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. matt

    Obama is a corrupt president who couldn't fix his own state of Illinois Palin can't be worse than him

    July 28, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  2. Jim

    Would have been a GREAT President!

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

    Once, there were many moderate Republicans like Gen. Powell. I would be one, too. However the Republican Party has been taken over by intolerant, bible thumping, "conservative" wackos. Moderates are stranded with fools on the left and idiots on the right.

    July 28, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Clearly more deserving of the White House than the current occupant.

    July 28, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. Expat American

    Sarah Palin is a fascinating figure; in a very sad way.

    She is fascinating in the way that she represents and encourages the racial and religious bigotry that her 'Christian Conservative' supporters still hold dear in 2009.

    She is fascinating in the way that how the rest of the educated world sees the Right Christian Conservative movement in the United States remains spot on.

    July 28, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  6. Robert Britt

    Powell is strong, fiscally conservative, open, thinking, willing to speak his mind, and a national presence. He should be the voice of the Republican Party.

    It's disgusting how Rush's voice seems to cause party leaders to quake in their shoes. He panders to the lowest denominator and unfortunately that's true of most of the Republican leadership at this point. Makes me have second thoughts about my decision many years ago to be a member of that party.

    July 28, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. SMP

    I'm amazed that a man who is as intelligent as Mr. Powell cannot see through Sarah Palin and see her for what she truly is. There's nothing fascinating about being stupid, bigoted, and uninformed.

    July 28, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  8. Alex

    When did it become a law that we have to stroke police officers' egos at every possible opportunity?!?!

    Thanks for the great UN presentation Colin, what a "fine American"! Why do you insist on given all these Bush administration war criminals a forum CNN??

    July 28, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. Duck Fallas

    She has a fascinating figure, alright.

    Best thing to happen to the Democratic Party since Rose started pushing out puppies.

    Palin-Bachmann 2012

    July 28, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. RAG

    Colin Powell certainly comes off as a thinking, informed and ethical person, but I can only credit those first two qualities. He has demonstrated his lack of ethics on numerous occasions.

    We now know that he knew the 'facts' in his WMD speach at the UN were questionable at best, yet he still gave it. – just like he was ordered to do. He was also the initial chief investigator for the My Lai 4 massacre. His report stated that nothing illegal happened, just like he was ordered to report.

    There is a pattern here.

    July 28, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  11. dan

    Colin Powell oozes leadership and statesmanship. I've got a lot of respect for what he has to say.

    July 28, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  12. Bill

    How is a winning strategy nominating a guy that you don't agree with 40% of the time. We tried that with McCain and lost to O'Bummer. We need to revive Reagan, cure his Alzhimer's with adult stem cells and change the constitution to allow for more then 2 terms.

    Short of that bring on Newt!!

    July 28, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  13. Nathan

    How can Powell be so rational on Gates and so irrational on Palin. There is nothing fascinating about that woman that would warrant any attention outside our reality TV society that we live in. She is a sign of our time where substance is irrelevent to becoming a star. Back when what you thought and what you said meant something she would be someone who would not have gotten past first base.

    July 28, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  14. Wishawna

    Fascinating isn't exactly a compliment... Watching a monkey drive a car off a cliff is "fascinating" too, but that doesn't mean I want to see that.

    July 28, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  15. zero

    Powell is the man who should be in the white house.

    July 28, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. Concerned American

    The media is so scared of ex-governor Palin that they keep on
    lying to the public about her to make her look bad; however, the
    media should go back to school & learn the correct method of
    announcements which is "fact not fiction"!! Also, Davis Letterman
    is a disgrace..Just imagine if what he said about Governor Palin's
    daughters was directed to Obama's daughters...he probably would
    no longer be on TV. Media wake up because the public likes
    Sarah Palin, and, she is not going away!

    July 28, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  17. CG

    I am a Dem that loves Powell and would have loved to see him run for office, He at least uses his head more than a hat rack, and when he sees wrong admits it ....not so with other Repubs in the limelight, and they end up looking like bigots . How anyone can listen to Rush and thoes of his class is beyond me . They preach they have all the morals values but in so doing are very much the people with the beam in their own eye but only see the speck in others... They need a real attitide adjustment and some like Powell realize this. I will watch him on LKL.

    July 28, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. OldUncleTom

    Difficult not to admire Gen Powell, for both wisdom and fortitude. He may well be the only respectable voice left in the GOP, which may explain why they keep trying to force him out.

    As for Limbaugh and his supporters... nothing really to say, other than that they are a danger to society. Fortunately, they are few.

    July 28, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  19. Max

    The Republican Party would gain a lot more credibility if they had more people like Mr. Powell. Instead they are mired down with cartoon characters like Limbaugh, Coulter, and the rest. As long as you have a hypocritical drug addicted blowhard as the driving force behind your party, the party will attract only the fringe.

    July 28, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  20. Bill

    The only good puppies that Rose pushed out got shot. And Jack cut taxes and tried to stand up to communism. Sounds like the first coming of Reagan.

    July 28, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  21. Terry from Texas

    I remember attending a party in the sixties. A female friend told us this riddle.

    "A father and his child were in an automobile accident. The father was killed and the child was seriously injured. The child was brought to the emergency room where a physician was waiting to perform life-saving surgery. The surgeon looked at the patient and said, 'I can't operate on this boy. He's my son!'"

    The question was: how is this possible? For an hour, we all made suggestions. The man who was killed was the stepfather and the surgeon was the biological father. The man who was killed was a priest, not really the "father" of the child; the surgeon was the real father. Etc. Etc.

    No one, including me – back then – suggested that the surgeon was the child's MOTHER. That is profiling.

    When my friend said, "The surgeon is the child's mother," all of the men in the room said, "That's stupid."

    July 28, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. amy l

    It is too bad Powell didn't show this much integrity when he helped Bush lead us into a disastrous war based on lies.

    July 28, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  23. Prezzy Junior

    Sarah Palin is a wonderful gift to comedians. So..we we'll always love to have her around. And what more would Democrats want from the Republican party than a polarizing figure like Limbour, who is the reason for their party unpopularity.

    July 28, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  24. Ruty

    I have always respected Colin Powell's opinions in the past but he has gotten this one wrong. I am disappointed and surprised that he even commented on this woman.

    July 28, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  25. Four and The Door

    Palin-Powell 2012! This would be a winning team. Of course, they would have their work cut out for them undoing the bloated empire of a government Obama-Biden built up and probably a 15% unemployment rate once the Stimulus kicks in, but these are both level-headed practical people.

    July 28, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
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