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."

Filed under: Colin Powell • Popular Posts
soundoff (312 Responses)
  1. Manuel TX

    Powell testified before the U.N. that Iraq had WMDs.

    Why did he do that?


    May 24, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. richard

    Cheney, Palin, Rove, Limbaugh, and the Bish clan need to start their own loony party devoted to fear-mongering, paranoia, and their pet social issues.

    Take a look at those names ex Bush Sr. They spent so much time telling you what heroic patriots they were. Compare their records of service to the country with Powell. Imagine these guys on the battlefield. They would have been an extra burden on us soldiers.

    May 24, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Hey F-Bomb Thrower:

    The Republican Party "made" Colin Powell? Right. . . never mind the decades he spent in the U.S. Military serving this country.

    "When they needed him most, he tucked his tail between his legs and ran. . . " Wow, you have some real priority issues about when a person is most needed. Again, I refer you to his decades of serving this country in the military. Wouned in Viet Nam by a punji stake, yet when he healed he returned for another tour. But he refused to blindly tow the line for the political hacks, so that makes him a coward. You right wing extremists are amazing when it comes to what you deem important.

    You are as ridiculous as Cheney and Limbaugh.

    May 24, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  4. Cindy PA

    Wow, Politics as usual. Seems Cheney and Limbaugh will never forgive Powell. So they will try and publically scorn him and take him down politically.

    May 24, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. Beth

    Voting for someone from the opposite party has never disqualified a person from their home party. I voted for Gerald Ford and I'm a lifelong Democrat. I really don't like this notion of people saying that because a person said or did this or that, he's a Democrat and not a Reoublican (or vice versa). A person's party affiliation is his or her own choice – not anyone else's. And being affiliated with a particular party has never meant that you agree with them 100% 24/7.

    May 24, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  6. Ryan Blanco

    Chuck – the Democratic Party is pretty calm right now (for an American political is all relative). Why would we need to start our own party? Republicans are publicly blowing each other up on a daily basis. Your rebuttal makes no sense at all.

    May 24, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. Texasdemo

    Powell presented Cheney's cooked up story at the UN to go to WAR with IRAQ. It was the low point for Powell. He just voted for Obama to correct his mistake

    May 24, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  8. What happened to the GOP!??

    Colin Powell is exactly the "face" of the Republican Party we need. He's had an honorable career in the military, intellectually soft-spoken (take a hint Rush) and his moderate stances are appealing to the majority of Americans. I hate the fact the Republican Party has been hijacked by these media chicken-hawks!! Where's Cheney's military record? Where's Rush's military record? Where's Rove's military record? Oh right, don't have one. C'mon people, wake up and take the Rep Party back and let honorable men and women lead us, not fox news and Rush.

    May 24, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  9. darby

    One cannot blame Sec. Powell for breaking ranks with Limbaugh, a drug-addicted gasbag, and Cheney, a pernicious reprobate. Powell still has some integrity, something neither Limbaugh nor Cheney has.

    May 24, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. joel palmer

    The gop is circling the drain! Let's all send $50 to the Sarah Palin PAC and insure a democratic president for the next sixteen years

    May 24, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  11. rob

    Dick Cheney is aptly first named.

    May 24, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  12. kr23451

    hats off to Powell.. He is the Only one in my eyes qualified to speak for the Republican party.. Limbaugh holds no place in the Party and Chaney was ousted already but just hasn't realized it yet.

    May 24, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. jjohnson

    If Powell says he is a Republican...then take him at his word. When Cheney, Rove, Limbaugh....and the likes of them...say they are Republican take them at their word. Cheney, Rove, Limbaugh and the other far Righters like them... are taking the GOP down.

    May 24, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  14. seawolf

    Limbaugh's name doesn't qualify to be mentioned in the same breath as Gen Powell. This is proof positive of the power of the media where someone who talks for a living can be compared to someone who has dedicated his life to service to our country. Frankly it's ridiculous and if there weren't so many mindless lemmings on the planet, I wouldn't even dignify this discussion with a comment even while knowing freedom of speech is something the general has defended with his service up to and including potentially his life.

