(CNN) - I love the conversation with General Powell just because he knows so much about so many aspects of the world and of the country. He’s fluent in domestic policy, he’s fluent in foreign policy, and he advises the president. And I think you get a real good sense of where things stand from him. He’s a republican who voted for President Obama, so he was also a good one to talk about tone.
What struck me I think about what he said was A) he doesn’t want a position in the Obama administration. He said he really prefers to be the guy giving advice from the outside without the president thinking he “wants” anything. B) is that he’s not committed to voting for President Obama in 2012, although he did say that he hadn’t seen anyone in the republican field – remember, this is a registered republican – who has struck his fancy quiet yet. I thought it was really interesting on China, a place he knows really well, just saying, you know, we have spent 40 years being engaged with China. It’s not going to change. It has problems of its own, there are certainly things we can do to make it better, and we have moved that relationship, but let’s not expect they’re suddenly going to be the purveyors of human rights and a number of other things we’d like them to change on. I thought he was also interesting on Afghanistan, where he said there has been some backtracking there. Wouldn’t say whether he thought July 31st, which is when the president wants to start withdrawing troops, would be a time when he actually could withdraw troops. So clearly there are still problems over there, and this is obviously a man who would know.
I loved Richard Norton Smith, our historian, simply because two great speeches, one from Dwight Eisenhower, one from JFK, it was JFK’s inaugural, Dwight Eisenhower’s farewell, both with huge significance for today. So I think it’s always fun to bring in somebody with the long view… and 50 years is pretty long… and sort of look at politics today through the eyes of some of these speeches that have stood the test of time.
And, you know, I always love the political panel - today, with Michael Gerson and Paul Begala, because we got to talk about the New Hampshire straw poll which means, guess what?? Presidential season has started. Thanks guys.
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