While saying he talks regularly with President Obama and his administration’s officials, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Monday that the nation’s 44th president has overreached and lost focus in his first term — and lost votes because of it.
Powell, a self-described moderate Republican who served as a top military, national security and diplomatic official under presidents ranging from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush, said he did not regret backing the then-Illinois senator over Republican Sen. John McCain during the 2008 election campaign.
But he said that Democrats suffered “a real body blow” in the recent midterm elections — when the party lost seats in the Senate and control of the House — in large part because Obama didn’t prioritize or communicate effectively enough.
“He should have focused on the economy … to the exclusion of most everything else domestically,” Powell told CNNs Larry King. “When you’re starting out as a president, you have to figure out (what) is most important.”
Powell said he has been “in regular touch with authorities within the administration and the president,” including talking “all the time” about its approach to Afghanistan. He credited Obama for stabilizing the economic system, and “doing a good job in … a number of directions with respect to Iraq and Afghanistan.”
He also offered mixed reviews of former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, calling her a “fascinating individual, … a political celebrity (and) a political force.” Powell said that her positions were “very populist, but they are not very specific as to what she would cut and what she would eliminate.”