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. steve h

    General Powell is the best. The true "Base" of the New Republican Party is not the hard right crowd, but the fiscally conservative, socially center-right audience – who, I believe, Nixon coined the term The Silent Majoirty

    July 28, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. Doug, New Jersey

    "I like Powell, but how can we trust the republican party when it wont stand up to the nutcases in its ranks. By nutcases I am talking about Limbaugh, the Birthers and the rest of the nuts that spout hateful rhetoric."

    Ha ha, yeah, the comments from ever Democrat on Palin is not hateful rhetoric but Limbaugh speaking the truth and just being factual is, oh just so this gets posted, cnn will not post this, LOL-LIBS!

    July 28, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. Bertin Evina-Ze

    General Powell is right, Pr Gates could have more patient with a police office who clearly showed abuse of power. You just don't arrest someone who could be your dad without making sure he is not a felon. Yes it was a race issue, but most of it was an abuse of power. You don't arrest someone just because he says something about your mama. The policeman completely lacked common sense and good judgement. It was really stupid of him to act that way.

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

    The "CNN Palin Ticker" ladies and gents.....

    July 28, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. Bob of Lompoc

    No No No ! You are wrong Powell. No middle to older aged, cane using, white male, in his own home, would have ever been treated in this manner, even if he DID smart off to the Cops. What ? It is illegal in America to smart off to cops ? This is an arrest "crime". The Cops, empowered by what followed the 09/11 attacks, such as the "Patriot" act, multiple TV cops shows in which police are depicted shoving around normal American citizens at will, Judicial support of various violations of basic American rights, never ending Republican drum beats that "they" are out to get "us" and only the Cops can protect "us", and that same Party's blind support of the Cops, no matter what they do, have taken on a "we can't do anything wrong attitude", and many a walking zombie American has approved. Jesus God Almighty, what has happened to my Country ?

    July 28, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. jaye

    Palin was fascinating? ....so was Hitler. And we all know how that ended.

    July 28, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. Kevin in Ohio

    Palin is definitely fascinating..... by being just a normal, regular person, she has threatened all that the left wing radicals hold dear. They are scared of her and have gone out of their way to crucifying a perfectly decent person. By doing so, they have shown their true colors... the Party of Hate.

    July 28, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  8. usualone

    As much as many may have not liked Jimmy Carter's presidency - as being weak, etc., peace has survived between Egypt and Israel for quite a few years. Mr. Carter really had lots to do with that. Give him credit.

    July 28, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  9. Marjorie

    Exactly! Prof. Gates was tired and Officer Crowley felt challenged. End of story. One haunting question; Why the discrepancy in the police report??!!

    July 28, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. emorep

    The officers, who are held to a higher standard by the nature of their job, should also have used more restraint and better judgement. First of all, disturbing the peace of an officer while inside of one's own home is ridiculous. Take note that there were no other charges and the D.A.'s office didn't file. Secondly, not only was Gates in his own home, but he also showed the officers identification. Thirdly, there was no reason to instruct Gates to exit his residence. The disturbance charge was a misdemeanor. The officers could have cited and released Gates on the spot. The officers made an attitude arrest, plain and simple. Secondly, there was no reason to physically take Gates into custody.

    July 28, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  11. Louis

    POWELL HAS ZERO CREDIBILITY–after prostituting himself at the U.N. by parrotting Bush propaganda in the runup to the Iraq war, Colin Powell should be apoligizing to the families of the 4,000+ soldiers who died in an unnecessary war.

    July 28, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. Ha Ha Ha

    Ha Ha Ha......

    Palin is a 'fascinating figure'..... Ha Ha Ha......

    The first day she was introduced by McCain as his V.P. Pick......

    Palin walked on stage with all her Baggage and Paraphernalia.....

    Ha Ha Ha..... Palin Walked on Stage with her Kids, Like a Duck followed by Ducklings...... :)

    Palin herself exposed her kids and privacy to media and now blames the media...... Ha Ha Ha Ha

    Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

    What a Mockery...... Ha Ha Ha Ha.......

    What a Joke...... Ha Ha Ha Ha.....
    :P :)

    July 28, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. David, Chicago, IL

    Train wrecks are fascinating, as are car wrecks. Witness all the traffic backups as 'gapers block' takes hold when there are car wrecks on the highway.

    But I don't want any of those drivers to be my President!

    July 28, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  14. Big Al

    Sorry to disappoint a bunch of folks here, but Powell is not the voice of the Republican Party. The base has had enough of this turncoat. His vote for Obama in 2008 spelled the end of his Republican ties.

    Third party candiate? Maybe, but certainly not a part of the Republican ticket.

