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. landshark

    About Mr. Gates, Mr. Powell is correct. As always Mr./General Powell is the gentlemen. Mrs. Palin isn't fascinating at all.

    Just being foolish enough to get into the news don't make you fascinating. Billy Bob and Jim Carter, Sarah Palin and John McCain.

    What is fascinating to me is. How does a whole experinced camp of republican political machine come up with her??? This has got to go down in history as one of the worst political screw ups of all times!

    20 years from now people will still be laughting........4col

    July 28, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  2. J.P.

    Love her or hate her liberals... doesn't matter, because the writing is on the wall and Obama will beget Palin.

    Barack Obama may be a genuinely good man and an all-around nice guy. But his policies are destined to fail. These things have all been tried before. If you doubt me, research "Jimmy Carter."

    Obama's policies and their pending devastating economic effects will ensure he goes down in history as an even bigger economic-illiterate and all-around presidential failure than Jimmy Carter. His presidency will lower the bar so far, and tarnish the Democrat brand so badly, he will essentially pave the path for the equally-unqualified Palin as president.

    July 28, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. Steve in Kentucky

    Well, as usual, Gen. Powell shows that he is among the VERY few "reality-based" Republicans. He calls it as it is, not as it would be in some right-wing fantasy world, which is where most Republicans live.

    I would add that Palin is indeed fascinating - in the same way an infestation of rats is fascinating. Revolting but strangely ... fascinating.

    July 28, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  4. Dan

    Mr. Powell:

    You are in the wrong party. Your thoughts and view sound rational. Your argument on an issue are prudent and not based upon the Republican party ideology. Republican party is all about irrationality and non-sense.

    Democratic party is the right party for rational people like you.

    Republican party is Defunct and Bunch of Duds.

    Sotomayor is going to be the new Supreme Court Judge and the Republicans are disgruntled and desperate about it.

    Well, I would just want to tell the Republicans, that their days are over. They are all done, over, finished. Now onwards in America it will happen the way we Democrats want it to happen. Gone are the days for the GOP idiocy, dominance and dictatorship.

    If the GOP does not like it, they can have their passports and leave. Bye Bye. :P

    July 28, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  5. welches, Oregon

    yea, just like watching a train wreck is fascinating.....

    Powell would not run against Obama – you all know that.

    The black people of America have got to understand one thing – although Obama is OUR POTUS, that does not give the black people a right to lord it over everybody else – this is what I've been seeing...the black people (whom I completely respect) are trying to act toward white people, the way they were treated in Jim Crowe era....why can't we all just get along.. The first time you look sideways at a black person they cry "Racist!" I've experienced this first hand a few times recently.

    July 28, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. Sarah, Northern Colorado

    This is a man who has his head on his shoulders correctly, and he'd make an amazing president. Unfortunately for us, he's way too smart to even consider running.

    July 28, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. Ron in NC

    I admire Colin Powell, although with his education and smarts, am somewhat surprised that he thinks Palin is fascinating. What? Fascinating that someone so stupid and ignorant could gain such a cult following, when their are bright and articulate leaders like Powell and Romney. As for Limbaugh, it is scary to me that so many republicans listen to a talk radio show host who attended college for one semester. Basically, right wingers have been duped into believing that the uneducated and those who don't know anything about history or economics, since they haven't studied those subjects, have the right answer. No wonder bush and his cronies left this country on the verge of collapse.

    July 28, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  8. JA/TN

    yeah, all he see is a PYT, it is caqlled John McCain syndrome

    July 28, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  9. political junkie

    RUSH LIMBUG HAS A BIG MICROPHONE, that's why the party of no is scared of him!!

    Colin Powell does not have to put up with his non-sense, as Rachel Maddow pointed out, who built this country!!!!

    July 28, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  10. rb

    Gates JR., King JR, Jessie Jackson JR. Ever wonder why so many blacks feel the need to pointedly express that they are a JUNIOR. Because in the black community its sign of royalty to let others know that you actually know who your daddy is. And for Martin King the third well, He is definitely the top of royalty in the black community because not only does he know who his daddy is but he also knows his grand daddy.

