July 28th, 2009
07:05 PM ET
5 years ago

Powell calls Palin a 'fascinating figure'

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said he has been subject to racial profiling.
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said he has been subject to racial profiling.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Tuesday that he has been the victim of racial profiling but believes Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. could have been more patient with the police officer who arrested him.

At the same time, Powell also faulted the Cambridge (Massachusetts) Police Department for escalating the situation beyond a reasonable level.

"I think Skip [Gates], perhaps in this instance, might have waited a while, come outside, talked to the officer and that might have been the end of it," Powell said in an interview with CNN's Larry King. "I think he should have reflected on whether or not this was the time to make that big a deal.

"I think in this case the situation was made much more difficult on the part of the Cambridge Police Department," Powell said. "Once they felt they had to bring Dr. Gates out of the house and to handcuff him, I would've thought at that point, some adult supervision would have stepped in and said 'OK look, it is his house. Let's not take this any further, take the handcuffs off, good night Dr. Gates.'"

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Filed under: Colin Powell • Larry King Live • Popular Posts • Rush Limbaugh • Sarah Palin
soundoff (307 Responses)
  1. SkiDoc

    Palin and Powell would be an unbeatable ticket!

    July 28, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  2. LKM

    I have to wonder about something here. If Prof Gates had been a white Jewish guy accused and arrested of disturbing the peace, and the arresting cop was black, would the president of the United States have gone on the national news complaining about racism in the ranks of black cops? Of course there is no such widespread thing happening in those ranks, and Obama would never make such an accusation, (NO president should) but if he would not do the same in those circumstances he is practicing "reverse racism" and deserves to be called on it.

    July 28, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  3. Larry S

    Some good and intelligent commens from Powell. Of course, the same can not be stated for the liberal haters that responded with their normal hatrid of people without their same beliefs. It is so great, that BO is still provided racial hatrid to keep the black people at the level that can be controled by the democrats. Racism has improved among the non-blacks, but is lagging behind with the black leaders.

    July 28, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  4. Jerry in Florida

    What a hypocrite! Powell should be booted from the Republican Party.

    He's an opportunist, not a true Republican.

    Yes, I am a life-long Democrat!

    July 28, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. Charlotte

    Hopefully Powell is just throwing a sop to the GOP by saying anything postive about Palin. He is a very intelligent man and he no doubt is capable of seeing that she is a very unintelligent woman. She has no place anywhere near the White House, or the Hill either, for that matter. Happily most Alaskans would think real hard about trusting her again with an elected position since she ran away from her latest one and left them hanging....and there aren't enough Americans who think highly enough of her to get her into the Oval Office.

    July 28, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. ron

    On the Palin thing, I think the reason why so many people don't like her (understatement) is because of her very devisive and damaging rhetoric during presidential campaign. It served absolutely no purpose but to further divide an already split electorate.

    People were screaming 'terrorist" and "kill him" at her rallies for God's sake.

    I will never be able to repsect anyone that does intentional harm to our country. A true leader would have known this to be wrong, and stood up against those in her campaign that suggested these actions.

    I truly belive any person that could still support her after this is as treasonous as she.

    July 28, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  7. lysh

    Powell is one of the most respected people in the world. As a Dem, I would vote for him in a second. The state of the GOP can be summarized by the fact that Cheney and Rush would rather not have this distinguished, irreplaceable person as a member of their party.

    July 28, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  8. Chut Pata

    LKM. If Prof. Gates had been a white Jewish guy, and the cop a black guy, he would not have been arrested. If he had, the officer would be fired and the police department sued to the last penny. There would have been no need for the president to get involved.

    July 28, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  9. bob

    Powell was being excessively nice to Palin here. Don't read too much into it.

    Powell is an intelligent person, but the Bush-Cheney administration put a major taint on him with the WMD speech at the UN. He'll never live that one down.

    July 28, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  10. Jon

    Gates may or may not be racist but no one has even raised the question. This was immediately the question asked of the officer and rightfully so but it should have been asked of both. A two way dialogue has not occured here as a result. Half a discussion will never resolve anything in real terms. Bias and racism need to be weeded out wherever they reside.

