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. Chris in SC

    Hand what to her? A medal for her tabloid appeal?

    July 28, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  2. Ben in Texas

    Powell represents the old GOP. Dignified, a little stodgy, intellectual, a worthy opponent. Limbaugh represents the "Gingrich on acid" GOP. Most people could find common ground with Powell, but only a loony could agree with Rush.

    July 28, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  3. Thanks

    I'm glad Colin Powell stated what needed to be said about Gates. He should have cooperated and it would have been the end of it. It's amazing how many people are searching for anything to turn this into a racially driven incident instead of a officer trying to do his job and a man who tried to make his life hell. Was he being racist, or was Gates trying to provoke him into responding in a manner that would validate his own feelings that the officer was a racist? Or in the words of Rambo, "He drew first blood".

    As for Palin. I think she realized she looked miserable as a governor and everything she did was subject to public scrutiny. She's not interested in doing more for Alaska. She's trying to avoid having to give access to information regarding what she's up to and avoid a scandal before she can make another run at the Oval Office. Nothing more.... Nothing less. Nothing she's done has been for anyone but Sarah.

    July 28, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  4. Mike

    From a right-winger, Mr. Powell is a class act and always has been. I honestly wish he had ran for president....we wouldn't be in this mess now.

    Speaking of "mess: does anyone know who might be running against Pelosi in 2010...I'd like to send them some money.

    July 28, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  5. Mark

    Whats the fascination with Palin CNN? I think she is not going to be a candidate for VP or Pres. ever. Also on Powell he is a great man and a kind man but the lunatic liberals so more hateful thinks about Palins children and others than anyone else. I have not heard Rush in a while but have never heard him attack someones kids. Thats just okay if you are a scumback liberal who can hide behind a screen name.

    July 28, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  6. Mark in Miami

    Good of Powell for admitting the fascination of Sarah Palin. Powell, too, is fascinating. His support of Obama has weakened greatly since his early endorsement for president.

    July 28, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  7. pfitz

    "fascinating" Powell said that. Of coarse he said alot of stuff infront of the UN that he didn't believe. So maybe this is his way of getting back into the REP. good graces. Or maybe hes just getting OLD!

    July 28, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  8. RealityKing

    Gates was acting the fool, plain and simple. And no, there is no excuse for that..., especially with a stupid cop.

    July 28, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. Carole

    I adore and admire General Colin Powell.

    Lest we not forget, he decided to vote for President Obama after Palin started to spew the hatred.

    General Powell knows that every race, color and creed puts on the uniform. So if you can die for this country, why can't you be President? But let's ask the Birthers on this one. The American Indians and Mexicans may want their country back considering we are all merely guest in this country.

    July 28, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. GaVoter

    Powell is 10 times the man Gates will ever be.

    July 28, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  11. Travis In Colorado

    I'm very glad to hear that Mr. Powell didn't automatically side with Gates in this matter. Powell has demonstrated that he is capable of seeing both sides of an issue and coming to a decision after that. He doesn't rush into anything and speaking out of turn. I have great respect for the man and his many accomplishments. As a young white republican, I do also have to say that Rush Limbaugh isn't the head of the Republican Party, Michael Steele is. And I don't listen to half of what Limbaugh says about anything. I still wish that Powell would have been the first black president, not because he is a republican, but because he is so qualified, he has done such a great job in his many endeavors. He is respected around the world. Not like the fool that's in the white house now. God help us!

    July 28, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  12. jack in denver

    Kinda like cancer is fascinating

    July 28, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  13. Mitch

    What in the world could you possibly find "fascinating" with a complete and utter moron like Palin? What, did you miss Dan Quayle that much?

    July 28, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. Due Notice

    Once the victim has given the officer, his state I.d. and his work I.D,, in his home, then in an instant, the officer can see and verify that he is the legal occupant of that home. it is at that exact time, the officer had no other duty in that home. He was to have given that citizen his I.D. back, and leave that house. There was no need, legal or otherwise, to remain in that home. With technology and radio technology, the officer could have/ and should have, verified that i.d. to the address by dispatch, then simply leave.
    His failure to leave, once those valid identification was give to him, shows that he was the one caught up, in emotionalism.

