Colin powell on meet the press october 19 2008

MTP transcripts, resources and video - Meet the Press - Resources | NBC News

colin powell on meet the press october 19 2008

Click on a link below for information on Meet the Press shows. October 19, Former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell (Ret.), Chuck Todd, David. TOM BROKAW But first, General Colin Powell, welcome back to MEET THE PRESS. GEN. POWELL Thank, thank you, Tom. MR. BROKAW We indicated. a b "Meet the Press' transcript for October 19, ". MSNBC. October 19, (October 20, ). "Colin Powell endorses Barack Obama for president".

Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I'm troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions. So, when I look at all of this and I think back to my Army career, we've got two individuals, either one of them could be a good president.

But which is the president that we need now? Which is the individual that serves the needs of the nation for the next period of time? And I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities--and we have to take that into account--as well as his substance--he has both style and substance--he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president.

I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming into the world--onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I'll be voting for Senator Barack Obama. Will you be campaigning for him as well? I don't plan to. Two weeks left, let them go at each other in the finest tradition.

But I will be voting for him. I can already anticipate some of the reaction to this. You sit there, as a man who served in Vietnam, you commanded a battalion of st, you were chairman of the Joint Chiefs, you were a national security adviser and secretary of state. There is nothing in Barack Obama's history that nearly paralyze any--parallels any of the experiences that you've had.

And while he has performed impressively in the context of the campaign, there's a vast difference between sitting in the Oval Office and making tough decisions and doing well in a campaign. And he knows that. And I have watched him over the last two years as he has educated himself, as he has become very familiar with these issues.

He speaks with great insight into the challenges we're facing of a military and political and economic nature. And he is surrounding himself, I'm confident, with people who'll be able to give him the expertise that he, at the moment, does not have.

And so I have watched an individual who has intellectual vigor and who dives deeply into issues and approaches issues with a very, very steady hand. And so I'm confident that he will be ready to take on these challenges on January 21st.

And you are fully aware that there will be some--how many, no one can say for sure--but there will be some who will say this is an African-American, distinguished American, supporting another African-American because of race. If I had only had that in mind, I could have done this six, eight, 10 months ago. I really have been going back and forth between somebody I have the highest respect and regard for, John McCain, and somebody I was getting to know, Barack Obama.

And it was only in the last couple of months that I settled on this. And I can't deny that it will be a historic event for an African-American to become president. And should that happen, all Americans should be proud--not just African-Americans, but all Americans--that we have reached this point in our national history where such a thing could happen.

It will also not only electrify our country, I think it'll electrify the world. You have some differences with Barack Obama. He has said that once he takes office, he wants to begin removing American troops from Iraq. Here's what you had to say about that: Arbitrary deadlines that are snatched out of the air and are based on some lunar calculation is not the way to run a military or a strategic operation of this type.

Now that you have Barack Obama's ear in a new fashion, will you say to him, "Drop your idea of setting a deadline of some kind to pull the troops out of Iraq"? First of all, I think that's a great line, and thanks for pulling it up. And I believe that. But as I watch what's happening right now, the United States is negotiating the--an agreement with the Iraqi government that will call for most major combat operations to cease by next June and for American forces to start withdrawing to their bases.

And that agreement will also provide for all American troops to be gone bybut conditioned on the situation as it exists at that time. So there already is a timeline that's being developed between the Iraqis and the United States government. So I think whoever becomes the president, whether it's John McCain or whether it's Barack Obama, we're going to see a continued drawdown. And when, you know, which day so many troops come out or what units come out, that'll be determined by the commanders and the new president.

But I think we are on a glide path to reducing our presence in Iraq over the next couple of years. Increasingly, this problem's going to be solved by the Iraqis. They're going to make the political decisions, their security forces are going to take over, and they're going to have to create an environment of reconciliation where all the people can come together and make Iraq a much, much better place.

Let me go back to something that you raised just a moment ago, and that's William Ayers, a former member of the Weathermen who's now active in school issues in Illinois. He had some past association with Barack Obama.

Wouldn't it have been more helpful for William Ayers to, on his own, to have renounced his own past?

colin powell on meet the press october 19 2008

Here was a man who was a part of the most radical group that existed in America at a time when you were serving in Vietnam, targeting the Pentagon, the Capitol. He wrote a book about it that came out onon September 11th that said, "We didn't bomb enough.

Colin Powell backs Barack Obama | Reuters

It's despicable, and I have no truck for William Ayers. I think what he did was despicable, and to continue to talk about it in is also despicable. But to suggest that because Mr. Barack Obama had some contacts of a very casual nature--they sat on a educational board--over time is somehow connected to his thinking or his actions, I think, is a, a terrible stretch.