    July 28, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  11. Lynn

    Powell is just trying to get his 15 minutes of fame. First he won't admit that he voted for Obama because of race and now he is making excuses for his friend, Gates. Just like Obama did. Yes racism exists but now it is reverse and African Americans are the ones playing the race card over and over again.

    July 28, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  12. Mike

    Truth is, man, I'm getting sick and tired of everyone making excuses for Gates, especially my fellow African Americans. The man, supposedly a brilliant professor, revealed that he lives up to the very stereotypes that we should be seeking to destroy. His obvious lack of manners and blatant discourtesy, not to mention racism, is appalling. It is that kind of belligerence that gives all of us a bad name and perpetuates the sentiment among whites that they don't want to be anywhere near us. It continues the view that we are vulgar in our language and acts and that we dishonest in the things we do.

    The officer was doing his job, but because he was white, Gates lit into him which speaks both of Gates' doing "racial profiling" and being racist.

    Gates, get over it bro and start acting like the human being you wantto be accepted as.

    July 28, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. Jefe

    LKM, not the best example. If he had been a white Jewish guy, AIPAC and the ADL would have been kicking down the doors of the Capitol demanding a resolution of Congress to censure the entire police department. If he was a white male gentile, then he would be completely ignored.

    July 28, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. Dennis Orroton

    I'm sorry but I think the cop should of used a little more common sense. Think about it....who in the world would be breaking into a house wearing what Mr. Gates had on? I mean come on....be for real. The man is wearing khakis and a dress shirt?!?!? How many burglars fit that description!! And the fact he is an old man...not to say there are not any senior citizen burglars...but come on man!!!!!
    But the real kicker is that he was on cell phone call about being not able to get in?!?!?!? So I fail to see how he was overacting...the cop did not use good judgment (like most of them don't).

    July 28, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. Operation Crush Rush

    She could have her own show,just like Springer.hahaha

    July 28, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. Royster

    Palin is fascinating in that she she constantly hits her political head off of the wall......complains about it and the media, then does it again..and again.....now that IS fascinating! Then when it hurts too much...she quit. Also fascinating. Not credible......but fascinating.

    July 28, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  17. Bob

    Another bizarre headline by CNN. No where in that video does Mr. Powell mention Sarah Palin.

    July 28, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  18. UsMutts

    Sarah Palin is to Barack Obama as Will Ferrell is to Albert Einstein.

    July 28, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  19. Michael G

    Oh no! Say it isn't so Gen. Powell! Didn't this old General retire? And move out of the stoplight and then left the Republican Party for people like Senator McCain to run. I believe General Powell has had his chance to reshape the party and he blew it.

    Sincerely,

    A Retired SFC from the Army with an MBA in HRM.

    July 28, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  20. SGJ

    I hope this man runs for president. Obama shoudl be worried if he does.

    July 28, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. Working Class American

    I would respectfully disagree with General Powell on his point about Mr. Gates. I believe he had every reason to be upset with the treatment he was subjected to. Also, after listening to the 911 tape and the dispathers tape that has been released, it was clearly a case of false arrest on the part of Officer Crowley and clearly an abuse of police power whether it was racial profiling or not.

    And Sarah Palin is as "fascinating" as a train wreck!

    July 28, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  22. Debby

    Powell only comes out of his hole when there is controversy going on. I was so disappointed in him not supporting McCain, but its obvious why he didn't. I don't respect anything that comes out of this mans mouth anymore. This was a wasted interview but of course CNN adds fuel to the Gates fire by bringing him on.

    July 28, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  23. billp

    Palin is fascinating like a train wreck is fascinating.

    July 28, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  24. tom

    The GOP leaders Limbaugh and Cheney have already given him up as a democrat and we are proud to have him.

    July 28, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  25. How you like me now

    As a black man I love Mr. Powell

    But this just goes to show you that in order to be a respected black man you must be submissive and wait your turn to get the respect you rightfully deserve from a white man, till whenever the white man gets comfortable enough to give it to you.

    As a black male we shouldnt have to wait. We have waiting long enough.

    Even a black man in the highest office in the land has to measure the things he says about a police officer who was in the wrong.

    Bush never measured a thing and never apologized.

    July 28, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
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