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Secretary of State (Pres. Bush Cabinet):
Colin Powell on the Issues

Colin Powell on Abortion

  • Supports a woman’s right to choose. (Aug 1996)

Colin Powell on Budget & Economy

  • Government out of free marketplace & it’ll thrive. (Jan 1995)
  • Cut strategic oil stockpile; end Cold War spending. (Jan 1995)

Colin Powell on Civil Rights

  • GOP must reach out more to minority communities. (Aug 2000)
  • Inclusion even if you don’t believe in affirmative action. (Aug 2000)
  • Overcome black criticism by reaching out “for real”. (Jul 2000)
  • Affirmative action gives minorities a competitive choice. (Jul 2000)
  • No anti-flag-burning amendment. (May 1999)
  • Diversity over discrimination; it won’t go away by itself. (Aug 1996)
  • Didn’t attend Million Man March, but respects it. (Oct 1995)
  • Wants active government in protecting civil rights. (Jan 1995)
  • Equal opportunity without preferential treatment. (Jan 1995)
  • Urged reconciliation in L.A. Rodney King riots. (Jan 1995)
  • Skin color is not behavioral; sexual orientation is. (Jan 1995)

Colin Powell on Corporations

No stance on record.

Colin Powell on Crime

  • Building jails is a temporary fix, not the solution. (Aug 2000)
  • Build our children instead of building jails. (Jul 2000)

Colin Powell on Drugs

  • Can solve drug problem only by strengthening kids. (Jul 2000)
  • Assigned AWACS planes to fight drugs, despite opposition. (Jan 1995)

Colin Powell on Education

  • Promise Four: Marketable skills through effective education. (Jan 2001)
  • Junior ROTC is a social bargain; expand it in high schools. (Jan 1995)
  • Supports charter schools, vouchers, home schools. (Jul 2000)

Colin Powell on Energy & Oil

  • Member of Bush’s National Energy Policy Development Group. (May 2001)
  • Tax credits & more funding for renewable energy research. (May 2001)
  • Open small fraction of ANWR for regulated production . (May 2001)
  • Long-term energy stability avoids high-polluting emergencies. (May 2001)

Colin Powell on Environment

No stance on record.

Colin Powell on Families & Children

  • Promise One: Ongoing relationships with caring adults. (Jan 2001)
  • Promise Two: Safe places during nonschool hours. (Jan 2001)
  • GOP values fuel families; families build communities. (Aug 1996)
  • Family is important, but don’t impose “family values”. (Jul 1995)
  • A sense of shame is not a bad moral compass. (Jan 1995)

Colin Powell on Foreign Policy

  • Powell’s job: diplomatic solutions & disagree with Rumsfeld. (Aug 2004)
  • UN faces irrelevance if it does not respond to Iraq. (Feb 2003)
  • State Dept shakeup: More funds; more career officers. (Jan 2001)
  • American century gives way to “century of democracy”. (Jul 2000)
  • Don’t make up new enemies to fit old mission. (Jun 2000)
  • Cuba is an irrelevant Cold War leftover. (Jul 1995)
  • Haiti: Imperfect agreements are better than war. (Jan 1995)
  • Somalia: Feeding hungry OK; national-building not. (Jan 1995)


  • Economic strength more important than military strength. (Jan 1995)
  • Mao’s China had thorough thought control but not paranoia. (Jan 1995)

Colin Powell on Free Trade

  • Democracy flowers when trade is free. (May 2001)
  • Sold his book in China (and it sold well). (Jun 2000)
  • China: trading is better than shooting. (Jun 2000)

Colin Powell on Government Reform

  • State Dept. is under-staffed and under-funded. (Feb 2001)
  • Government should stay out of the way of free enterprise. (Oct 1997)
  • Believes in value of many government social programs. (Jan 1995)

Colin Powell on Gun Control

  • Reasonable investigation of gun registrants. (Jul 1995)

Colin Powell on Health Care

  • Promise Three: Healthy start and future. (Jan 2001)

Colin Powell on Homeland Security

  • Close Guantanamo; it shakes belief in US justice system. (Jun 2007)
  • We’ll defeat tyranny as we defeated communism & fascism. (Jul 2000)
  • No new nuclear weapons initiatives. (Jun 2000)
  • War communication has 5 audiences, including the enemy. (Jun 2000)
  • SDI is major conceptual breakthrough in nuclear stalemate. (Jan 1995)
  • Oil is a vital interest; humanitarianism is not. (Jan 1995)
  • Supports strategy of readiness for 2 near-simultaneous wars. (Jan 1995)
  • Originated “Don’t ask, don’t tell” as a compromise solution. (Jan 1995)
  • Make military leaner & more efficient. (Jan 1995)
  • Supports base closures; too many are Congressional pork. (Jan 1995)

