Powell urges volunteering, says no role in Obama administration

January 9, 2009

USA/Colin Powell wants you to help out more.

The former Secretary of State and Joint Chiefs chairman urged Americans on Friday to help out their country by volunteering, and pointed to a Web site set up by Barack Obama’s inaugural committee where they can find opportunities in their communities.

Powell said ordinary Americans could help Obama dig the country out of its economic rut by helping out in nearby schools or nursing homes.

“I think there’s a fervor for the new administration coming in, and I think the new president can tap into this fervor through this program,” Powell said at a news conference.

Powell, 71, served as Secretary of State for Republican President George W. Bush but endorsed Obama, a Democrat, shortly before the Nov. 4 election.

He said he had no interest in taking on a formal role in the Obama administration.

“I have not been offered a job and I’ve kind of made it clear that I’m not looking for a position,” he said.

Obama and his vice-president elect, Joe Biden will along with their families spend the day before the inauguration on a volunteer service project, inaugural commmittee spokeswoman Linda Douglas said.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (Powell announces a volunteer initiative in Washington on Jan. 9, 2009)


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I don’t trust this guy one bit nor anything much he has to say.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

There isn’t a “fervor” for Obama. He only won with 52 percent of the vote.

If there was a fervor for Obama, then he would have won with 80 or 90 percent of the vote. I laugh when I hear liberal commentators say they can’t figure out why Obama wasn’t 90 percent in the polls during the election.

Well, that’s because there isn’t a fervor in this country for Obama, regardless of what the media tries to tell us.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

TC, the word fervor was used by Colin Powell not by the reporter or a “liberal commentator” and it was used to describe the whole incoming administration and not just Obama himself. However Obama’s job approval rating is running anywhere from 68% to 79% depending on the poll. Not quite up to your 80 or 90% fervor requirement but close.
Keep in mind that Bush’s approval rating is still in the 20’s, does that mean there’s a fervor to see him gone?

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

Jason, now you know how I have felt for eight years….. sucks doesn’t it?

Posted by Eric H | Report as abusive

I dont trust this guy either and I agree with TC as for aprroval ratings for Bush who cares he is gone it doesnt make the Republicans all bad in fact if I were the Liberal Democrats I would watch out because the Republican party can make a huge comeback and I believe they will they have needed a huge revamp in their leadership for awhile now and this is going to enable them to do it and probably a lot better than any liberal democrat can ever achieve and it looks to me like they certainly have a lot of hopefuls amongst the younger member’s of their party the Republican Party that is. The only reason Obama got where he got is firstly because Bush’s approval was way down and because of course Obama is a phenomenom to all Americans who like the fairytale idea of the First African American at the helm to make so-called history for them as a country….it really remains to be seen as to whether he can lead a country like America….I hope for his sake he can….to be a President of any country least of all America is no easy task and I bet Obama’s approval ratings are definitely going to slide drastically as the years go by it happens all the time with each President no matter what you cannot please all the people all the time and frankly who are we to judge these people would you or I ever make a better President I dont think so. As for Colin Powell I think he should be ashamed of himself for not supporting his own party given the fact that he did serve them in some pretty high offices in the land I heard that he could have run for president….why didn’t he?? I am sorry but somebody who turns his back on a party that he served does not deserve to be even interviewed or have his comments listened to at all because he is not to be trusted, in this I admire Hillary Clinton who although she lost she still remained faithful to her beliefs and her party this means she can be trusted and personally I think she would make a great Secretary Of State. Well done Hillary!

Posted by Gypsy | Report as abusive

Gypsy – Country first! Powell is doing what he thinks is right for the country, not simply for his party. Its that kind of party fervor and narrow-mindedness that got us into the incredible mess we are in now. I wish more Americans had the courage to think for themselves and choose country first! Anyone who has the courage to stand up for his country is a TRUE American! I agree with you on the “…reason Obama got where he got is firstly because Bush’s approval was way down”. Sometimes you have to be in the dark to see the light!! But to say it is the only reason is to insult the intelligence of all Americans. We have a pretty grueling election process. It takes fortitude, wisdom, intelligence and courage to put yourself on that pedestal and Obama proved his qualifications for 52% of our country!

