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. Blake Gabel

    Powell is one of the main reasons Obama was elected. He has no one to blame but himself. Thanks Colin. History will not look kindly on you.

    July 3, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  2. Polar Bears Against Palin

    This coming from a guy that helped lie us into war.

    July 3, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  3. Champly

    Colin lost all of his credibility last year. He supported BO simply because BO is black. He ignored all of BO's previous life story that pointed to a radical, radical, presidency, which is now coming to fruition.

    Colin Powell helped set this demon in motion. Shame on him and everyone else who blindly followed Barack Hussien Obama over the cliff into the disaster that has destroyed our country.

    July 3, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  4. JL St. Paul, MN

    Powell couldn't get any more liberal. "People want the government to solve their problems" That line doesn't come from a conservative. And don't give me any "taking it out of context "crap. I want my country back! Get ride of these communists! Wake up America!

    July 3, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  5. Rafael

    Did he did not see this coming? I mean I could have told him... Powell is never to late to join the Republicans ... 2010 will be our year again. Stand up for George W. Bush what just happen in Iraq is thanks to the surge Bush put in place and Obama refuses to recognize that...

    July 3, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  6. WIlly Brown

    IMHO: Powell could have had it all but was afraid to come out as a republican and being black too. Enjoy your retirement General.

    July 3, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  7. Melissa

    I like Powell. He'd make a good President.

    July 3, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  8. j

    Don`t worry-- With all the BIG money now being spent in Washington ( and I don`t mean BY our Gov`t) - I doubt much gets past the Repubs and lobbiests. We`ll be lucky if our Gov`t is allowed to "bid" for cheaper prescriptions for medicare patients, much less a national insurance option.

    July 3, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  9. DL

    I respect Powell, he is the only Republican that I continue to have respect for. However, I disagree with his statement. Since the country has basically 'bottomed out', now is precisely the time to fix all of these issues. America has neglected her own for to long. We have simply gotten to a point where these issues have to be addressed now, it won't be easy, and there will be trial and error. These are massive changes that need to be made to reinvest in America.

    July 3, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  10. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    The money belongs to the people, we should use it if it is needed.

    July 3, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  11. Zora La Rousse, Lugano CH

    It is good that President's Obama strongest supporters are adding their constructive criticisms and observations to the dialogue. There is an intellectual discourse occurring right now between the President and those who support and believe in him. Not everyone within is going to agree as some are going to question some decisions, however these individuals are not like the many in the opposition who are salivating at the prospect of distorting this into one of their ridiculous dime-a-dozen unintelligible catch phrases. The opposition is keen on criticism yet offer few constructive suggestions of their own; these being the case their voices are sadly yet deservedly without merit.

    July 3, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  12. Carlos

    Gee do ya think you should have thought about that a little more before you voted for him you jerk.

    July 3, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  13. annie against biased news

    What? Is powell realizing that you should vote for a president for something other than skin color?

    July 3, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  14. Leo

    I see President Obama forcing everyone of his policies on the people and assuming that the price tag would be taken care of by future generations. What that does though is put us at a great disadvantage as a nation, Imagine if you will another Katrina but bigger and in New York the capital of a our financial institutions. Could we pay for reconstruction?
    I think not not!
    He needs to find a sticking point a legacy and stay with that.
    His now or nothing approach comes with too many risks and right now I really dont need that kind of change...
    P.S. The argument that if nothing is done about the problems that it would some how be more costly to us then the package itself is getting tired please use another line when trying to solicit money from us...

    July 3, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  15. robin

    Powell in 2012

    July 3, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  16. Matt

    Did he not see this coming? With one of the more liberal Senators being elected to the White House – did he not see this coming? It really makes you wonder if there's any truth in Limbaugh's accusations about Powell's support for Obama in the first place...

    July 3, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  17. Henry

    I think that it is unfortunate that a man with so much potential to help his nation has decided to change his course along racial lines and not maintain his political beliefs of many years unlike the staunch republican advocate Ms Rice.

    July 3, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  18. end the warz

    so end the WARS so we can afford things that are vital to Americans.

    July 3, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  19. Right Leaning Independent

    Well, lets see how the Libs respond to this! I mean they were glowing in their praise for Powell when he endorsed Obama. Lets see if they are Hypocrites or accepting of his opinion.

    July 3, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  20. that you can't absorb it all

    I wish Bush/Cheney hadn't dragged Powell into the Iraq mess at the U.N. the way they did, smart of Powell to insist the CIA director sit directly behind him so that it showed if the information he was relying on to be false or mis-worded the CIA director had the opportunity to correct him, and he did not correct him

    but it is still a stain on Powell to have been a part of that lie

    shame on Bush/Cheney

    July 3, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  21. 2012 Please come soon.

    You know what Powell-most Republicans were "concerned" that this is what would happen when he was voted in. Remember, you publically endorsed the man so it's a little too late for your concern now. Maybe you should have thought about this a few months ago, instead of being "concerned" about Obama's race.

    July 3, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  22. George

    Colin Powell is a very good man, but he has no credibility on things that matter to most Americans. He was part of the many problems Obama has to solve or find solutions to. He lied while office and did nothing to correct the lies, he could have resigned when he realized all he said at the un was nothing but made up stuff. I respect him as a person, a great soldier, but no regard for him as a politician. He simply went along to get along, look where we are, lots of lives lost and still counting. Keep your political advise to yourself sir.

    July 3, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  23. Checkpoint Charlie

    Powell: "The people want their problems solved (by government),..."

    Checkpoint Charlie: And therein lies the problem, in a nutshell!

    July 3, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  24. Hopeful Optimist

    I'm a Wasp. I'm liberal. I like both Powell and Obama. Absolutely two of the most able public servants we could hope for. We are fortunate, you haters out there. Time for a diaper change and a nap now.

    July 3, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  25. girlymen love the GOP

    Nationalize the Federal Reserve Bank and the Oil Companies and we can pay for everything and more.

    July 3, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
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