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. Bill Sampson

    It is time to get everything done that fell by the wayside the past eight years, thank you very much, Mr. Powell.

    July 3, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  2. Avid Reader

    President Obama is turnign us into a third world country and he says he is only a little concerned. What will it take to be a lot concerned – 99% unemployment? No food, no jobs, no housing – May God help us all.

    July 3, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  3. John McCain

    I tried to warn you, my friend.

    July 3, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. travis

    i do agree with powell im a little concerned too i think obama is doing a good jobs i just wish he would slow down and think about how much money this stuff is gonna take democracts seem too think america has lots of money . We would if all these companies stop moving there business overseas or too mexico i feel wee should put money into starting companies that make the same stuff that we have here just make it here in the usa and then we don't need too buy all the stuff from overseas the obama can spend as much money as he wants cause everyone will have a job too help pay for it

    July 3, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  5. terry johnson

    I would like to see Gen. Powell at the table with Obama as Advisor at large. The power they would produce will bring a great deal of trust to the people.

    July 3, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  6. Bill

    Gee I wonder how Rush still would like Powell out of the GOP now?

    July 3, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  7. Anothersupportertoblame

    So here we have yet another "voter remorse" case for the socialist Obama. It is really a shame that the Obaminites did not look closer at him before voting for him. His agenda was clear to anyone not blinded by the annoited one.

    July 3, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  8. Dan

    Really Powell, a little concerned? Where have you’ve been, under a rock? Oh yeah, that’s right, you were Republican, then switched, and now your senses have come back and want to return to the side of sensibility, morals, integrity, and God?

    July 3, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  9. Emil, Franklin, TN

    Glad to learn that Powell has come to see the Obama his record clearly-CLEARLY-told us he was. I guess 'better late than never.'

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

    Mr Powell please talk to the radicals in your party. Ask them to help the President to succeed rather than hope he fails or hope that the US is bombed so they can push throw there agenda of making the rich, richer and world domination by the christian fanatics.

    July 3, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  11. Ron

    Message to Mr Powell

    In 1994 when the Republicans were looking for a leader, they called on you to serve. You rejected that call.

    In 2008 you made it clear that you endorsed higher taxes, even bigger government, and more Federal intervention in business when you endorsed Barack Obama.

    Now, in 2009, you claim to have the best interests of the Republican Party at heart, and you criticize the very spending programs that you voted for by endorsing Barack Obama.

    It seems to me, Mr Powell, that you want to dictate strategy to the Republicans, but weren't prepared to serve as their leader, and you want to criticize the big government that you chose.

    Tell us now, what again do you stand for, Mr Powell? Flip-flops?

    – Ron

    July 3, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  12. Mark

    ya think?

    I thought Obama promised the same health care as Congress? oh well. I'm more concerned about the cap & trade bill that is backed by wall street, has anybody noticed that hedge funds are buying up pieces of rain forest all over the world. There's another bubble on the horizon, be careful with your money!!!

    July 3, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  13. Dennis

    I would have much preferred Colin Powell as President. At least he has some common sense and realizes there is a limit to our nation's resources.

    July 3, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  14. RR

    WHAT? An Obama supporter worrying about debt, big government, and paying for it all?

    July 3, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  15. phoenix86

    Powell should have seen this before. It was obvious to all during the campaign. Obama's foreign policy is retreat and appeasement. His domestic policy is spend, borrow and tax.

    July 3, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  16. Bill in Illinois

    While I have the utmost respect for Mr. Powell he does need to take into consideration that the reason that President Obama is having to do so much so fast is due to the lack of action by the previous administration.

    I agree that it is a lot and will be costly but most of it is long overdue. He did inherit this mess and we need to keep that in mind.

    July 3, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |

    I agree that Obama has taken on many projects, however, he was given these problems (all of them, war, economic problems, etc from the Bush administration) How would the Republicans have solved these problems? I trust that Obama has not taken all of these projects alone. He has appointed many great minds to tackle a lot of what was left to them......Six months to solve eight years of termoil. Give me a break. We need more job availability, true, but energy, health and environmental jobs would help provide these jobs. It took eight years to destroy American, give it more time to rebuild.

    July 3, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. end the warz

    Where was Powell's "concern" whe he was flapping about the mobile biological warfare labs that brought us to war?????

    July 3, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  19. Alex

    Great call Colin! Now that the cows have gotten out of the barn, people are realizing our new young President has lofty goals and is hell bent on getting them done even if the numbers don't add up or the costs are beyond belief given the prevailing economic woes. It also seems President Obama has steadily forgotten his election promises and is proving to be "just another politician" out to grind out a legacy. The good part of all this is at least we know where we're headed for the remainder of his present term. I just wonder how large the national debt will be by then.

    July 3, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  20. ebony1

    I can understand the concern only if you're not prone to multitasking. President Obama can handle the task at hand and understand the cost it will take to help us begin getting out of this mess. As Americans we must get a grip on how this mess started and demand our Congressional leaders to stop the unnecessary bills that are not putting their constituents to work. Check your local government and see what they are doing with the stimulus money before we go pointing the finger at our President. Keep push for change Mr. President.

    July 3, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  21. Respect

    Was Powell concerned with Bush's agenda when he destroyed America, if not, his concern means nothing to an intelligent person?

    July 3, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  22. bimmer

    Colin, if u r thinking about a comeback, think twice. Which party u r going to run from? GOP? Not a chance.

    July 3, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  23. Nick, San Jose

    Translation: Rush was right.

    July 3, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  24. James

    First off, Obama is spreading himself thin... secondly, has anyone acually read the AMA voices of the uninsured? This isn't a lobby group, it is doctors trying to fulfill their hippocratic oaths, but unless you are a doctor, you wouldn't understand the difference. Thirdly, we need to cut the fat off of the government and start shaping our government so that it works better.

    July 3, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  25. JO

    What is interesting is that everybody that expressed concerns that President Obama is trying to do too much, including Colin Powell, did not express that for 8 years, George Bush tried to do too little for middle class America. If you think about it, President Obama is doing what any competent executive does, he hires the best people that he can, explains what he wants done and lets the do their job, reporting progress back to him, coming to him with the big problems in getting the job done. You all act like he has to do it all himself. He has "people" to get it done.

    July 3, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
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