*Former Vice President Dick Cheney warned heads will “explode” in Washington with tomorrow’s release of his new memoir “In My Time” – and so it began on Sunday, with former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who dismissed as “cheap shots” the criticism leveled at him, Condoleezza Rice and others in the book
It was the latest volley in a clash that stretches back to their first years in the George W. Bush administration, reports the AP. Cheney told NBC News last week, “There are going to be heads exploding all over Washington” after people read the book.
“My head isn’t exploding. I haven’t noticed any other heads exploding in Washington,” Powell said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “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.”
Cheney and Powell had numerous disagreements in the administration, particularly over policy toward Iraq and the run-up to the 2003 invasion by U.S.-led forces. In his book, Cheney says he believes Powell tried to undermine Bush by expressing his worry about the Iraq War in private conversations. “It was as though he thought the proper way to express his views was by criticizing administration policy to people outside the government,” Cheney writes.
Cheney says he pushed for Powell to be removed from the administration after the 2004 election, writing Powell’s resignation “was for the best.”
On Sunday, Powell termed “nonsense” Cheney’s description of how Powell went outside with his criticism of administration policies. Powell also suggested that Cheney wrongly took credit for Powell’s resignation from the State Department in 2004; Powell said he had always planned to serve only four years.
“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,” Powell said.
Also in the book, Cheney goes after former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for her “naivete” in her efforts to negotiate a nuclear weapons agreement with North Korea. The book also details Cheney’s view that “he saw no need to apologize” for the controversial words included in Bush’s 2003 State of the Union about Iraq’s supposed search for uranium in Niger that helped justify the war in Iraq. Cheney’s writes that Rice eventually agreed with him, and she “tearfully admitted I had been right.”
On “Face the Nation,” Powell labeled as “almost condescending” the tone of Cheney’s criticism of Rice, who succeeded him as secretary of state.
Regarding the current president, Powell, who famously crossed party lines to vote for President Obama in 2008, said Sunday that he’s not necessarily supporting him for reelection in 2012.
“I haven’t decided who I’m going to vote for,” Powell said. “Just as was the case in 2008, I am going to watch the campaign unfold. In the course of my life I have voted for Democrats, I have voted for Republicans, I have changed from one four-year cycle to another.
“I’ve always felt it my responsibility as a citizen to take a look at the issues, examine the candidates, and pick the person that I think is best qualified for the office of the president in that year. And not just solely on the basis of party affiliation,” he said.
Asked about the Republican field, Powell said there are some “interesting candidates,” but no one who has “emerged into the leading position.”
“So let’s see if anybody else is going to join, and we’ve got a long way to go,” he added.