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. Marvin J

    Powell has no idea what a true rebub is. He is just like most Dems. Making decisions based on public opinion vs. what is right vs. wrong.

    May 24, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. cd

    Steve, McCain more tben had the qualifications there were 2 major problems with his campaign though and those where embracing Bush (especially with that teddy bear like hug) and picking Palin as his VP with imo Palin being the largest anchor on his neck that took him to the bottom and cost him the election.

    May 24, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  3. Steve

    I wonder if anyone on this whole blog will ever didicate themselves to the service of his or her country the way Colin Powell has? Its probably a better bet that you sit around and comment on things you really know nothing about. ( Except regurgitating the same tired crap your parent spouted 40 years ago) All while making up excuses why you cant put on a uniform and serve. But i bet you collect your unemployment checks and then go to the anti-sociality government rally on your block. Repubs really have just gotten sick. SOME of the people in this party are starting to mentally handicapped people look smart. If i was a democratic strategist....i pay to keep rush and chaney and coulter talking. They only help obama and further diminish the repub party.

    May 24, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  4. John

    I think Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney represent the true republican party, the party of the rich that seeks to keep the rest of us in line so we don't seek to share in the country's wealth.

    Dick Cheney is the "old boy" greedy leader, the one that says "I've got mine and screw the rest of you" and Rush Limbaugh blabs about all the bad things that will happen to you and I if we don't go along with Dick Cheney.

    Colin Powell is a rare example of the republican that has earned his wealth and fame instead of being born with the silver spoon and Ivy League Diploma and now the good old boys are attacking him for his core beliefs.

    May 24, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  5. John

    It so fun watching the Repubs fall apart on their own. If Cheney and Limbaugh were smart, they would keep their mouths shut. Of course IF they were smart, the Repubs wouldn't be in this mess in the first place.

    May 24, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. Nola

    I respect Powell – his is a man that is welling to stand for what he believe even if other run. Also please answer why it is ok for millions of whites to vote for McCain (who is white) but it is against the law for people of color to vote for Obama(who is part black)?

    May 24, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. Powell....

    you are a backstabber...a Judas....I am glad you are in the Obama camp because they will now have to watch THEIR backs...

    You are in the same category with Bill Richardson and Alan Specter-both of whom got theirs, as Richardson lost his cabinet post and is now under investigation for fraud...and Specter lost all of his seniority and is now a senate flunky--

    You see Mr. Powell, what goes around comes around and all Judas's are justly rewarded.

    May 24, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. not surprised

    You mean that General Colin Powell is no longer a war hero, patriotic and statesman because he did not support Palin, McCain, Joe the Plumber and won't bow down to the fat drug addict. Wow! Your standards are so low and very telling.

    May 24, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. shawn P

    The repub party consist of the Exclusive rich and Coporations, religous right and gunspiracy right wing nuts. Democratic party consist of everyone else. Any middle class that votes republican is an idiot. They do not care for the middle class or poor.

    May 24, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  10. Trevor

    I not sure why anyone cares what the republicans have to say. They had a good long haul in the white house and congress. The end result being they destroyed everything. Started TWO unwinnable wars, doubled the deficit, killed hundred of thousands of people and raped our civil liberties. All they need to do now is keep their heads down and mouths shut during their march to obsolescence.

    May 24, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  11. George

    It's one thing to be a Republican and vote for a centrist Democrat like Bill Clinton. It is quite another to claim to be a Republican and vote for a Socialist like Obama. Powell is certainly no longer a Republican.

    May 24, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. Slash

    I would love for Powell to become the core of a new conservative party, one that actually embraces conservative principles...instead of the huge government power Bush sought and the intrusion into people's private lives. The current Republican party is made of hate and fail and needs to be replaced, lest it fall into obscurity forever.

    May 24, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  13. Abraham Kamara

    where was cheney when Powell was defending GOP agenda in battles,giving up his life for this nation? Mr Cheney put up with a new GOP or shut up you are a disgrace to the US. Defendiny torture?

    May 24, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  14. Illinoistom

    General Powell, you are welcome to call yourself a Republican, but it would be helpful if you told us why you are one. If McCain wasn't "moderate" enough for you to vote for, then I'm doubtful that any future GOP candidates will suit you. As the current Administration's agenda is revealed, many will wonder why any Republican can support what is clearly the greatest left turn in American politics since the New Deal.

