Powell blasts Cheney's 'cheap shots'
August 28th, 2011
04:42 PM ET
10 years ago

Powell blasts Cheney's 'cheap shots'

(CNN) - Former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Sunday responded to criticism leveled at members of the Bush administration by former Vice President Dick Cheney in his new biography, characterizing Cheney's recent comments as "cheap shots."

Cheney takes issue with the actions of Powell, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former CIA Director George Tenet, among others, in the book titled "In My Time." While promoting the memoir last week, Cheney said there would be "heads exploding all over Washington" when his book hits the shelves Tuesday.

But Powell, a retired Army general, said his head and heads of others in Washington, D.C. aren't exploding.

Calling Cheney's use of sensationalist language more worthy of a supermarket tabloid than a former vice president, Powell said Cheney "had a long and distinguished career, and I hope in his book that is what he will focus on, not these cheap shots that he's taking at me and other members of the administration who served to the best of our ability for President Bush."

According to Powell, Cheney accuses him in the book of not being forthcoming with his opinions to former President George W. Bush ahead of the Iraq War in 2003. On CBS' "Face the Nation," Powell called the critique "nonsense."

"The president knows that I told him what I thought about every issue of the day," Powell said.

At the time, Powell said he told the president, "If you break it, you own it," in reference to the invasion. That was advice he said Cheney "may forget."

"You have got to understand that if we have to go to war in Iraq, we have to be prepared for the whole war, not just the first phase," Powell said. "And Mr. Cheney and many of his colleagues did not prepare for what happened after the fall of Baghdad."

Powell, who also served in the administrations of former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, said Cheney wrongly took credit in the book for forcing Powell to resign in 2004. Instead, Powell said, it was always his plan to leave after four years.

By the end of the first term, Bush's Cabinet "was not functioning as a team," Powell acknowledged.

"We had different views … not views that can be reconciled," Powell said. "And so I said to the president that I would be leaving at the end of the year after the election, and he ought to take a look at his whole team to try to resolve these issues because it was not a smoothly functioning team at that point."

Filed under: Colin Powell • Dick Cheney
soundoff (566 Responses)
  1. trevor

    Who really cares what they say about each other. All this proves is just how sad and pathetic this country has become when the entire bush administration is not in prison for torture and war profiteering. This isn't even debatable.

    August 28, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  2. DonJuan1943

    Dick Cheney has a public record of lying. ...frequently. Colin Powell has a public record of telling the truth. ...frequently.

    August 28, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  3. wleon

    If I had to choose which to believe, Cheney or Powell, hands down Powell is more truthful, believable and more honest.

    August 28, 2011 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  4. Laura

    Dick Cheney is and always has been a scumbag.

    Colin Powell is a smart man. He should have known what he was getting himself into when he signed on with the Bush administration. When you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas. Every. Time.

    August 28, 2011 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  5. Lttl GTO

    Colin Powell has served our nation and the world for decades as a military man as cabinet member. He was the most qualified person in either party to be a candidate for president last election. The same is true today. It sure would be nice to see him run and mend our country.

    August 28, 2011 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  6. SuRy

    Thanks to taxpayer funded socialized medicine Cheney lives another day...

    August 28, 2011 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  7. buckup

    Powell is more a leader than Cheney could imagine to be. Partisan differences aside, I would follow Powell in battle. Cheney still takes orders from Richard 'I am not a crook' Nixon, along with Rumsfeld; together they have done a great disservice to the USA.

    August 28, 2011 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  8. bob

    Way to go Colin Powell. YOu are the man of respect, not Mr. Cheney.

    August 28, 2011 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  9. jm

    Colin Powell has more class and morality in his little finger than Cheney would ever hope to have. --- "It is easier to pass a camel thru the eye of a needle than a rich man enter the kingdom of Heaven."

    August 28, 2011 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  10. denise

    Cheney ia a bully who likes a lot of attention.who cares?

    August 28, 2011 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  11. Carl D

    Get him, General. Chaney used you, and GW to set his own agenda. I am glad you had the guts to bail out without throwing the loser under the bus like he has done to you and GW just to get a quick book sale.

    August 28, 2011 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  12. DALE

    So who do you believe? General Powell of course.

    August 28, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  13. stoptheh8te

    Four Star General, Chairman of JCS, Sec of State. He has a track record of successes and more credibility than most in the public arena. A true American with proven abilities. I'd believe his version of past events over the former VP any day of the week. Powell is a straight shooter without an ax to grinde and we could use more like him!!

    August 28, 2011 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  14. Democrat

    I`d vote any day for Powell for President.

    August 28, 2011 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  15. Ric

    I like and trust Colin Powell. Dick? No thanks. Not so much...

    August 28, 2011 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  16. Whyputaname

    The question is, who is going to buy the book?....From what I understand it is just a remake of an earlier book that he wrote...

    I know I won't be buying that comic book.......

    Dick Cheney should just shut-up and go away....He took 5 deferments from the military...When asked why he didn't go when his draft number came up, he said he had better things to do then join the military.....What a coward!!!!

    Colin Powel, thank you for your service to the country!!!!

    August 28, 2011 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  17. Senior Citizen

    I would put way more credit to what General Powell says than Cheney. He seems to be a mean spirited, vindictive person. Why doesn't he just go to his ranch and count the money he has made off of this awful war that he helped to mismannage. It was started by he, Bush and Rummy with no plan on how to end it. This war is one of the main reasons this country is in the financial situation that it is in and it continues to drain our resources and especially the lives of our service personnel. Just go away Cheney your a has been!!!

    August 28, 2011 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  18. notogop

    Of course, I won't read the tripe written by this low-life, piece of lying slime, but I'm not suprised that this egocentric, megalomaniac would find fault with everyone other than himself. It's a shame he would point out the flaws of a person like Powell, since he and Ashcroft were the only one's in the entire Bush regime that showed even a modicum of respect for others, the constitution, and themselves. The rest were a bunch of lying, cheating, money-hungry sycophants with the intelligence of third graders in the slow section of their class.

    August 28, 2011 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  19. oldcoaldog

    Good job General. WE desperately need wishy washy, spineless people like you to assist us next year. Keep preaching it. WE need all the help we can get with the incompetent, doofuss, useless boob you endorsed at the top of the ticket.
    Draft Hillary now.

    August 28, 2011 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  20. gnomepark

    Does anyone really care what Cheney has to say now.

    August 28, 2011 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  21. zoundsman

    Geez, Louise ... Cheney is trying to wound another hunting compadre on his way out of the revisionist history forest.
    Nice guy.

    August 28, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  22. CHUCK

    I would be inclined to listen to General Powell vice hearing anything Dick Cheney has to say. Anyone can write a book, but when it most likely contain a series of one-sided statements and observations. No thanks I work hard for my money.

    August 28, 2011 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  23. Tim W.

    Colin Powell for President !!!!!!!!!!

    August 28, 2011 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  24. Jane

    Anyone who would listen to this evil man Cheney needs their head examined. He is one bad man. And now he writes a book?
    Absolutely no credibility. He's evil.

    August 28, 2011 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  25. Alina77

    Its just sad to hear, as a simple person I dont understand how can you spend millions of dollars and in the end you have "was not functioning as a team,"

    August 28, 2011 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
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