    I have yet to see anyone, state the obvious: that once he got his i.d., and saw that it reflected the address he was standing in, the officer should have left.

    period.

    July 28, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  15. carol522

    Seems like Gen. Powell is one of the few Republicans who actually has something worthy to say these days.

    July 28, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  16. Jeremiah Ricks

    Come on!!! Everybody know wat this is another case were the police make a bad judgement and then force there badge when there proved wrong and forgiven for putting a person through humilation the president was correct in his choice of word "STUPIDLY"

    July 28, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  17. Linda

    I think Powell hit this one right on when speaking about Gates. I am not a police fan, but think that Crowley was just doing his job to make sure that Mr. Gates house was indeed secure. Professor Gates over reacted. That would not have been so bad (he must have been really tired), but he continued for days to give interviews bad mouthing Sgt. Crowley, when he should have just said "I was tired- I overreacted". Maybe after a beer with OB he will be able to apologize for continue to rant days after it was clear that no racial profiling was done.

    July 28, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  18. Here Endeth The Lesson

    Maybe by hearing this comment from this least-threatening of black men, Colin Powell, some white people will realize that African Americans are not profiled because of any behavior that they exhibit but rather because of prejudices that others hold.

    I can't imagine that most white parents felt the need to raise their sons on this "lesson".

    "When you're faced with an officer who is trying to do his job and get to the bottom of something this is not the time to get in an argument with him."

    Professor Gates' mistake was that he thought that he had "arrived" to the point where he could act like a white man with the police. The teachable momement is that he, nor any other black man, has reached that status.

    I'm just not sure who we want to learn and act on the lesson ... the black men .... or the police.

    July 28, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  19. sms29s

    I am a Democrat, but I agree that Powell is a great man. Even Cheney and Limbaugh cannot tarnish his image. It must cause them great chagrin to be so out-classed.

    July 28, 2009 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  20. Barry NiFong, Hawaii

    Palin is going to make big bucks writing about McCain and his group of jokers.

    July 28, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  21. Henry Miller

    Like, apparently, all neo-cons, Rush Limbaugh is a superstitious, authoritarian, paranoiac. I'll reconsider the Republican Party when it sends the neo-cons packing and goes back to the small-government, fiscally responsible, party it used to be.

    July 28, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  22. White male DEMOCRAT

    I am just about over using CNN as a source of news. So, he says, after a long litany on a much more important topic, one small comment about Palin. And, she is fascinating, in the same way that reality shows and train wrecks are. You want to but you can't look away. She is the lowest common denominator. And this is your headline. Instead of focusing on a topic that it is time to address, race! Here you are talking to a brilliant American who happens to be black and he is speaking on a very important issue and you gloss right over it. So, the headline is entirely misleading. Why don't you all take a look at Walter Cronkite's old tapes and realize you have a responsiblity to society. We already have FOX news. Can you please be the adults in our discourse? Thanks.

    July 28, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  23. KK

    Common sense always prevail. Gates is not great man. Gen. Powell is.

    July 28, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  24. GOP - Party of Ignorance and Obstructionism!

    Fascinating? I have alot of other selective words I could call this airhead of a human being! Palin is a frekkin joke! I wouldn't trust her running my household let alone this country! she's as sharp as a plastic knife!

    July 28, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  25. Hello???

    Did anyone hear the 911 call? This lady did not say the things that Sgt. Crowley wrote in his report. He is a liar and blew this up. He knew who lived in the house and called for more police cars. Dr. Gates had every right to be upset. I deal with racial profiling as a professional African American woman all of the time. I will not tolerate that behavior in my home from anyone at anytime. Home is where I get away from the world.

    July 28, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
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