July 3rd, 2009
02:53 PM ET
14 years ago

State of the Union: Powell 'concerned' about Obama's agenda

WASHINGTON (CNN) - In a wide-ranging interview set to air Sunday on CNN's State of the Union, one of President Barack Obama's most prominent Republican supporters says he is 'concerned' about the new president's ambitious agenda and the high price tags accompanying many of Obama's initiatives.

"I'm a little concerned," former Secretary of State Colin Powell says. "I'm concerned at the number of programs that are being presented, the bills associated with these programs and the additional government that will be needed to execute them."

Powell also seems to sound a note of warning to the young president.

"I think one of the cautions that has to be given to the president - and I've talked to some of his people about this - is that you can't have so many things on the table that you can't absorb it all. And we can't pay for it all."

Even as he raises concerns about the new Democratic president's agenda, Powell also seems to back away from some of his own conservative views.

"I don't like slogans anymore like 'limited government.' That's not the right answer. The right answer is, give me a government that works."

"The people want their problems solved," Powell also says in the interview. "And very often, it's government that has to do that. So let's have good government, effective government, whether you call it limited or not."

Despite his concerns, Powell also tells CNN Chief National Correspondent John King that he has a "very good" relationship with president.

"I have met with him not too long ago. I don't insert myself. But we stay in touch," the former Bush aide says of Obama.

Filed under: Colin Powell • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. Johnny DC

    The fact that you're only a "little concerned" greatly concerns me, Mr. So-called "High Ranking Republican".

    You could have been a great leader if you weren't so caught up in color and its effect on popularity right now.

    July 3, 2009 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  2. T. K.

    I think that Powel is right, Obama needs to stop and take a second look at all of the things he wants to do and figure out which one's are most needed at this time. You can't do everything at once. He needs to stop being a kid in the candy store. I voted for Obama and still support him.

    July 3, 2009 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  3. ran

    Why is that ever GOP finds spending for the rich by their party is OK but when the Democrats do it for the country it is wrong?

    July 3, 2009 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  4. Legna

    Powell should b proud of what he has done. He has helped contribute to the socialization & bankruptcy of this country. His personal political career is now nothing, his judgement has proven to b poor. GOOD RIDDANCE to him and his descriminating social agenda.

    July 3, 2009 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  5. Scott, Tucson

    Folks who desires no health care or those who can't afford it should be concern about the IRS going after them and being fined $1,000. How's that for CHANGE? And why is Congress being exempt from participating in this plan?

    July 3, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  6. nota dem

    Obama is SO LEFT WING AND SO FAR OUT OF TOUCH that its easy to believe that his actions show such MISSLEADERSHIP.

    Obama's actions show someone whis is more concerned with actions that are for all the wrong reasons and which work against the American Values.

    Obama's agenda is the destruction of the USA.

    July 3, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  7. European-American

    Now will you listen?
    Nope. Character assasination of Colin Powell in 3,2,1...

    July 3, 2009 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  8. kishen c.rao

    what is he concerned about??? Fixing health care? Energy Indipendence? Economy? or Immigration? Is he going to be another roadblock on these issues along with bunch of Lobbyists like AMA, Hospitals, and Insurance groups and doctors....???????

    July 3, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  9. Phil

    Well Powell, you endorsed him. That's what you get for vetting him. If you didn't like McCain, you just should have remained silent and not endorsed anyone. I think over the next few months, more and more peoples' eyes are going to be opened to Obama and his "true" ways. Corruption, spending, intimidation.

    July 3, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  10. Ray Saint

    I am puzzled by the good general and former secretary of state under G.W.Bush. After not supporting the GOP candidate in the last election for president, giving his nod to B.O., and continuing to show support to the new democratic adminstration, his latest comments for me suggests that Mr. Powell is setting himself up as someone who gave the new president the benefit of the doubt, but who now positions himself to wiggle out of it. Why? He sees an opporunity for him in 2012? Or he now senses the folly of this current government headed by President Obama?

    July 3, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  11. VON BISMARK,Vienna.

    And of course he has his own agenda: to please Limbaugh and prepare for 2012.
    One question Gen. Powell: Is inaction a solution to the mess of the Bush administration of which you were part?

    July 3, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  12. gl, Pittsburgh

    I love Powell and I trust his judgment. It is probably the person that can give the President Good advise. Keep advise him Powell he needs your help.

    July 3, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  13. Tatianna

    Powell has spoken truth to power. He will not rubberstamp radical lib followers as they help Obama steal the future of our younger generation. Dems praised Powell voting Obama, but that was then and this is now. Powell has the courage to publicly acknowledge Team Obama is cornered by their own ineptitude and his grand plans are unstainable.

    July 3, 2009 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  14. ib

    Finally Powell sees the light on Obama. I just wished more people would see what King Obama is doing to destroy this country. It's time to stop the blame Bush agenda and start making King Obama start to answer to his agenda that is only spend; spend when the country is broke.

    July 3, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  15. Marty, FL

    With regard to effective governing to solve our issues, I agree with Colin Powell. President Obama recognizes many of the challenges facing our great nation–health care, energy, refocusing resources back to the correct war, etc.

    There are understandable concerns in the short-term as these systems are put into place, but the beneficial efficiencies in the long-run will make vast improvements for our country.

    For instance, making health care more affordable to all Americans will bring down costs to the taxpayers, as less bankruptcies are filed due to overwhelming medical liabilities from individuals currently without coverage.

    Finally, I certainly would not take it to the level of "worrying" (i.e. fear-mongering) that John King pushed, but then again, King has unfortunately shown his true colors to the right lately. On the contrary, I am confident in President Obama's vision to put long-term efficiencies in place for our government.

    July 3, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  16. Rob Johnson

    The good news is that unlike our previous President, Obama actually listens to what other people say, even when they disagree with him.

    I'm glad that Obama has the benefit of Colin Powell's wise counsel.

    July 3, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  17. Avi Shlomo

    The General is trying to re-deem hismself to Rush.

    July 3, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  18. Hmmm...

    It looks like someone is making a run at 2012. (o:

    July 3, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  19. Chuck, Tennessee

    Finally, maybe this is a Republican voice that can get through to Obama

    July 3, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  20. David

    Finally some sense from this guy...

    July 3, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  21. Steve (the real one)

    Well General, welcome to reality! We have been plundered by Bush and the plundering has increased under Obama! Plundering is plundering no matter who does the plundering! What say you, fan clubbers! I agree people did want their problems solved but the government is often a hinderence and NOT the answer!

    July 3, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  22. Victor

    Why is John King who is clearly a republican working in CNN. Why can't he go to FOX... I mean FALSE News.

    July 3, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  23. Leah

    Why is it that CNN has to cherrypick and comment on an interview before it is presented to viewers?

    Seldom does CNN ever show a complete interview but cuts them up into pieces. Is it because they have an agenda or is ot because they don't think their viewers have the intelligence to formulate their own??

    July 3, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  24. DaBird

    Obama is ONLY changing every major industry in the first six months, banks, insurance companies, auto manufacturers Plus 16 czars, corruption, lying, threats, firings (Walpin), ACORN, Americorps. YOUR TAXES ARE GOING UP, EVEN POOR PEOPLE.

    July 3, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  25. J. L. W.

    I agree with Powell. The U.S. is headed in the same direction as the
    bankrupt state of California. Focus on the Economy and less government, other issues can come later.

    July 3, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
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