    May 24, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  15. Alan in Marietta

    Colin Powell kicked Cheney's butt today. It is becoming clearer that Colin left after it was clear that Cheney was running things. It is also clearer that Cheney was in his undisclosed location because he was pouting because Bush took over as President and stopped Cheney's war crimes.

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

    Powell vs. Limbaugh

    1. A Hero vs. A Zero
    2. A Brave Soldier vs. A Talkative Idiot.
    3. Country is Proud of vs. We have to Care for Insane People also.
    4. Intelligent, Sharp and Learned vs. Idiot, Jerk and Loud Mouth.

    May 24, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. L.A. Katie

    If Powell had any integrity he would have publicly stated that his Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, "outed" CIA employee Valerie Plame in 2003.

    Instead, Powell stayed mute and let journalists toss erroneous daily allegations at members of the Bush administration. That's not integrity, in any book, it lessened my opinion of the man.

    Powell, in my opinion, lost the right to say someone is misinformed and be taken seriously.

    May 24, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. Bert in CA

    General Powell is a patriot and a thoughtful, intelligent person. If the Republican party will listen to people like him, I may vote for them again. I voted for Obama after 40 years of voting for Republican presidential candidates.

    If people like Limbaugh, Cheney and the radical right continue to be the voice of the Republican party then it is finished as a significant force. That would be a shame and a loss for the country.

    May 24, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  19. Anthony

    This country foundation is based on solid democratic ideas. Neither Republic nor Democrat. But the Republic. Rush and Dick foundation and position are not representative of the country as a whole. They are dividers of men and nations and the rhetoric that they spew is reflective of that. Shame on them.

    May 24, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  20. Vick

    I dont get why we need to consider their remarks over Mr. Powell. These people are nuts.. good for nothin fellows. One is a drug addict and other insane.

    The Media and the public should completely ignore these people. They are just nuts.

    May 24, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  21. 1fender

    If Colin Powell were white no one would be questioning what his motives are. Joe Lieberman who ran as the Democratic candidate for vice president. Then this election he supported McCain. No ne was claiming he voted to McCain because of race.

    Also, the Democrats are inclusive enough to still let him in the big tent. (I know there were some who wanted to boot him but they didn't.)

    The Republican leadership continues to form circular firing squads as they steadfastly stick to only letting right wing nut cases like Cheny and Rush lead the party.

    Keep it up and your party will follow the Whig party as it loses more and more people who can see their lies and hipocracy! Obama 20012!!!!!

    May 24, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  22. John McNeil

    At 68, I've seen enough to have been completely mortified by the arrival Dick Cheney on the national stage at the upper echelons of the executive branch. Some perusal of his dossier should be more that enough for ANY voter. I've always believed that Bush drafted Dick as his running mate for only one reason–he knew that if he was to be elected, he would be controversial enough that, in this crazy society, some nut-case would try "take him out". It was pretty obvious to those of us on the left AND some on the right, that nobody in his right mind would do anything to Bush, when the obvious horror would be the possibility for a "President Cheney"!!!! It boggled the mind, even then! So, one could say that Dick's career peaked at the title of "insurance policy".

    May 24, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  23. Rasheed

    I thought in a democray, party affliliations or loyalty is not always supreme; that you vote based on your conscience and who you think can best deliver on those ideals and promises that you subscribe to.
    Powell believes that Obama fit the bill and voted for him. Those calling him names are not truthful and sincere.

    May 24, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  24. Ken In Pinon Hills, California

    Just let us look at the record Cheney and decide who has more integrity.
    Cheney avoided the draft five times during the Viet Nam war, and said he had other priorities. Congressman Cheney while in Congress voted in support of the apartheid regime in South Africa. Cheney was Secretary of Defense during the war with Iraq. With knowledge gained as Secretary he became CEO of Halliburton and its subsidiaries, Kellogg Brown & Root, and set up the services the military required in the future Iraq war. Vice President Cheney who sat in the first Bush Cabinet meeting months before 9-11, and discussed going to war with Iraq with his no bid billion dollar contracts to Halliburton for military services in Iraq in place and ready to go Vice President Cheney chaired a secret energy meeting with the energy giants and hid it because maybe his Enron friends were in the room. Cheney that got a CIA’S identity revealed.
    Why pay attention to this weasel?

    May 24, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  25. The Veteran

    I really don't understand how a person can be Christian (a follower of Christ) and be a Republican. Republicans are Pharisees–period. They are the biggest hypocrites on the planet. People are just beginning to see them for what they really are. Let 'em go down in flames.

    May 24, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
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