    July 28, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  11. Joshua

    Dem are scared of Sarah Palin the way you attack her every minute. You have no problem with a nonnatural born Kenyan in the white house (NO BIRTH CERTIFICATE NOT MY PRESIDENT!!!!!!) but you go nuts over a brilliant woman with strong views. We need one of our own kind in the White house! SARAH PALIN! 2010 if HUSSEIN USURPER can be THROWN OUT or 2012 FOR SURE!!

    July 28, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  12. Mike

    I love the random comments from republicans about how Palin was railroaded by the press or that Powell should be in the white house. How does it feel to be marginalized? We are going to enjoy ramming legislation down your throats for the next eight years! If you don't like it seceed from the nation you fascists!

    July 28, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  13. Ancient Texan

    I notice many comments here about Sarah Palin not being "very bright". Have any of you listened to ANYTHING that Joe Biden has been saying for the last 6 months? Palin absolutley scares the libs. otherwise they would just ignore her.

    July 28, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  14. FlyingGirl44

    Both parties need level-headed thinkers like General Powell. I vote dem, but I respect him and listen closely to his opinions because I know they're based on principle, not politics.

    I believe he means that Gov. Palin is fascinating in the sense that we continue to watch her no matter how we feel about her. Everyone responding to this post went to a headline with her name in it. That's what he's talking about.

    July 28, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  15. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Most train wrecks are just that – fascinating!!!

    July 28, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  16. Fuzzbee in LA

    Colin Powell is reasonable, smart, thoughtful and he doesn't demonize those who he disagrees with. In other words, he is everything the Republican party seems to be flailing wildly to distance themselves from. When the "acceptable" voices of your party are certified nutbags like Coulter, Limbaugh, Cheney and Palin, you are no longer a political party – you're a zoo!

    July 28, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  17. renobill

    Powell's a mainstream guy with brains. Thank God the Repukes are to stupid, and racist to use him. If they ever did we Libs might be in trouble.

    July 28, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  18. Doug, New Jersey

    Palin makes Democrats show who they really are. You just have to read the lib reactions to her to see that there is no one in America outside of the ignorant who vote Democrat who have a good heart and are decent, honest people.

    July 28, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  19. Ken in NC

    I am a Democrat that has voted both Dem. and Rep. in Presidential races and I would have voted for Gen. Powell in a heartbeat. He is a level headed man with great values.

    July 28, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  20. calvin

    this matter should of not made nation headlines.local law enforcement and goverment should had the only say in the matter.
    now with the press help it a world wide problem. both side were wrong.the police for over reaction and mr gates for doing the same.
    two wrong do not make a right. stop using the big R for every thing . black people and white people have all ben profiled at times. the more we make of this the wrose it will be come. some black people blame all white for 400 years of history of slavery. they think we as white people should pay them for the way they were treated. when in fact there owner people were the one who sold them out.

    July 28, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  21. melody

    Well, I was looking forward to this interview, but I won't be watching. Thanks CNN for the preview. Last fall, Mr. Powell stated that Palin was divisive, and now he calls her a "fascinating figure." So we all should forget, the Clan Rallies ginned up by Sarah.

    Mr. Powell, I respected you because you were the only level headed republican, but now this back peddling is really bothersome. I assume you met with Michael Steele so the repubican party will gain minority votes. Good luck with that.

    July 28, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  22. BROADWAY Mike

    Speaking of Michael Vick..... The thought of allowing him back into the NFL and the NFL allowing and supporting the reinstatement (with qualifiers?) MAKES MY SKIN CRAWL. To the youth of the world – be not responsible for your actions...because if you can dribble-run-pass-hit-field-catch or WHATEVER....as long as there's money to be made you'll have a job.

    July 28, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  23. michelle

    Palin being "fascinating" should not be taken out of context – "Great" didn't mean "good" when Min. Farakkhan made his comment so do not take Powell's comment to mean "good."

    For all of the reasons Powell mentioned above are the very reasons having an 'attitude' shouldn't equal arrest.

    Abuse of power by the police – no question

    July 28, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  24. Kevin Nelson

    He is a gentleman.
    Jack, who cares about Palin?

    July 28, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  25. Larry

    Fascinating, for sure! And entertaining.

    July 28, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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