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. E.C.Coleman

    OH................so Colin Powell is "concerned?"

    Why didn't Colin Powell 'get it' when obama was running for president?

    Did Powell just awaken from a deep slumber?

    Why did he back obama and NOT, Senator John McCain, a proven leader of this United States?

    Colin Powell was "supposed to be a Republican."

    Powell voted for RACE, and NOT for the Most Qualified, Experienced Candidate. Shame on Colin Powell. He is a disgrace.

    July 3, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  2. Patricia Self

    No kidding......where were you before he got elected.

    July 3, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  3. Mattie

    He, like so many others, did not comprehend what Obama was telling everyone.

    Obama's has a smooth talk about him...most sellmen do.

    I give the Democratic American Voters a F in math.

    July 3, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  4. Joe

    How refreshing. A Republican who thinks and knows how to calmly engage the president with ideas which might be contrary to his own. Thank you, Collin Powell.

    July 3, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  5. Zero.

    Middle for diddle. He never changes. Powel is flip flopping as much as Obama. Why?

    Everything that Obama has done, was the wrong move evertime.

    Anyone can spend other peoplews money. Thats all he does , all he has ever done..

    July 3, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  6. Susan

    Good to see someone with sound thinking. If you have ears to hear, listen.

    July 3, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  7. Semi-Colin

    It's a little late to sound the alarm, Powell. You endorsed Obama, now you have to pay for his big government programs. We all do –and we have you to thank for that.

    July 3, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  8. Claudia in Houson

    I disagree with Powell, it's called government working for the people who pay them. Either we've got too many people in Washington that can't accomplish Obama's agenda or their qualifications are in question. Let them work for once in their lives instead of vacationing all the time, keep them busy.

    July 3, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  9. PJ

    Pay for it all? Of COURSE we can- take the $300 BILLION in cost OVERRUNS yearly from the Department of Defense and spend it to rebuild America and we'll have PLENTY left over for deficit reduction. The only ones who object are the members of Congress who get campaign donations from the companies that benefit from the DOD wasting staggering amounts of taxpayer funds and the Republicans who run these companies.

    July 3, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  10. james

    Come one Powell! You betrayed the republican party. Now you sound words of caution! Obama was a well known LEFTIST in Chicago with the NEW PARTY! The media hid that fact! So change your color to yellow!

    July 3, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  11. D Hibl

    It appears everyone is starting to see where this president is taking this country and the massive debt burden he is about to put on us. This is not what the country voted for – and I did not vote for this president – everything the opposition said last fall about this man and his inexperience as a leader - prior to the election is now becoming America's nightmare and reality– we have to stand up now or we will have a country we no longer recognize .All who voted for this man can stand up and say "thank you" for not loving this country and taking us somewhere we do not want to go! Only those wanting handouts from the government and too lazy to go to work can love this leader.. This is not what America is all about..

    July 3, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  12. Ciera

    In the midst of all the craziness with the economy, it is so reassuring to think that the wisdom of Gen. Colin Powell dwells somewhere in the background. Solutions to numerous problems we face may be a work in progress, but it would boost my level of confidence to see some priorities established, and follow through to successful completion on a few projects rather than this ongoing "process" on multiple projects.

    It seems our president is frantically focusing on dousing multiple outbreaks of "brush fires" affecting special interest groups while unknown arsonists (enemies and frenemies of his young, inexperienced administration) are draining the water supply, leaving the houses of the masses largely exposed and and in jeopardy. After my house burns down I am not going to consider that the water supply was depleted – I am just going to recall that the fire department never showed up...BUT THEN AGAIN, THAT'S THE POINT OF DRAINING THE SUPPLY.

    July 3, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  13. Bernard Werwinski Sr.

    May I ask who cares what Powell thinks?. If this man was not astute enough to know that Obama was a leftist,Marxist from the beginning and voted for him how is he to be listened to now? Any semblance of honor and intellect that was ever,wrongly(in my opinion),attributed to him was totally done away with in his UN speech defending our Iraq fiasco. He is nothing more than another Washington sycophant who rose to the level he did by DC retribution mentality. So sad. BTW

    July 3, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  14. Brian

    Really, Colin? Now you come to the realization that Obama's a big government socialist? You could've done a bit of research before you endorsed the biggest spender in American history. Yeah, Bush's deficit sucked. You know what sucks worse – quadrupling it in 5 months. 'Preciate that, General.

    July 3, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  15. CL OT

    Thank you Captain Obvious...

    July 3, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  16. guy

    Powell, would be one of the first to know where all our money has gone, he has not said a word when billions were wasted in Iraq, and now Afghanistan, another war with no end in sight , but I am sure he wont be too concerned about the money spent there.

    July 3, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  17. Hannah Stevens

    All of these people now concerned with government programs to help the people, god forbid that our tax dollars are spent on the American people. Where was everyone when the bush people were spending like drunken sailors on illegal wars, no bid contracts, money just thrown away and lost forever. Government grew 12% under cheney/bush.

    July 3, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  18. Shannon

    countdown to all the Obama supporters who were praising him as such a hero a few weeks ago to begin trashing him now that he has dared question the Presidents policies. Powell has always been a war criminal whether he praises Obama or not.

    July 3, 2009 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  19. Ted

    I admire Colin Powell and maybe he has legitimate concerns about Obama's agenda. So how come he did not have legitimate concerns about Bush's agenda about invading sovereign countries and running up debts of one trillion dollars after having inheriting a surplus, none of which has benefitted the American people at all. Fair is fair.

    July 3, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  20. Mike working in Guatemala

    I generally agree with General Powell. We need to focus on a government that works but we also need to keep in mind that every additional government worker inplies a longterm human resources cost to the taxpayer for pensions, retirement benefits and healthcare.

    July 3, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  21. Dalton

    I am glad to see Colin Powell showing his willingness to criticize the president when he feels it is deserved. This shows that, contrary to what Rush Limabaugh and Sean Hannity say, Colin Powell is truly focused on whats best for the country regardless of partisan politics.

    Gen. Powell, please remain a part of the American political climate because your country needs you

    July 3, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  22. Reggie from LA

    Touche, General Powell. It does become large chunks to have to manage in terms of cost and in coordination. This approach WOULD begin to drive the shape of government.

    Everyone wants something and we want it NOW!! or we will otherwise hold this administration accountable as failing to follow through. Obama can't ask for patience because the RNC wants to assure unrest for ANY initiatives or objectives. They criticize highly either by spin, lying or just outright refusal to support. We've all seen it.

    By the by, WE ARE the children and grandchildren of the Great Depression who seemed to have been moving right along fine (not so much Social Security and Healthcare) until last administration. Interestingly enough, we've found ways to blame Obama for their failures to invest significantly into anything worthwhile. He's just paying the bill for their delinquencies.

    July 3, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  23. Fuzzy

    Colin remains level-headed, and his concerns sound the same as mine. On the foreign policy front, Obama has a lot of supporters from true conservatives (as opposed to neoconservatives).

    July 3, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  24. Wordygirl

    What, Powell is just now figuring out that Obama is a progressive? Obama is doing nothing that most of the conservatives weren't predicting during the campaign. Powell too star struck with the idea of a black president to care.

    July 3, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  25. Anonymous

    Finally he speaks up! Powell, you should have been the pres chief! Why didn't you run!?

    July 3, 2009 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
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