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. riteaidbob

    Sorry FOOL...I stopped listening to a thing Powell thinks long ago. You voted/ backed this CLOWN now shut up and live with the disaster he is fast becoming.

    July 3, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  2. Ralph

    It's a shame that Colin Powell couldn't have been our president instead of Dubya. Dubya would have been better raising brush on his ranch and then chopping it down. Colin Powell was a great talent, and would have been a great president.

    July 3, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. ray

    Great comment Sec. Powell. The President is trying to do everything except be a President. He is on TV more than he is in his office. He has put so much out there it is a confusion campaign with the American people. Put enough out there and no one will understand it. Its time he lead and not just talk.

    July 3, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  4. Southern Moderate

    Before Powell gets hammered, as I'm sure some people will do, I'm glad that he shows that you can support the President and not agree 100% with everything that he does.

    July 3, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  5. lynn in NM

    You gave him carte blanche when you publicly backed the man. Now sit there and pay for all of it. Too bad it will be the little guy that has to pay it though, not you.

    July 3, 2009 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  6. Judi Baller

    Interesting, seeing President Obama is doing exactly what he said he would do during his campaign, health care, green jobs (energy) and education. The only thing that is different is, the mess left by the last administration is so bad it is demanding more money and scaring people and the GOP is pushing that as hard as they can.

    July 3, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  7. Sam

    You supported him. You voted for him.

    July 3, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  8. Former Republican firmly supporting Obama

    I think Powell's comments are thoughtful and I believe President Obama should reflect on them. I strongly support Obama and I believe that he can succeed, but this will only happen when the American People get on board with Obama's agenda, and I do not believe that the Obama Administration nor his Democratic, Independent, and Moderate supporters are showing enough "fire in the belly". They need to push harder, stronger, and more willful to overcome the Republican's agenda to destroy this President and his vision for America.

    July 3, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. lulu

    One of the most amazing things to come out of these huge programs is the fact that NOBODY READS WHAT IS IN THEM.

    How can these politicians expect Americans to believe they have our best interests in mind when they don't even know what these programs entail and the cost to implement them?

    Every one of them needs to be voted out of office. Their gravy train (us taxpayers) should end before more damage is done.

    July 3, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  10. Todd

    It's about time someone with some sanity started to speek up about this nut ball president and his spend and tax agenda.

    July 3, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  11. munchmom

    Well, DUH! Should have thought of that before he endorsed him! I was concerned long before he was elected-that's why I didn't vote for him!!

    July 3, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  12. Scott

    Mr. Powell, the truth is that your party broke just about everything that it touched. You broke it you pay for it.

    July 3, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  13. Malt

    Colin Powell's concern is the concern of most informed Americans. Obama's 'remaking' policies are driving the economy down the drain (over-spending, debt, intrusion into the private sector...), while at the same time stealing our freedoms (higher taxes, more eco-requirements, healthcare...). Obama, if you have plumbing problems, you don't have to tear the house down and start over.

    July 3, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  14. Moderate and Conservative

    Gen. Powell makes an important point about the need for caution as we rebuild the American economy and our foreign policy. However, there is a greater need for asserting our confidence in the nation's ability to adapt to these challenges over the next year.

    July 3, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  15. cabianni

    too late to be a 'little concerned'. The horse is out of the barn, billions have been spent. Stimulus to create jobs was a lie. The only growing job segment are the new government jobs to run Obama's programs. Now Obama wants to tax my health benefits. He lied during the campaign saying he would not do this. Just another big spending, lying politician. I think you should be "quite concerned"

    July 3, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. lou

    This just shows what an idiot Powell actually is. Instead of supporting his own party's nominee, he went with his color and supported NObama. Dumb move, dumb selection. NOW that all the hoopla over NObama is gone, and he actually has to make Presidential decisions, he reverts to his "community organizer" level of experience, and we see the result.

    ANY idiot can propose bankrupting America and turning it into a socialist nation. It didn't take a Harvard grad to come up with that stupidity. The Democrats have been working on that for a long time. America just created the perfect storm in its blindness to facts and figures and got carried away with all the symbolism garbage which will now sink our ship.

    Powell should just shut up and stay in retirement. He is a disgrace to the Republican Party but would be stupid to become a Democrat now that all the chips are on the table. Thank God he never ran.

    July 3, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  17. Martin

    Hey Powell, that's why the republicans opposed him getting elected in the first place! Duh!

    July 3, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  18. Butch Dillon

    Powell should be raising a 5 alarm alert instead of his simple expression of curious wonderment. The Obama agenda is more than aggressive, it is over-committed to the point of suicidal. The president needs a new set of advisers, people who are willing to reel back some of our misdirected projects. The US has gained nothing by its military presence in the Middle East and in Afghanistan – the time for withdrawal is now. The wars are an economic sink hole with a never ending future. It's time to pay attention to home front issues, let the rest of the world do as it will while we protect our shores and our foreign interests with that vast, unused nuclear arsenal at our disposal.

    July 3, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  19. PAT

    It is a little late in the game to start changing your mind General...

    July 3, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  20. Job A. Toussaint

    At least, a reputable Republican can give sound and just doubt to the Democratic President. Other critics should take notes on how to criticize and not scrutinize.

    July 3, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  21. Jo

    I don't understand Powell's concern. Obama has attempted to do all of the things that he said he was going to do while he was campaigning. His agenda has changed very little. Powell, like many other Americans, were so excited to see a young, black, charismatic President, that they failed to look past the facade to see what BO actually stood for. If more Americans had done that, I doubt BO would be President. Unfortunately, he's going to put us in a financial hole that we'll never be able to dig ourselves out of, and we can thank all of the idealists (like Powell) that voted for him for it.

    July 3, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  22. Scott Carroll

    Let me tell you something, Mr. Secretary. I am more concerned about YOUR actions as the lapdog for former President Bush and your misleading actions in pushing us into a war with Iraq that was unjustified. You, Sir, have nothing to contribute to the current Administration!

    Just where do you get off in commenting about President Obama after your collusion with the disaster that was the Bush Administration?

    Be gone before someone drops a house on you too!

    July 3, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  23. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    As a mature soldier and diplomat, Powell understands the limits of projecting one's power, but as an ardent progressive, Obama does not. Who do you believe is more likely to be correct in 2012?

    July 3, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  24. The Unshrub

    Colin Powell is still a republican and republicans don't want Democrats to succeed. Besides, Powell still wants to get back in favor with the republicans. If Powell wanted Obama to succeed he would become a Democrat.

    July 3, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  25. James, Ho. TX

    Try Intergrated Thinking in lieu of Dictated thinking. The entire Political Field needs a complete revamping !
    The American Tax Payers are being "Raped" by the Political Field thru its numerous "Laws", called protection. Of What, the IN House?

    July 3, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
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