    July 28, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. pb

    For the person who thinks that the public likes Palin, look at the percentage of people who are critical of her intellect and ability as a leader compared to those who thinks she's qualified to become an elected official. She would only be effective as a talk show host or a personality. She does not know enough to govern a state bigger than Alaska. Her speeches are so gibberish and nonsensical that most people don't have a clue of what she is saying...including Ms. Palin! What really scares the dickens out of most people (based on their comments) is that 1) she has no idea she is stupid and 2) the people who thinks she is awesome tells you a little about how crazy we have become. Be honest with yourselves...now do you really think that Sarah Palin makes sense? Sense enough to lead someone?

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

    Americans have short memory. This Veneral Powell led America to the stupid war against Iraq and no one is saying anything about it. He stood their with those stupid graphs and led young men and women into war–why he was securing lucrative job for him dumb son,

    As for Sarah Palin, if you don't like her why do you keep featuring her. Ratings? That lady is a star, visionary–and our next president. Someone bigger than us is watching!!

    July 28, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  17. Patriot from ATL GA

    Powell, you will not make it up to Rebulicans for voting for Obama by calling Palin fascinating. Nice try, but it won't work. Also, you didn't mention that the Sgt might have been having a bad day as well. Most officers wouldn't have drug a man out of his own home under those circumstances. Nothing wrong with a healthy debate, but please be fair.

    July 28, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  18. Janice

    The only negative comment I would have for Gen Powell is that the audio of the officers talking with Prof. Gates don't really tell if he was irritated or not. You have only the arrest report and that doesn't show any crime. Yelling as long as there are no threats is not a crime. Would it have been better if he hadn't gotten mad in terms of not getting the officer's backside up – yes – but that doesn't mean the officer had the basis for an arrest.

    The officer could have walked away and lamented with his buddies about the mean man that lived at that address and left it at that also. He had choices also. So why isn't he blamed for losing his cool? And he had no basis to do anything else but leave. That's why the charges had to be ultimately dropped because no crime had taken place. Yelling isn't a crime. Gates could sue for false arrest if he wanted to and likely win. He's showing restraint in my view by agreeing to meet with the officer. Not many people who were falsely arrested would.

    July 28, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. dan

    It is truly fascinating and scary that such a large number of commentors here think that the Sarah Palin they know, as introducted by the media, is so much worse than the Sarah Palin that Colin Powell knows. Did any of you ever consider that Colin Powell may have actually met and talked with the woman. His opinion may be much better informed than any of you can possibly imagine.

    All of you that seem so smart and informed in your opinions about Palin and Powell really come off as a bunch or stupid, liberal haters.

    July 28, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. Mary

    Well I guess I like you again Colin Powell – since you are being nice to Gov. Palin!!!

    July 28, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. Uncle Ellsworthy

    It really isn't important what you hatefull Libs think of Sarah Palin. You wouldn't vote for her anyway so you don't count not one bit. Your just scared out of your skin, otherwise why read and comment about every word written about her. You give your own insecurities away. You want to talk about somebody dumb, look at you own Vice President. He makes a gaff a minute and yet you say nothing. Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

    July 28, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  22. Renel C

    The repugs would bash Powell in a heartbeat. They prefer Rush limbaugh who claim himself to be patriotic but deferred the draft because of a friggin' hemorrhoid. Powell who served his county all his adult life is nothing to the repugs. They would support a draft dodging, coward, blabber mouth than a true american patriot. These repugs are a joke

    July 28, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  23. Russell, NC

    Gates should apologize to the officer. The officer was only doing his job. There was no evidence if racial profiling.

    July 28, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  24. Jim

    Colin should call her what she is – a lousy quitter.

    I really do hope the RNC nominates Palin, that will be the last straw to break the vestiges of this lost group of right-wing-nuts, Palin runs and Obama will get 75% of the popular vote, that's all the Democrats and about 50% of the Republicans, assuming her numbers go up with Republican voters.

    I can't wait fir the next cycle, there won't be enough crying towels to go around...for the Republicans.

    July 28, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  25. Doug, New Jersey

    "It is interesting to watch the media, celebrities, morning shows and nighttime shows all gang up on Sarah Palin. All I want to know is what has she done to have folks so upset? What?????!!!!???"

    She is a strong moral, ethical woman who has a ton of integrity, in other words the opposite of a Democrat. She stands for everything that has made this nation great. She is fair, and objective, a true believer in all freedoms and rights given to us by our founding fathers for all Americans. She is the anti-lib.

    Those who have read/watched the lib hate directed at Palin cannot plead ignorance as their excuse for supporting Democrats. You know what the Democratic party really stands for and to support it is to prove that only evil consumes you.

    July 28, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
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