Powell rips Cheney: ‘My head isn’t exploding and I haven’t noticed any other heads exploding’

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s memoir is released on Tuesday and it promises to give a lot of behind-the-scenes insight into the George W. Bush administration.

But is it too tabloid-y? That’s a complaint coming from former Secretary of State Colin Powell. In an appearance on Sunday’s “Face the Nation” on CBS, Powell had a lot to say about how Cheney has been promoting his book.

“My head isn’t exploding, and I haven’t noticed any other heads exploding in Washington, D.C., and the explosive part of the book is when Mr. Cheney says it’s explosive,” Powell said. “But from what I’ve read in the newspapers and seen on television, it’s essentially a rehash of events of seven or eight years ago.

“What really sort of got my attention was this way in which he characterized it: ‘It’s going to cause heads to explode.’ That’s quite a visual and, in fact, the kind of headline I would expect to come out of a gossip columnist, or the kind of headline you might see one of the supermarket tabloids write. It’s not the kind of headline I would have expected to come from a former vice president of the United States of America. Mr. Cheney has had a long and distinguished career and I hope in his book that’s 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.” (RELATED: Dick Cheney in book: I used the Jonas Brothers to impress my grandkids)

Powell pointed to Cheney’s remarks about Powell’s 2004 resignation from his Secretary of State post and Powell’s role in the Valarie Plame affair as two of those cheap shots. Powell conceded there were disagreements, though, and suggested Cheney should have focused on the nature of those disagreements rather than sensationalizing them.

“[I] think what Mr. Cheney should let us see is the nature of those disagreements,” Powell said. “He should say why he disagreed with me and he should at least indicate why I was disagreeing with him and not just dismiss it with a wave of his hand and a barb that is intended to cause heads to explode rather than to illuminate the issue.”

According to Powell, the tone and demeanor expressed in Cheney’s memoir detracts from the vice president’s legacy.

“He’s taken the same shots at Condi with an almost condescending tone,” he added. “’She tearfully did’ this and that. He’s taken the same shots at George Tenet. And he also in some ways indicated he didn’t always approve of what President Bush was deciding. There’s nothing wrong with saying you disagree. But it’s not necessary to take these kinds of barbs and then try to pump a book up by saying ‘heads will be exploding.’”