Posted by Marcos | Report as abusive

Perhaps Powell rejected his party at this time because Bush/Cheny/Rice hung him out to dry in front of the UN by lying to and using him to advocate a war so baby Bush could make daddy Bush like him.

Posted by Chandler | Report as abusive

Marcos you speak about country first well I challenge you to find out the real truth about Obama the truth that the Biased Liberal Obama orientated Press refused to investigate and make more public to the “Intelligent Liberal American Public” who voted for him but never bothered to read up hard facts about who he really is, I think it is an insult to the U.S. that people like yourself did not care enough about the future of America to at least demand to know the absolute truth about exactly who Obama really is. It is interesting to note that not many people in the U.S. do actualy know who this man really is and voted for him anyway. I am not insulting American People just merely pointing out that you guys are pretty gullible and by the way that is known the world over we have seen just how little Americans really understand of what really is going on in other countries, your electoral process is by the way far too long and drawn out and as a result can result in a lot of truth about any candidate been much more effectively hidden due to the fact that I am sure most people become so tired of the whole electoral process they just wish it would end. As for Colin Powell if he is half the man he and other folk profess him to be he would have wanted to know the absolute truth and facts about who Obama really is, I dont care whether he was hung out to dry etc. it then just again shows what a bitter person he is with no real backbone to his beliefs. If he read up on Obama and followed through on some very real concerns that people of America did have concerning Obama and his connections, his past etc. then if he really is who everybody says he is then I am very sorry but this man Colin Powell is not standing up for his country because believe you me if he had read what I have read about Obama then he Mr. Powell should never have endorsed Obama for President if he Colin Powell stood for what he professes to believe in by being a Republican. Anyway on the Republican side of things it was McCain that Colin Powell turned against not Bush which is very sad because McCain did not deserve the bitter end of Mr Powell been taken out on him simply because of what Bush did to him, Colin Powell I have lost complete respect for him he is a bitter man not a courageous man basically he is a turncoat with no backbone what a shame. He ought to have known better. Oh and by the way 52% for Obama is nothing to write home about you make out as if the whole country was 100% behind him please dont make me laugh at your ignorance there is a huge proportion and I mean a huge proportion of the people who really dont like him and did not vote for him, you speak as if he had a landslide He did not and wait until he actually starts trying to lead America and I can promise you he is going to slide because inevitably the truth of who he really is is going to come out one way or another.

Posted by Gypsy | Report as abusive

aaaand –
It is time for the Repubs to get a grip on a Dem being president. When Bush was elected, I put my support behind him, even tho I did not vote for him. I gave his administraton a chance. Do we not want Obama to succeed?? Why do we want another failure?? Fervor?? YES, we should look at Obama with fervor. We are in a very deep hole. Getting excited over plans and options will help us crawl out.

Posted by Eloise | Report as abusive

I have the utmost respect for Colin Powell’s choice and the courage it takes to choose conscience over party. I do not see his endorsement of Barack Obama as turning his back on his party. I see it as Colin Powell using his brain. We have to admit that while he has done a couple good things, George W. Bush has failed the American People with his performance as President. And I think that is being pretty generous. And John McCain, while perhaps being one of our greatest living Americans and an exceptional Senator, would have been a horrible president due to his temperament, lack of intellect and awareness of American culture and society. I hope and believe that we have entered a new era of Politics where fear-mongering, paranoia and jingoism are replaced with integrity, fairness and rationality. But I can see by the messages left by Gypsy that we still have a ways to go before those values take hold. To suggest that just because we support Obama we have not gotten all the facts is intellectually weak and sleazy. I think Gypsy has been surfing the internets too much. The one where all the conspiracy freaks hang out, on the fringe.

Posted by Cargorilla | Report as abusive

[…] of sense and experience and sometimes spare time.  They may well respond in large numbers to Colin Powell’s encouragement to be a volunteer. The former Secretary of State and Joint Chiefs chairman urged Americans on Friday to help out […]

Posted by Give Back By Volunteering | Senior Money Memos | Report as abusive