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. common sense

    DUH. Didn't you add up all the lies of Obama while he was campaigning? Didn't this compute and you still endorsed the idiot? I think you voted for him because he was black and not intelligent, like most of my black friends.

    Now we have the worst President of all time even beating out Bush.

    July 3, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. Disappointed Moderate

    I've always admired and respected Colin Powell, and if there had been a McCain/Powell (or flip them) ticket in 2000 or 2008, they would have had my vote. These remarks ring true to me – in a time of great financial crisis, the president needs to prioritize where the efforts and dollars of this country go. These are the hard choices I thought I was hoping Obama would make in a better fashion than Bush – unfortunately, it seems like the choice has been made to ram everything down the hroats of the taxpayer and give a few speeches about how wonderful and smart these ideas are, with the obligatory warning of the doom to come if we don't follow the president's lead. This is not the change I voted for.

    July 3, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. J

    I do not see any personal ambition in the statements by Secretary Powel. I see someone who is simply trying to point something out to the new president. I think dialogue and conversation are so important in today's politics. We want as many points of view as peopel are willing to contribute. Not all of the opinions may be used, but it is a good idea to have many minds on many problems. If you think about it this way, if you have one person trying to solve many different problems, or 5-10 minds solving each problem, which will provide more options and solutions. It was quite clear that Mr. Powel has had conversations with the President and he has offered insight. I think the idea of finding what is effective is the most important thing. I feel like this government is trying to reach out and gain insight from many different sources. Nothing will ever be perfect, but multiple points of view are a way to help make things a little better.

    July 3, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  4. jt

    State of the Union is biased to the right.

    July 3, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  5. 38swede

    Colin is ok. All the money Clinton left on the table for Bush was gone.
    A huge bill was left for Obama to clean up.The GOP boys have been stealing from you average guys for 100 years, still many of you still vote for guys like Mitch and the rest of the goofballs. There is nothing in it for the average people. They are hiding behind the slogan of less government, and you guys are falling like a teenager in love.All the GOP wants, is more money for the rich and less taxes for them.And yes, they want you to pay for it. Finally it seems that some people are getting the message. The GOP party is selfdestructing.

    July 3, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  6. HUGO

    What can this mean? Is Colin Powell finally seeing beyond Obama's skin color and charisma? Could it be that Powell is finally waking up to the fact that Obama's agenda is based upon massive government expansion for control of America? There is hope for Colin within the Party of "NO, let's look before we leap"; I as an Independent would support him as a presidential candidate in 2012, The Republicans assuredly need someone to step up that has fiscally responsible ideals, someone that is not so imprisoned by forcing their religious beliefs that it makes them unacceptable to a majority of Americans. Free Men, Free Market, FREE!

    July 3, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  7. AustHall

    I suggest that respondents actually read what Colin Powell said in this article. Powell is expressing concerns that many including President Obama has expressed. There are many issues at hand for this country and reasonable solution-oriented plans and ideas are what is needed.

    Too many CNN respondents are "I told you so" or "it is their fault". Lets voice our concerns and map out a plan which will benefit all Americans.

    So all of you right-wingers and left-wingers. GET OVER IT AND GROW UP!!!!

    MODERATES are and will always be the majority party in the USA. We want active solutions based on facts and discussions between responsible and concerned parties, who put the interests of the American people before their political party/affiliation.


    July 3, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  8. Fernandez

    Mr. Powell
    You are a genius to just figure it out. I recall your presentation to the UN. John King- It is time to interview someone new, forget these career politicians- try Paul Ryan from WI

    July 3, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  9. reason is simple but politics is complicated

    There is a simple reason why Obama has too much on his plate. He is trying to push for reforms in sectors where previous presidents have failed for decades. Business interests are able to push in money at the right time,influence the public opinion (because we the people have a very short memory) and of course again and again lobby washington. Only now when one side controls the congress is there any iota of chance of passing these reforms.

    July 3, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  10. triggerfinger

    CNN is part of the OMN state run Obama Media Network, just like ABC, CBS, NBC and MSNBC. Obama probably approves the content of their nightly "news" programs. Just like the pre-packaged questions in each of the "news conferences" at the White House; this whole Presidency has been pre-packaged and staged; like a bad Hollywood movie.
    When you cool-aid drinkers wake from the drunk; join us and vote the Bums Out in 2010. With or without you; conservative and moderate Americans will clip his wings in 2010 and vote him out in 2012!

    July 3, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  11. Tim, Durham, N.C.

    Well, Powell should have thought about these things last fall when Obama was running for President. A careful listen AT THAT TIME would have enlightened Powell to the fact that Obama is a "big government, big spender" politician. However, everyone was so caught up in the "Bush lied" nonsense and Bush hatred that they didn't see Obama for who he really is. It was there all along folks, you just had to listen carefully and do your research, not just listen to soundbytes that the left leaning mainstream media elite wanted you to hear.