I want to ask you about your own role in the decision to go to war in Iraq. Barack Obama has been critical of your appearance before the United Nations at that time. Bob Woodward has a new book out called "The War Within," and here's what he had to say about Colin Powell and his place in the administration: He had resisted at times but had succumbed to the momentum and his own sense of deference--even obedience--to the president.

He was mad as hell. Powell left [the Study Group meeting]. Well, let's start at the beginning. I said to the president inwe should try to solve this diplomatically and avoid war.

The president accepted that recommendation, we took it to the U. But the president, by the end ofbelieved that the U. I fully supported that. And I have never said anything to suggest I did not support going to war. I thought the evidence was there. And it is not just my closing of the whole deal with my U. I know the importance of that speech, and I regret a lot of the information that the intelligence community provided us was wrong.

But three months before my speech, with a heavy majority, the United States Congress expressed its support to use military force if it was necessary. And so we went in and used military force.

My unhappiness was that we didn't do it right. It was easy to get to Baghdad, but then we forgot that there was a lot more that had to be done. And we didn't have enough force to impose our will in the country or to deal with the insurgency when it broke out, and that I regret. Removing the weapons of mass destruction from the equation I also assure you that it was not a correct assessment by anybody that my statements or my leaving the administration would have stopped it.

Removing the weapons of mass destruction from the equation, because we now know that they did not exist, was it then a war of necessity or just a war of choice? Without the weapons of mass destruction present, as conveyed to us by the intelligence community in the most powerful way, I don't think there would have been a war.

It was the reason we took it to the public, it was the reason we took it to the American people to the Congress, who supported it on that basis, and it's the presentation I made to the United Nations. Without those weapons of mass destruction then Iraq did not present to the world the kind of threat that it did if it had weapons of mass destruction.

You do know that there are supporters of Barack Obama who feel very strongly about his candidacy because he was opposed to the war from the beginning, and they're going to say, "Who needs Colin Powell?

He was the guy who helped get us into this mess. I'm not here to get their approval or lack of approval. I am here to express my view as to who I'm going to vote for.

We'd like to share with our audience some of what you had to say about the two men who are at the top of the administration. Videotape, July 31, GEN. Dick Cheney is one of the most distinguished and dedicated public servants this nation has ever had. He will be a superb vice president. They will put our nation on a course of hope and optimism for this new century.

Was that prophetic or wrong? It's what I believed. It reflected the agenda of the new president, compassionate conservatism. And some of it worked out. I think we have advanced our freedom agenda, I think we've done a lot to help people around the world with our programs of development. I think we've done a lot to solve some conflicts such as in Liberia and elsewhere.

But, at the same time, we have managed to convey to the world that we are more unilateral than we really are. We have not explained ourself well enough. And we, unfortunately, have left an impression with the world that is not a good one. And the new president is going to have to fix the reputation that we've left with the rest of the world. Now, let me make a point here. The United States is still seen as the leader at the world that wants to be free. Even though the numbers are down with respect to favorability ratings, at every embassy and consular office tomorrow morning that we have, people will be lined up, and they'll all say the same thing, "We want to go to America.

We are still the inspiration of the rest of the world. And we can come back. Init was moment where I believed that the new administration coming in would be able to achieve the agenda that President-elect Bush had set out of compassionate conservatism. I don't think it was as successful--excuse me clears throat --I don't think it was as successful as it might have been. And, as you see from the presidential approval ratings, the American people have found the administration wanting.

Let me as, you a couple of questions--quick questions as we wrap all of this up. I know you're very close to President Bush Are you still in touch with him on a regular basis? And what do you think he'll think about you this morning endorsing Barack Obama? I will let President Bush 41, speak for himself and let others speak for themselves, just as I have spoken for myself. It isn't easy for me to disappoint Senator McCain in the way that I have this morning, and I regret that. But I strongly believe that at this point in America's history, we need a president that will not just continue, even with a new face and with some changes and with some maverick aspects, who will not just continue, basically, the policies that we have been following in recent years.

I think we need a transformational figure. I need--think we need a president who is a generational change. And that's why I'm supporting Barack Obama. Not out of any lack of respect or admiration for Senator John McCain. And finally, how much of a factor do you think race will be when voters go into that booth on November 4th? I don't know the answer to that question. One may say that it's going to be a big factor, and a lot of people say they will vote for Senator Obama but they won't pull a lever.

Others might say that has already happened. People are already finding other reasons to say they're not voting for him. And so that remains to be seen. I hope it is not the case. I think we have advanced considerably in this country since the days of Tom Bradley.

