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. quoc

    To Jim,
    Where are you living ? Obama agenda has trippled the deficit and you say it costs less than the war ? Bush increased the deficit with war. Bush did not handle economy. Obama does not fix either. He actually makes it worse with his spending spree. I don't oppose ot his initiatives: fixing economy and healthcare, but I oppose to how he does it by spending uncontrolbly.
    He looks like the college kid with parent-provided credit card on spending spree

    July 3, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  2. Charles

    Well Mr P...what things should Obama NOT worry about and try to fix? Amusing how the neo's suddenly get concerned about "spending".. and the hot air about "tax increases".. not often addressing the "increase" is a return to what the shrub gave away to the well off.

    Still waiting to hear from the "money hawks" why the billionaire LLC MAX tax rate (read, BEFORE Deductions) is at 14% and the average hourly wage in USA is at $35K and their tax rate is at 33=35%%... Even more amusing how those folks are supposed to pay $300-400/month for "copayments on health care for them and family" as $35K post tax is about $20-22K? Well money wizards... what does that make their family budget look like?

    July 3, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  3. mommyingeorgia

    Problem is - Bush is the one that led the financial bailout, not Obama. King inadvertently tried to lay that at his feet. Powell is gracious in expressing his concerns, and he continues to have my respect.

    July 3, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  4. Don Jones

    A little concerned? A small step in the right direction, Now if we can just get the press to be objective and stop being tools of the progressives, we may save the country yet. When the press became the Obama crown, liberty started to loose.

    July 3, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  5. Chris

    Phil, I am convinced that your statement "Corruption, spending, intimidation" will be used in 30 years to define Obama's administration. Let's just hope that our country can survive a hostile takeover by big government, big business, and big labor. So far, it is looking like we may not. People need to realize that government action like we are seeing is not new. It has happened in many countries over hundreds and thousands of years. It always ends up with people being enslaved to the government. Look at Hitler's Germany, Mousalini's Italy, Stalin's Russia, present day China, Venezuela, and Cuba. Now Obama is standing with Chavez and Castro in support of a dictator taking over Honduras. Why would he do that? We should all be more than "a little concerned."

    July 3, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  6. EcoAZ

    It still seems that liberals dost protest too much. Your self consciousness is showing. From euphoria for whatever reason (I still can't figure it out) to the reality that you people elected an inexperienced Chicago ... um ... organizer and left wing democrat to the detriment of the entire country.

    Colin Powell I suspect was excited and euphoric at election time, but is, like millions of others, a bit more grim at the reality of the Obama and Pelosi regimes.

    Hopefully 4 years will go by quickly and without too much damage.

    July 3, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  7. Phil

    Ooohhh, Now that Powell has expressed concern with Obama's plans, will the Republican Chairman & Spokesperson, (Rush Limbaugh), let him back in?

    Eh, probably not. Powell still goes against Republican philosophies. He still speaks his mind, and has a mind of his own as opposed to one controlled by a daily briefing on talking points for the day, or a benign talk radio host who talks big, looks bigger, and actually does very little.

    An independent mind is the GOP's worst enemy. Dems fall in love. Reps fall in line.

    Enjoy the next several elections, Grand OLD Party. I used to WANT to vote for your principles. Part of me still does. But your candidates and junior high rhetoric won't allow me to.

    July 3, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  8. thom from montana

    To the Repubs, you put us where at now, the cut taxs and spend policies, that you've had since 60s has killed this country,. All we hear from you Repub, is your brain the fox news channe, no orginal thoughts all of you regurgitate what they tell you. Come on Repubs think forself you bunch sheep. we can't cut the taxes on the rich and go war every few years thats not answer. thats all we hear blah blah blah is cost money to be a American.

    July 3, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  9. Suzi

    I'll try it again...but expect CNN to moderate it out.

    Colin Powell you are a disgrace to being American and you were smart enough to know what this President was going to do when elected. To be concerned now is a day late and a dollar short.

    For those that think America can pay for all the bills and Stimulus along with Cap & Trade are in for a rude awakening. This President is going to take our country into third world status and it is happening right before our very eyes just because he is good looking and can speak well.

    We should not be looking at this from a Party position but simply as an American....and from the position that the middle class is the only group that pay for all of this...the ones that don't work don't pay and the corporations and Unions that bought the election along with SEIC and Acorn certainly don't pay...who's left?

    July 3, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  10. Ted Hensley

    I had the upmost repsect for Mr. Powell UNTIL he turned traitor to our country by endorsing a marxist. Our only hope is to throw ourselves under the wheels of this runaway train and hope that enough of us can put a stop to it. I am a Proud Member of the Party of NO!

    July 3, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  11. renobill

    Obama has done some things I disagree with, but no matter what he does or what anyone says he's a thousand times better than Bushy or McSame.

