Powell Blasts GOP's 'Dark Vein of Intolerance'

Former general says GOP needs to take a look at its relationship with minorities

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 13, 2013 12:33 PM CST

(Newser) – If you wanted to know Colin Powell's thoughts on just about anything, today was your day: Appearing on Meet the Press, the former secretary of state covered topics ranging from gun control to torture, but seemed to take particular issue with his own Republican party, saying that while he's still a member, "there's also a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party" that "still sort of look(s) down on minorities." He zeroed in on Sarah Palin's reference to President Obama "shuckin' and jivin'," calling it "a racial-era slave term." "I think what the Republican Party needs to do now is take a very hard look at itself and understand that the country has changed," he said. More highlights, as per Politico:

  • On cracking down on assault weapons: "I see no need for Bushmasters in the hands of an individual person who might be deranged. How much are we really giving up if we said that this kind of weapon should not be readily available to anybody who wants to buy one? Surely we should be able to find some meeting of the minds. Why can't we test everybody, or have everybody run through a screen to make sure that they're a responsible person before they're allowed to buy a weapon? Why can't we do a better job of registering things?"
  • On Chuck Hagel: "He's had a very, very distinguished public service record that he can stand on. I think he gets confirmed. I've read some of the responses that he's already put together, and I think he will make a very, very spirited defense of his position."
  • On torture: "We do not torture people. It is against American policy. You can always debate what torture is. I know what torture is." But "we can't be a nation that is lawless."
  • On Zero Dark Thirty's accuracy: "I really can't answer the question as to whether or not the movie's correct or what others have said are correct."
  • On birthers: "Why do senior Republican leaders tolerate this kind of discussion within the party?"

Gen. Colin Powell poses for a photo with his portrait at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 in Washington, DC.
Gen. Colin Powell poses for a photo with his portrait at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012 in Washington, DC.   (Paul Morigi/AP Images for National Portrait Gallery)
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