tries to be obamas waterboy..now the light goes off in his brain and he realizes what obamas programs are going to cost and that the federal government is ballooning out of control and he can't decide what to do..wow..what to do now mr powell??

    July 3, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  3. clarence swinney

    1980=1000B of debt
    I listed 100B

    July 3, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  4. Old Soldier

    The banks, insurance, stock market, auto makers, education, energy, real estate, health care, and other facets of America are all being brought under strict governmental control. Whether you call it humanism, marxism, socialism or communism, it is bad for liberty. The older generation knows it for what is, and deplores it. The younger generation is too indoctrinated by the public school system to recognize anything other than what they have been taught. Seems General Powell is as naive as most American children. Freedom is not free, although the typical American freeloader seems to think so.

    July 3, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  5. joe m

    good advice.

    July 3, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. dennis

    Well open up our pocket books more. We the american people will never recover from what obama is about to do..

    July 3, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  7. GiroGeezer

    The man that should have, could have, would have, been President of the United States.

    July 3, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  8. Be careful what you wish for

    Buyer's remorse, Colin? ... join the club

    July 3, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  9. Jeff

    I lost all respect for Colin Powell when he backed color over integrity and experience. Powell directly went against MLK's "judge a man by his character not by the color of his skin".

    July 3, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  10. jm

    His agenda greatly concerns a lot of us.

    July 3, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  11. Robin

    A little late, don't you think?

    July 3, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  12. GI Joe

    Our country feels like a house that hasn't been cleaned, and no maintenance done, for 8 years.

    It takes a lot to make this place livable.

    Wake up people – all our money and time has been spent (for the past 8 years) on the War to get Saddam "he tried to kill my daddy" Hussein. Plus over 4300 of our young service people lost their lives because of the "W"armonger.

    July 3, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  13. Kirsten Riley

    Is this really a surprise to Powell? The Republicans from the start knew that this is what Obama was going to do, how out of it could Obama be? He supported this guy, and is now "questioning his agenda"? Really, come on, Powell, at least try to be better than that.

    July 3, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  14. Mark

    "A little concerned"? He should be very concerned, like most of americans. Obama has no direction, other than SPEND, SPEND, SPEND.....Oh, and TAX!!!

    July 3, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  15. Tim

    Colin to RNC: "Oops! Sorry about that one."

    July 3, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  16. David Jones

    Colin: I'm glad you were a soldier but not a finance guru. Obama's plans for health care, climate change and schools identify funding sources that do not worsen the deficit. The problem Obama has is that the deficit he inherited from the GOP is $1.5 trillion short for the military, social security, medicare and so forth. This is the problem that the GOP turned from a annual surplus to an annual defict. The only way this get solved is by cutting spending (not much to cut here) and raising taxes. The irresponsibility of the GOP is one in which the entire country will suffer for years on end.

    July 3, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  17. Concerned Too

    Now he's concerned??????? It's a little late now Mr. Powell!

    July 3, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  18. Donald Bernk

    Gen. Powell is spot on.
    as an Obama supporter, I am deeply concerned that they have taken their eye off the ball.
    Fix the economy. That's it. Get the jobs number turned around. That's it.
    You can do all the other things later and your political capitol will GROW if you succeed.
    If you fail at the economy, none of the other items will be possible.
    I don't understand how a group of smart people has gotten so off track trying to take on health care, global temperatures, immigration, education. Afghanistan, Iraq, the Middle East, banking reform, etc etc.
    It is not possible to do all at once well. Look at the climate bill. A disaster filled with junk and virtually no public discussion. But they got it out of the House quickly. great.

    July 3, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  19. Ray

    Yes we don't need the Nanny State. People can make their own decisions as they have been for many years. When my ancesters came over, before the revolution, they didn't have a big social program in place to fall back on. They had to do it themselves. If the Obama adjenda continues the country will be out of funds, like California is now. Is that what you want?

    July 3, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  20. bimmer

    Wonder what is he up to? 2012? To fill the vacuum in GOP?

    You supported HIM over McCain for only reason. Nothig has changed there.

    July 3, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  21. inofritzn

    Matter of time before all obumerbots come to their senses

    July 3, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  22. Jacqueline Campos

    Hello! Thank you Colin Powell what took you so long!

    July 3, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  23. R Wolf

    This Country is starving for changes to help the regular people such as health care, gay rights, abortion rights, clean energy, stem cell research, end of two wars, choice of Supreme Court justice, economic fixes and on and on and on. We were starved for eight years and so many are dying under the enormity of it all, so how do you expect our new President to just sit back and take his time? There's no time left. Thank God for President Obama and thank God for his courage, wisdom, and compassion. Can we just stop criticizing him and start supporting him.

    July 3, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  24. Lisa, Saugus MA

    I think this is very telling since most people Dem and Rep and Ind respect Colin Powell.

    I agree that the President is juggling too many balls in the air. Once one falls the others are going to as well. He needs to remember that he is human and yes he won the election and I understand him trying to get things done while he still have a high enough approval rating

    July 3, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  25. KG Texas

    With all due respect to Mr. Powell, the president does not seem to be listening. Neither does Pelosi, Reed, or any of the others that are helping the President bankrupt this nation. Mr. Powell needs to try harder if he can have any influence at all on this President before it is too late.

    July 3, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
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