    July 3, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  12. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    You know, I read all comments and pretty much about 50-70% of the comments are either reinforcing their argument OR enforcing it, either way, they are not creating one, that's my point. And honestly? This is the best comment so far...

    "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)."

    Magnifico! LOL!!! 🙂

    Oh my goodness, is gonna be a good one...

    July 3, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  13. Dave Skinner

    We could have used Gen. Powell's "concern" a few years ago when we were embarking on an unnecessary war that we're still reeling from. If it wasn't for the hole the bush administration dug for us, we wouldn't need so many programs to recover from it. Gen. Powell, your time to help this country has come and gone.

    July 3, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |

    To all of you "Nay Sayers" – let's give President Obama some time to correct a lot of problems (ie; the Wars in both Iraq and Afganistan, the State of the Economy) which he inherited from the Bush Administration. During the Bush Adminisration's 8 years in office, Bush and Cheney did absolutely nothing about our dependence on Foreign Oil , the HealthCare Issues (which are draining us dry) and other issues such as Global Warming, Clean Air and Water. President Obama has only been in office for only five months and already has accomplished more for all Americans than George W. and Company did in two terms. And YES it does take spending money to accomplish these tasks.

    July 3, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  15. xargaw

    For the prior eight years, Bush did NOTHING except to strip the regulatory strength of virtually every department from FDA, EPA, SEC, FEC, FCC, et al. The fact that Obama is trying to do a lot should make every American pleased and supportive. Some activists complain he isn't doing enough, now others like Powell and beltway pundits whine he is taking on too much. They ought to be supportive.

    July 3, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  16. Milbs

    Yeah, it sure worked great when we focused on just one think like Iraq didn't it? Do you really think Obama enjoys the mess Republicans left for him? Thank goodness we have someone who can do more than just chew gum and swagger.

    July 3, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  17. chris

    Check your facts obamites.

    Bush jr inherited a recession too. FACT. Stop your stupid blames on W. Clintoon rodes the worlds biggest bubble to a "surplus" when it burst, we had a 16 month recession. It was likely reversed by the tax cuts/rebates that bush carried out in first couple months.

    Really, get an education before making stuff up. You are making up history. Thats close to psycosis.

    July 3, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  18. Penny

    Powell's words mean nothing to me. He lost his credibility, and with it, my respect.

    July 3, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  19. Bill

    I agree with Powel, all Obamas policies are Taxing the American people out of there house. The middle class will be poorer than what they are now.............

    July 3, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  20. barking republican ankle biters

    Keep crying republicans,im enjoying every moment after Cheney and Bush.They couldnt catch a cold or Bin Laden.Obama with Russias help will catch him.

    July 3, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  21. freyrhyme0206@yahoo.com

    Obama is doing very well, He may not be perfect but if you compare Bush and GOP leaders, Obama is still a way better, so, let's give him some time, it took 8 years to Bush to destroy everything, it will take some time. OBAMA 2012, your die hard supporter...

    July 3, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  22. Buzz Daly

    Colin would certainly know about troubling "agendas", since his stint as GWBs DL (Designated Liar) in the Iraq debacle, that's cost thousands of lives, needlessly.

    Republicans whining about huge deficits is very humorous, given their past history.

    Relax, Colin. Your credibility is nil with thinking people.

    Although, if I had to vote for a Republican, or face a firing squad, I'd probably vote for Colin.

    BTW–I served in 'Nam with Colin in the 11th Inf. Bde.

    He has a habit of stepping in it, it seems. Check out his My Lai connections.

    He's always being saddled with bogus information.

    Just sayin'.

    Obama is doing fine. He had a lot of manure to shovel out the way.

    Give the Brother a chance!

    July 3, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  23. Mark

    Please give me the name of a Republican President who has NOT grown the govrnment, and increased the debt.

    Reagan? More burocracy, more spending.

    Bush 1st? More burocracy, more spending.

    Bush 2nd? WAY more burocracy, WAY more spending.

    Obama is not spending money because he wants to. He DOESN'T HAVE A CHOICE. Somebody has to fix the problems left by Dubya! And fixing problems costs money.

    The point is that NOT fixing problems costs EVEN MORE money!

    July 3, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  24. Franky, Land of Lincoln

    You know, I don't know about you guys but they're calling out John in some! I've read one(Ithink Matt was his name in Fl and a good one) that John showed his true colors...I mean, that's why he's one of the boys, LOL!!! 🙂

    Where has that guy been that? Don't worry, we'll take care of him...:)

    July 3, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. Larry from RI

    The GOP is concerned over the Dems agenda – there's a news flash!
    Too bad Colin, your party implemented its agenda for 8-years and look where that got us.

    Come back and voice your concerns after we've had equal time to sweep up the enormous mess after your party's little elephant parade left town!

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