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. ladymary

    Altho I am not a republican, I would vote for Colin Powell in a New York City minute. He has integrity and honesty. I wish he would run for President.

    July 28, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  2. Hankers

    I find train wrecks facinating!

    July 28, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  3. Gerald

    I would have loved to see gen. Powell run for office , and that is coming from a fifty year old white guy. Have to say that voting for Obama really didn't sit well with me even though I would agree McCain was really to old. Palin on the other hand I totally connect with , she has common sense vs a group of pompus lawyers at the helm now.

    July 28, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  4. drman

    I have always liked C. Powell and thought he may at one time have become the 1st Af-Amer President. I lost so much respect for him when he addressed United Nations and World with LIES that led to Bush's 2 Wars.

    July 28, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  5. bam

    Trainwrecks ARE fascinating.

    July 28, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  6. Dave

    Palin is fascinating, in a way. So is (or was) Ozzy Osbourne, Marilyn Manson, Britney Spears, Anna Nicole Smith, Michael Jackson, and Gary Busey. And none of them belong in positions of governmental power, either.

    July 28, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  7. Keli

    Colin Powell would have made a great President. Wish we had him instead of the dufus we are stuck with!

    July 28, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. DJW

    Active Duty how did Prof Gates blow this up – he did not bring the TV camera's or MSN. It could have been settled if Crowley walked away and reported it correctly!!!!

    July 28, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  9. Proud Pagan in VA

    Colin Powell is the ONLY Republican I know of that I would vote for for POTUS in a heartbeat. ...that's probably because he's the only one I know of with a level head on his shoulders and the willingness to work for the PEOPLE, not for the PARTY.

    July 28, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  10. New Haven rez

    Good catch, Isaac. I too have great respect for Powell. He seems to be one of the most honest pols in D.C. And I'm very liberal, so my sentiments are certainly not party-based. If the GOP was more Powell-like it would not scare me. A 2-party system is vital for balanced legislation and rulings, but the GOP has become a party of hate and racism more than ever.

    July 28, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  11. Diogenes

    Fascinating??
    Colin's gone soft in the 'ead!
    (No 'ard feelings generalissimo!)

    July 28, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  12. Jeffer65

    The bulk of this article is Powell talking about Gates, but leave it to CNN is twist the headline to make it about Powell's thoughts on Sarah Palin.

    July 28, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  13. Michael Carr

    Powell is a divisive and polarizing figure in the Republican party and the wider onservative movement. Who can not believe that John McCain was the much vaunted 'moderate' GOP candidate, who in the view of the Powells, Frums and Brooks has the best chance in 2008. Rush Limbaugh railed against McCain? Yet it was Powell who stabbed McCain in the back, not Limbaugh. Piling on Governor Palin only showed his deep ignorance and hypocricy. If he had done his homework he would have known that Governor Paiin was a reformer, was elected Governor of Alaska with massive support from independents, and had governed pragmatically from the centre, with broad cross-party support. She had also, in spite of preceptions been striclly constitutional on issues such as Gay rights, and was moderate on issues such as climate and renewable energy. But Powell did not do his homework. Instead he betrayed the party that hasd advance his career. I am pretty sure that Governor Sarah does not appreciate his condesension, but being a very gracious lady can probably forgive it.

    July 28, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. Gerald

    Oh, please! Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party of today are irrelevant. The Republican Party of 1860 was LIBERAL and not Conservative. Remember Radical Republicans? The Conservative parties were the Whigs and the Democrats and the splinter in those two parties allowed the Republican Party to take on a more prominent role in national politics. The Republican Party began to change during Reconstruction because they realized the albatross they took on with "reconstructing" the South and the massive failure of the first big social welfare experiment known as the Freedman's Bureau. Read your history. Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party of yesteryear DOES NOT equal the Republican Party of today. Today Lincoln would have been a just left of center Democrat.

    July 28, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  15. Librarian

    I agree with General Powell. However the 911 transcript of the incident between Crowley and Gates indicates that the report filed by Crowley is inaccurate. In other words it was a false arrest.

    July 28, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  16. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    General, I agree with you on alot of things, but Sarah Palin an interesting figure? How about a disturbing figure.

    July 28, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  17. Just Me

    Finally! Someone with some common sense! It's good to have the sensible Powell back! The Gates arrest is a perfect example of too many people in society no longer taking responsibility for their actions. They yell at a cop, cause a disturbance and it's someone else's fault.

    July 28, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  18. Barry Obammy

    Palin is indeed highly fascinating and a breath of fresh air compared with all of the corrupt, racist and socialist Democrats trying to destroy our country. That is why they fear her and are trying to discredit her at every opportunity.

    The loons have every reason to be intimidated by her – she is really connecting across the US.

    July 28, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  19. dick delson

    Sarah Palin is a dummy. And quitting as Alaska's governor, did not help her chances of staying on the national scene.

    As for Rush Limbaugh, he needs to have his mouth washed out with soap. He is a loud mouth fat slob.

    July 28, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. Atlantan

    Colin Powell is a class act all the way. Wish he would run for the President.

    July 28, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  21. KLJ

    I agree Dr. Gates could have handled the situation differently. However, Sgt. Crowley could have also handled the situation differently. He is trained in how to handle irate citizens and it is clear Dr. Gates did not represent a deadly threat. the other officers could have stepped in to serve as cooler heads instead of becoming talking puppets.

    In the end, this is a situation were the mix of egos, race and class become combustible. Both parties share the blame.

    July 28, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. kask

    i have alot of respect for Mr. Powell. Always has the courage to speak his mind whether his opinion is popular or not. To bad that base would never endorse a black candidate for the republican party. Many have regrets in using Michael Steele's face to counter President Obama.

    July 28, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  23. Mark

    I agree with Melissa and seg and others ... Colin Powell would make a fine president.

    Notwithstanding the racism he has been exposed to throughout his life, he rose above it all to become National Security Advisor, chairman of the Joint Chief of Saff and Secretary of State. He has earned the respect of Americans and citizens of every country.

    Unlike the younger and racially polarized Obama, Powell I believe has achieved a level of racial maturity ... where he could be president for all Americans. He has my vote ... any day!

    July 28, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  24. Peace

    You are quite right Colin Powell, Palin will start a new life in a wonderful world of speaking. By quitting her job, she has cut off the major qualification of being a reliable and respectful politician!

    July 28, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  25. RB NH

    Isn't it funny how CNN used the the tiny Palin quote as the lead to a story about Gates.

    CNN has become the worst of the tabloid news morons.

    Yes, I know you won't print this.

    July 28, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
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