May 24th, 2009
11:30 AM ET
14 years ago

Powell: 'I am still a Republican'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Powell and Limbaugh have been engaged in a war of words over the GOP's future."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Secretary of State Colin Powell struck back Sunday at critics of his decision to support Barack Obama's presidential candidacy last year.

Calling for his divided party to widen its ranks, Powell declared, "I am still a Republican."

In an appearance on CBS' Face the Nation, Powell responded to attacks from former Vice President Dick Cheney and talk show host Rush Limbaugh, saying they are "not members of the membership committee of the Republican Party."

"Rush will not get his wish, and Mr. Cheney was misinformed. I am still a Republican", he said. "I would like to point out that in the course of my 50 years of voting for presidents, I have voted for the person I thought was best qualified at that time to lead the nation. Last year, I thought it was President Barack Obama. For the previous 20 years, I voted solidly for Republican candidates."

Earlier this month on the same program, Cheney was asked about a dispute between Limbaugh and Powell over the role each plays in the GOP. "My take on it was Colin had already left the party. I didn't know he was still a Republican," Cheney responded.

Powell said Sunday that he didn't want to trade insults with Limbaugh, but that he thought it was "unfortunate" Limbaugh framed his support of Obama along racial lines.

Limbaugh, on his radio program, argued that Powell supported Obama "solely based on race."

Discussing divisions over the direction of the party in the wake of its losses in the 2006 midterm elections and 2008 presidential election, Powell said Sunday the party should expand its base.

"I have always felt that the Republican Party should be more inclusive than it generally has been over the years and I believe that we need a strong Republican Party that is not just anchored in the base but has built on the base to include more individuals. And if we don't do that, if we don't reach out more, the party is going to be sitting on a very, very narrow base," he told "Face the Nation."

Powell added, "Let's debate the future of the party and let all segments in… What we have to do is debate and define who we are and what we are, and not just listen to dictates that come down from the right wing of the party."

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soundoff (312 Responses)
  1. Dave

    I've read some of these and I have to say that Frank of the lone star state is WAY off the mark about the press. What about the way the press was run by the repubs and saying Gore only took pictures while he was in the service? He did his job instead of having daddy help him hide and then desert his obligation. and Kerry volunteered for hazardous duty instead of dodging the draft five times. Yes the press is favorable to repub only since they are owned by repubs. And they put fake reporters in the White House press pool just to make insulting comments, but since they can't get awya with it now they have to rely on a draft dodger who got out of service because he had an ingrown hair on his butt and when caught using drugs RAN to the ACLU for help. The repubs should be done away with and start a party that is truely Amwerican in values and service instead of cowardice and lies. Juts look at anything that comes out of Ann Coulters mouth, she would probably gag if she had to say one truthful thing.

    May 24, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  2. Brian

    "Notice how the headline the appears in the main page of reads "Cheney is Misinformed – Powell Says). And then the headline in this article says "Powell: I am still a Republican." This is typical of CNN since CNN is primarily anti-Republican. Who ever the architect of the headline is, it is clear that his goal was to mislead viewers of CNN into thinking that Cheney was wrong on national security, but it is really regarding party affiliation. You will be all glad to hear that HyperMedia Productions in Berkley, CA is producing a documentary on the bias that you see on CNN. It is expected to come out in two months."

    So... CNN should cater to the people who don't even click the link and read the title of the article, or even read the article?

    The title is a *direct quote* from Powell and says nothing of national security. Conservatives truly do see enemies everywhere; not a surprise since bullied children grow up to be conservatives.

    May 24, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  3. Former Republican Supporting Obama from Tennessee

    My firm disappointment over Powell's role in the build-up to the Iraq War aside, I still believe Powell is an honorable and honest man. He has more integrity in one his fingernail clippings than Rush and Cheney have in their entire bodies combined! Even though I am no longer a lifetime Republican, I am glad that Powell is standing by the party and refuses to allow Cheney or Rush to dictate where he should be. Both Cheney and Rush are cowards who have done nothing to lift this nation up. Powell is war hero and honorable public servant. I will ALWAYS accept Powell's word over anything vomit that spills from the mouth of Rush or Cheney.

    May 24, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  4. jim

    Limbaugh?? Who gives a crap what some Shock Jock says.

    May 24, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  5. Dave

    Colin Powell is a decent man, whom the republicans should look to as the type of leader for their party. Cheney, Rove, etc., are lying chickenhawks who will gladly send people to war as long as it is not them or theirs. Those that say that they are "passionate republicans" are just spouting the status quo for republicans. Please understand, republicans lost because the country does not follow your present ideology. Some republican concepts of ideology uber alles, does not include many, many people and needs to be rethought.

    May 24, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  6. Jacob

    The reason Rush said that Powell only voted for Obama is race is because none of Obama's stances- from tax, the role of government relative to lower income support, immigration, and foreign policy are representative of Powell's previously expressed views on the same subjects.

    I don't agree with Rush, but he makes a very good point in this argument that I have not heard refuted on any objective basis- if Powell doesn't agree, seemingly AT ALL, with Obama's perspectives why exactly did he endorse him?

    The only one providing an answer is Rush, and more and more it will be perceived as the credible one unless someone else provides the alternative

    May 24, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  7. Neil

    "most of you have little or know [sic] education....take some writing classes."

    that's hilarious.

    May 24, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  8. elana

    Whistle while you work, Republicans! Like the seven dwarfs, the Republican Party can't seem to bring itself to turn the corner from this daily useless speak and GET TO WORK! And is it any wonder???? Until Cheney, Steele, McCain, Palin, Rush Limbaugh, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and the WHOLE gang realize that UNTIL a muzzle is put on Cheney, Limbaugh and Steele, the GOP has NO chance to ever come back into any form of competition for the Democratic Party! Hold on to your seat belts! A BIG SWEEP of victories is on the table for the Democrats in 2010 as well as 2012! The American people are more intelligent than some may realize. They are sick and tired of hearing this same garbage over and over again! The GOP has become extinct!!

    May 24, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  9. Nate H

    I really don't understand why the GOP puts up with the likes of Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh. Especially Rush. Sure, Dick is annoying and comes off as divisive and opportunistic when he continually attacks the president, but Rush is worse. He is a walking, talking advertisement to NOT JOIN the Republican party. "Hey, look at me! I'm one of the most uncompromising, racist, belligerent, outspoken, spiteful, attacking people in the US! And I'm a Republican! Don't you want to join me?"

    The answer is NO. Powell is respected by everyone in the country, so to attack him (a member of their own party) just shows how far gone they are. Seriously – all Obama needs to do to get reelected in 4 years is to hold up signs of Rush and Cheney with a caption that says "You don't want this in the White House, do you?"

    May 24, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. jj

    Republicans don't have a monopoly on hate speech. Democrats have spewed bile towards Bush for years.

    May 24, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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