    May 24, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  15. Horace

    I noticed one commonality about the Republicans who are barking the loudest about President Obama. Most of them, by and large, are representatives and senators from Southern states – Alabama, Mississipi, Tennessee, Texas. The Republicans have been reduced to a "regional" party that coincidentally resides in the South – a place in America that STILL represents mean-spirited, hit-em-hard, elitist, hateful and selfish motives. Yes, the south is still alive and there are still fires of hate burning there and the Republican party leaders and their minions (Rush and Dick) represents that last wimper of a shameful period in American history. When they are finally gone, America will be a better place.

    May 24, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  16. Big Bear, Bearden, AR 71720

    There is no dispute that a vote for Obama was not a vote for any semblance of a Republican. Mr. Powell has the right to vote for whoever he wants, but he cannot have it both ways. Already we have seen Obama turn our country towards socialism. There is no way that socialism can be considered a valued part of America. When this country becomes socialist, it stops being capitilistic and loses the strengths that it had for two hundred years. It becomes whatevery country its citizens make it, but it no longer is America.

    May 24, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  17. Lola

    Powell is EXACTLY what the Republican party needs. Someone who votes the right way and not just because there's an R next to the candidate's name. Limbaugh and Cheney are the reason the Republican party is failing miserably. When they don't get their way they cry and complain and hurl insults instead of intelligence. Powell is a true leader.

    May 24, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  18. Gary Jensen

    Rush and Cheney are lingering dinosaurs of America's downward spiral. Colin Powell could have been the first African American elected President instead of Bush in his second term. And the World would have been a better place!

    Thank God 4 years later clearer heads have prevailed!

    May 24, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  19. Steve from Florida

    As a WWII veteran, I applaud the service that General Powell has provided to this country. He is an American hero and a crumb like Rush Limbau should be ashamed of himself for deriding him.

    Cheers to General Powell for standing up for what he believes in!

    May 24, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. Shanepburke

    Obama is a worse President than James Buchanan and Franklin Pierce combined! I would prefer Millard Fillmore at this point.

    May 24, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  21. anonymous

    It's pretty apparent that everyone commenting on this board is a democrat. That should tell you something about the "objectivity" on CNN's journalism. You'll notice that there's no articles about Pelosi and her lies on CNN's front page.

    May 24, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  22. Bernard Werwinski Sr.

    Powell is what is wrong with the liberal,eastern establishment wing of the party. To follow them would be a catastrophe. We would all then be compassionate Conservatives ala Bush, et al. What would then be the difference. Both would spend us into oblivion and allow anything in the moral aspects of our lives. Better to go down fighting for the conservative aspects than turn into the Sociocrats that now are in control of both parties. A new Party is needed to head off the econimic and social oblivion that our children and grandchildren will inherit if this continues. Hopefully we will wake up or the new coined "commissars" in DC. will turn us into automatons run fro there. It is our choice. BTW

    May 24, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  23. Michael

    Colin Powell is a patriot, a leader, a man of great integrity and honesty. Which leaves Limbaugh out in the wilderness somewhere. As for Cheney, the man is mean, very mean and his ideas are along the lines of dictators. Powells analysis of the Republican party and its current and past problems are quite accurate and if they are to be in political prominence they had better start heeding his words not the idiot Limbaugh or bully Cheney.

    May 24, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  24. wesleyj

    Walking out on your party and supporting an inferior, grossly unqualified candidate would make people question your allegiance.

    as they say, if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, chances are pretty good that it is a duck,

    May 24, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  25. Doug, Louisiana

    Colin Powell voted the same way 90%+ of African Americans did, along racial lines. If there was ever a Republican that Powell could have voted for it was the McCain.

    May 24, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13