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copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Today, Americans are engrossed in earthquake coverage.  The tremor in Haiti bought unimaginable death and destruction just south of our borders.  Events related to the recovery and rescues emerge as banner headlines.  Haitians Seek Solace Amid the Ruins. For a week now, the struggle to survive, revive the injured, and retrieve the bodies strewn on the streets of Port-au-Prince was also the central theme of most every broadcast.  In the midst of the misery, many Americans, felt desperate for a reprieve from the devastation that emotionally drained them. Millions took time to escape in a welcome distraction.  Sassy, former Governor and Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin Made Her Debut appearance on Fox.  Tomorrow another reality will replace these stories, just as each superseded the hoopla over Harry Reid’s reference to race.  Metaphorically, the tales provide persons, policies, and, or practices fifteen minutes of fame.  In actuality, these  fade from our mind quickly.  

One narrative can and will replace another instantaneously.  Americans need only an inspiration, a titillation, a temptation, or a tease to turn their thoughts from one subject to another.  Over the next months and years, a myriad of yarns will receive quick and ample consideration.  Populist positions, presented with flare could captivate the country again and then again.

A prominent person fallen from grace might be the nation’s next amusement.  A young boy, or girl, might seem to be in imminent danger.  Another sexy blonde accompanied by her husband could crash the White House gates.  People want “the dirt,” that is, as long as it is not toxic waste, or pollution news.

Ability moves Americans.  We are attracted to appealing personalities, presentations, and performances.  Authority impresses us. We will tune in if, perchance, the President of United States makes an appearance.  The prospect of a sensational speech draws international attention.   This truth is not lost on regular people, politicians, or the President.  Any or each of these individuals might use this “reality” to their advantage.

Mister Obama might, once again, plan to further his own fifteen minutes of renown.  On an issue as important as environmental imbalance, the nation’s Chief Executive did just that.   Mister Obama scheduled “about nine hours” to actively engage in climate change policy negotiations..  This might be considered a colossal amount of time.  After all, President Obama is, as many Americans are, busy.  

Whilst true; people have much to do, perchance, the Chief Executive and citizens have become thrill seekers.  In this country countless wish to be the provocateur.  Others only crave the provocative.  Scientists who study climate change would want to be amongst those who roust the people. Their research, while they believe it to be racy, for most is nothing but mundane.

The veracity is for most environmental explorations are as reality, mundane.  On Monday, it is snowy. Tuesday brings rain.   Wednesday will be sunny.  “Wait five minutes and the weather will change.”  What appears outside the window is merely a matter of natural conditions.  Excitement lies elsewhere. Enter animated images that move quickly across the screen.  Exit purported facts and figures.  Data does not deliver delightful moments.  Decoration, declarations, drama, any distraction, these are the diversions the Western Press provides, and the people demand.  

Possibly, that is why most of us missed previous reports.  In September 1998, headlines heralded, what we experience in modern times is the Fastest mass extinction in Earth history.  While fascinating, this discovery was nowhere near as delicious as Bill Clinton’s testimony about his relationship with a young female assistant.  That little tidbit could easily occupy more than the measured fifteen minutes.

Months earlier, the esteemed Washington Post, also examined the issue.  Mass Extinction Underway, Majority of Biologists Say.   However, for most humans, that morsel was nothing in contrast to the news that a Conservative Group Buys Reagan Ranch.

That the research reveals humans may be the reason for this horrific destruction is nothing since our day of doom cannot be foreseen in the visible future.  The 680-acre Reagan spread being bought by Young America’s Foundation, a 29-year-old group that teaches patriotism, limited government, and other values espoused by the former President, surely that will have an affect on all of society.

Of course, there was the article published late last August; Study Finds Big Storms on a 1,000-Year Rise.  Certainly, this is troublesome for those who  understand How Storms Can Trigger Earthquakes,   Unfortunately, few appreciate what they likely did not read, let alone realize.  No time to waste on climate change, report declares.

Americans are preoccupied with the abrupt, instant, urgent, today and perchance tomorrow, the earthquake in Haiti.   What traditionally garners our attention is massive, murderous, moments that miss those of us in the States by mere miles.  In times such as these, Americans come out en masse.  We donate millions of dollars to a cause.  We cry for what has clearly been a crisis for years.  