Colin Powell on Immigration

  • Immigration is part of our life’s blood. (Jul 2000)
  • Value today’s immigrant as much as Mayflower descendant. (Aug 1996)

Colin Powell on Jobs

  • Kids need more exposure to work, like “Shadow Days”. (Jan 2001)
  • Government assistance is a poor substitute for good jobs. (Aug 1996)
  • Jobs are the best answer to most of our social ills. (Jan 1995)

Colin Powell on Principles & Values

  • Op-Ed: easier to win presidency than to win GOP primary. (Oct 2005)
  • America’s Promise: keep “The Five Promises” to children. (Jan 2001)
  • With GOP on economy; wants bipartisanship on social issues. (Nov 2000)
  • Raised poor, but rich in spirit & belief in America. (Oct 1997)
  • Big Tent of GOP restores the American Dream. (Aug 1996)
  • Colin Powell’s 13 Rules of Life. (Jan 1996)
  • Keep options open for presidency, but not ready yet. (Jul 1995)
  • Voted for Kennedy & Johnson on civil rights grounds. (Jul 1995)
  • Fiscal conservative & social conscience; neither party fits. (Jan 1995)
  • Would run with a vision; but doesn’t hear call yet. (Jan 1995)
  • Made newly aware of heritage on trip to Nigeria. (Jan 1995)
  • Buffalo Soldiers: acknowledge black service in army history. (Jan 1995)

Colin Powell on Social Security

  • Hard reality: reduce entitlements or raise taxes. (Jan 1995)

Colin Powell on Tax Reform

  • Lessen the burdens of taxes & debt. (Aug 1996)
  • Tax dollars are better spent if left in private hands. (Jan 1995)

Colin Powell on War & Peace

  • 2004: We don't have enough troops in Iraq. (Oct 2008)
  • Overwhelming Force replaced by Rumsfeld’s “Less is More”. (Oct 2006)
  • Pre-Iraq warnings to Bush about difficult post-war governing. (Oct 2006)
  • We must stay the course in Iraq & provide more resources. (Sep 2004)
  • Rejects Kofi Annan’s assertion that Iraq war is illegal. (Sep 2004)
  • Arafat must end terrorism to get to two-state solution. (Aug 2004)
  • Bush & whole Cabinet agreed on multilateral approach on Iraq. (Aug 2004)
  • Powell says that intelligence on WMD in Iraq not “solid”. (Apr 2004)
  • Contradicted Cheney and sought more UN involvement. (Apr 2004)
  • Invading Iraq means “owning” it, for better or worse. (Apr 2004)
  • Inspectors are inspectors, not detectives. (Feb 2003)
  • The facts show Iraq has not disarmed. (Feb 2003)
  • Iraq moved weapons to hide them from inspectors. (Feb 2003)
  • Saddam has enough anthrax to kill thousands. (Feb 2003)
  • WMD inspectors eluded by producing weapons in mobile labs. (Feb 2003)
  • Photo shows Iraqi jet modified to spray anthrax. (Feb 2003)
  • Iraq has at least 100 tons of chemical weapons. (Feb 2003)
  • Iraq has been trying to enrich uranium. (Feb 2003)
  • Intelligence shows links between Iraq and terrorists. (Feb 2003)
  • Documented ties between Iraq & Al Qaida. (Feb 2003)
  • Our future is frightening unless we act against Iraq. (Feb 2003)
  • Saddam killed 5,000 Kurds with mustard & nerve gas. (Feb 2003)
  • Post 9/11, we cannot allow Iraq to have nuclear weapons. (Feb 2003)
  • Iraq close to facing serious consequences for defiance. (Feb 2003)
  • We wrote Resolution 1441 to preserve peace. (Feb 2003)
  • Favored containment over invasion in both Iraq wars. (Nov 2002)
  • War cabinet split: Rumsfeld & Cheney hawks; Powell dove. (Nov 2002)
  • Predicted Iraq war would suck the oxygen from War on Terror. (Nov 2002)
  • Support Iraqi opposition while maintaining sanctions. (Feb 2001)
  • US need not choose between Israel & Arabs. (Nov 1995)
  • US has always stood with Israel; and will continue to do so. (Nov 1995)
  • Lebanon: providing “presence” not sufficient basis. (Jan 1995)
  • Unapologetic about not taking Baghdad; result spread peace. (Jan 1995)
  • Air strikes can’t guarantee changes; only ground troops can. (Jan 1995)
  • When I hear “limited” & “surgical”, I head for the bunker. (Jan 1995)
  • Predicted Saddam’s mischief in 1994. (Jan 1995)

Colin Powell on Welfare & Poverty

  • Promise Five: Opportunities for community service. (Jan 2001)
  • Teach kids volunteerism while young. (Jul 2000)
  • Reform the entitlement state, not just the welfare state. (Aug 1996)
  • Promote energy security with more LIHEAP spending. (May 2001)