    July 3, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. Uncle Ellsworthy

    Colin Powell isn't the only one concerned about Obama's agenda. A lot of us out here are concerned as well. Course a good many of us could have told you what he was going to be like before the election. But so many folks were hell bent on distancing themselves from Bush (with some justification) that they made a horrible mistake. Some don't even realize it yet but they will. Just hope it's not too late.

    July 3, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. Steve-O

    Why be surprised at all? This is just another liberal regime buying votes with government money.

    Once again the people have allowed some slick leftist politician to deceive them that they can have everything they could ever desire and somebody else will be stuck with the bill, but as a nation we are on sort of a Christmas season spending spree with the national Visa card.

    Yet as surely as January rolls around and that envelope shows up, the national bill will arrive in the form of huge taxes and high interest rates.

    Moral: Nothing is "free".

    July 3, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  14. Arthur M. Solis

    Any minority that goes along with or belongs to the republican party is an individual that wants to be accepted by the White majority and is looking for this acceptance.

    July 3, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  15. Hank in Seattle

    Emergency room medicine is invasive, messy, and expensive. If you don't want to pay the ER bill, then conduct yourself in a fashion that doesn't lead directly to serious, systemic disease. Economically, that means a financial system riddled with cronyism and fraud, a health-care system that is in a death spiral of reducing services and raising prices, and ill-considered military adventures. It also means irresponsible personal spending, foolish personal health habits, and an inability to discuss the issues except in belligerent broadsides and childish insults against straw-man arguments and stereotypes. That repairing the damage of the past thirty years is going to cost a lot of money should hardly be surprising. Obama is exactly right that the big issues have to be addressed together and they have to be addressed now – you can't treat just one of several diseased organs. I don't like going through rehab any more than anybody else, but I'm not going to deny its necessity to recovery. Those of you with better treatment plans had better get them to the doctors instead of just denouncing the current plan.

    July 3, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  16. T Thomas

    You all crack me up – Republican this, Democrat that. It's like you feel immense pride for rooting for a 'team'. Instead you should be rooting for the public, you know – the slaves funding the system that runs wild.

    Get a clue about how long term strategic planning works and then you realize we've been plodding down centralizing power for decades.

    Fools. We're owned by the privatley owned FED, with an appointed chairman that none of us get a say in. The almighty god of dollar bill calls the shots, with a heaping pile of political bs on the side to distract you.

    July 3, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  17. Cheney

    So?Im still making tons of blood money,shut up Colin,let him keep spending.

    July 3, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  18. Debbie

    The comments in this thread are ridiculous. All Colin Powell said was that he was a "little" concerned that Obama has too much on the table – geeesshhh! I hardly think that's newsworthy, let alone giving some of you the impression that he no longer supports Obama on the issues. As to the money he's spending, maybe our Government will finally really take a look at waste, and this time do something about it!

    July 3, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  19. valboski

    George Bush spent too much unnecssarily and Obama is backed up by a Congress to triple costs when taxpayer and businesses are being destroyed. The only reason for these " bold and swift " moves are to push this country into a situation where government will be the saving grace. TARP was wrong, the Stimulus was wrong, the over budget omnibus was wrong because it was done politically, not honestly. I ask this, are our elected representatives voting for the Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness for the citizens or the over-reaching power of the federal government to encroach on states rights by using tax dollar as bribes?

    July 3, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. EcoAZ

    Almost 10 years later the 2000 election accusations and tantrums continue. Old liberals will be spewing that garbage whilst dribbling jello in the nursing homes.

    Try to deal with the realities of the present and let go of the media hype and untruths of the past.

    July 3, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  21. democrapper

    D'oy – No kidding Colin. It looks like menopause has caused another mood swing and now you are lurching in the other direction. How wide is that fence you are sitting on? Choose a side! Obama doesn't need your advice what he needs to do is the same thing you need to do – GO AWAY and let the people of this country prosper again. Bush did enough damage and Colin's lack of intestinal fortitude and groveling helped in him do it for the first four years. Now it's the same story with Obama. GO AWAY!

    July 3, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  22. JWS3

    To all of you that refer to "Big Business" as some evil entity that should be controlled by the governenment, who do you think employees most of America. Are you people really that short sighted?

    July 3, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  23. worriedmom

    Looks like the Kool-Aid has worn off. We tried to tell you!! Thanks to all the Looney Left Wingers, it isn't Bush anymore that got us in this mess, it is you guys!!!

    July 3, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  24. JayW in Austin

    I don't agree with Powell, but it's nice to see a reasoned response for once coming out of the GOP camp. This shows the difference between a moderate and the extreme right-wing who have been dominating the party for the past few decades. I'd sure like to see the party return to it roots of Eisenhower, Lincoln and TeddyR and away from the corporate loving ideals of Reagan and Bush.

    July 3, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  25. Dave

    Colin has seen the light. I wish some other influential supports of Obama would step, amd tell him to slow down.

    July 3, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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