And I hope that is not the case. It would be very unfortunate if it were the case. Finally, if Senator Obama is elected president, will there be a place for Colin Powell in that administration? I served 40 years in government, and I--I'm not looking forward to a position or an assignment. Of course, I have always said if a president asks you to do something, you have to consider it.

But I am in no way interested in returning to government. But I, of course, would sit and talk to any president who wishes to talk to me. You're not ruling it out? I would sit and talk to any president who wishes to talk to me, but I'm not anxious to rule it in. General Colin Powell, thank you very much for being with us this morning.

Coming up next, Decisionthe home stretch. And Chuck Todd, our political director, will take us through the electoral map. The Decision battleground, we'll have new state polls and our political roundtable coming up after this brief station break. Chuck, what's the big change from when we saw you two weeks ago? Well, what we did was we asked our state pollster to take a look at three states. One that was perceived to be leaning in McCain's column, one leaning in Obama's column, and one pure toss-up.

Let's start with the pure toss-up, Ohio. Well, our new poll for Mason-Dixon shows it was a toss-up before this morning, it's still a toss-up, 1 point race, margin of error stuff.

Ohio's been one of the few states that hasn't moved as much as we've seen some other states in Obama's direction. Now let's take a look at Wisconsin, speaking of states that have moved. This is now a point lead for Obama in this poll, double digits. We're, we're seeing--we're wondering why the McCain campaign, in some ways, is still actively campaigning there.

Republican Party pulled some money out, McCain is still keeping money alive there. Then we took a look at West Virginia. This is a state that popped recently. Well, it is still very close.

McCain has the lead That sort of tells the story of how this map has shifted, Tom. And what, what's driving all that, Chuck? Well, I think a lot of what's driving it is we're seeing the economy drive this thing. When you look at our current map right now, here's where we were two weeks ago with the toss-up states.

'Meet the Press' transcript for Oct. 19, 2008

And then now with the economy, and that's the best explanation for West Virginia right now, that you see a state like that move. That tells you that's a state that's always economically hurting a little bit, at least it has been over the last eight years.

And now you're seeing that whatever cultural issues that Republicans successfully used to get that state into the Republican column over the last two elections, they have struggled now.

The economy moved Florida. It's moved North Carolina. The banking center of Charlotte really hurting. But then, we've also seen some movement here in what I call the "region of Brokaw," Montana, and the two Dakotas, both now single digit races.

You're seeing--and frankly, we almost moved Arizona. There's some evidence there that that is a state that is now only a high single-digit lead here, you know, demographically.

Again, the economy, older voters. And, Chuck, as I've been listening to these two campaigns and watching their ads, it seems to me if you're a senior citizen in America, they're probably calling you up and say, "We'll come over and do your laundry and drive you to the early bird special if that's what it takes to get you to vote for us.

colin powell on meet the press october 19 2008

Well, you know, we talk all about young voters, and we talk about African-Americans, we talk about this, we talk about that. This thing is about seniors. The difference between Obama fighting for and Obama sailing past is older, white voters.

The thing keeping McCain still with a boxer's chance here is older, white voters. Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana--these are some of the old--have some of the oldest populations in the country. So, when these voters, if they start moving in one direction, if they move in towards Obama, which we've seen a little bit of evidence that way, that's how this thing becomes from a close electoral college battle to a landslide.

'08 Meet the Press transcripts, resources, video

And, by the way, one other point about our map, and we're seeing this shift. It's almost as if the McCain campaign is conceding the popular vote.

We're seeing a lot of tightening in places that while Obama probably won't carry them, he's not going to lose by large margins. That means the McCain path is solely now an electoral college path, and if he wins the electoral college, it's hard to see how he actually wins the popular vote, Tom.

All right, thanks very much. Kennedy October 16, After this interview, then-Senator John F. Kennedy calls Meet the Press the nation's "fifty-first state. After the interview, Hoffa was furious about being asked whether his insistence on dealing only in cash and keeping few records gave the appearance of impropriety.

The potential Senate candidate was coached by his older brother, President John F. On the day of the program, President Kennedy delayed his departure from Palm Beach in order to watch the show, but later told his brother that he was almost too nervous to watch. Ronald Reagan, making his first bid for public office, appears on "Meet the Press" with his Democratic opponent for the governorship of California, the incumbent Gov.

Reagan appeared on "Meet the Press" seven times -- all before he was elected president. Kennedy makes his ninth -- and final -- appearance on "Meet the Press" with Lawrence E. Kennedy was assassinated in California less than 3 months later -- shortly after claiming victory in that state's Democratic presidential primary. He was 42 years old. He has since appeared on the program as a U. Senator from Massachusetts 21 times.