Yet, even as we attend to the plight inflicted upon those in Port-au-Prince, and throughout the Haitian terrain, we do not address the notion that man and womankind have an affect on what for eons ago was the natural balance.  In the midst of the mad rush to assist those who were injured during the seismic activity, most overlook what the majority of scientists thought obvious.  Research reveals Point to ‘Carbon Starvation’ as a Cause for Tree Mortality.

It might be said that Americans were consumed with the current circumstances.  There was no time, not even fifteen minutes to contemplate columns that appeared alongside news of the trembler.  The truth might be that dry statistics do not sway people.  

Prowess. Performance. Presence.  Power.  Pretty.  Americans are captivated by what they think cool.  Even corny tales can tempt people, or convince them of what is true.  Persons who are believed to be capable can also be a source of stimulation.  However, nothing compares to the person who falls from grace.  In a world full of individuals who watch television, endlessly, the trivial has replaced principled, profound, practical, and all that is pertinent.   A planet in peril, for citizens who pine for sizzle, is but a distant possibility.  Indeed, most muse; “In my lifetime, I have seen meteorological conditions change.”  The climate offers no warning.  The situation is not critical.

Some in the Press choose to substantiate that sentiment.  Man-made CO2 has minimal effect on climate change, claim global-warming skeptics. Distraction, and the attempt to diminish the deluge of discoveries, is far more electrifying than what appears in scientific archives; Humans Linked to Climate Change.  NASA Study Links Earth Impacts to Human-Caused Climate Change   Perhaps, President Obama said it best long ago, when he was amongst the masses  In 2006, the Senator penned . . ..

It’s hard to deny that all the sound and fury, magnified through television and the internet, coarsens the political culture. It makes tempers flare, helps breed distrust. And whether we politicians like to admit it or not, the constant vitriol can wear on the spirit.

The spin works precisely because the media itself is hospitable to spin. Every reporter in Washington is working under pressure imposed by editors and producers, who in turn are answering to publishers or network executives, who in turn are pouring over last week’s ratings or last year’s circulation figures and trying to survive the growing preference for PlayStation and reality TV. The spin, the amplification of conflict, the indiscriminate search for scandal and miscues – the cumulative impact of all this is to erode any agreed-upon standards for judging the truth.

Sadly, Mister Obama too can get caught up in the cult of culture of personalities, pandemics, Party politics, and a performance.  Given the chance to change the climate in a curative manner, an opportunity to transform policies, and amend practices that harm Mother Earth, Mister Obama faltered.   He fell into the habit that is all-too American.  Follow the favored fifteen minutes of fame rather than do the work necessary to understand, and bring about authentic change.

It seems that Mister Obama did, as citizens do; he chose the path of least resistance.  President Obama  performed in a manner that maintains his celebrity status.  Originally, the Chief Executive expected his travel to Oslo to be ceremonial.   Initially, he wondered whether he would even go to the Summit.  Indeed, it was not until late in November 2009, the White House announced that Mister Obama, who previously had not committed to an appearance at the summit, decided he would deliver a speech.

Extensive pressure from other world leaders and environmental advocates influenced America’s Chief Executive’s decision.  Most thought it vital that Mister Obama make the trip as a statement of American dedication to the climate change discussions. Heads of State from 190 nations, were expected to talk, and produce a definitive, albeit incomplete political declaration.  Surely, fame would be fleeting, if the possibility existed at all at the end of the twelve-day meeting.  A short, and less than fully constructive, Summit could not hope to strike a chord with viewers of reality television.

Pass the cookies and milk.  American Idol is on the telly.  In a country once proud to be the most educated, people perceive airtime is the ultimate achievement.  If an individual has yet to appear on the screen, they gaze longingly at those who have.  People dream of the day when fame is theirs.

Countless wish to be a star.  Be it Barack Obama who flies in solely for the show of an accord on climate change, only to offer none.  or the Golden Globe winners gone wild.  Fifteen minutes of fame is not nearly enough.    Vast numbers of individuals hope to create the video that will go viral, or a tweet that will be picked up by the press.  Perhaps, a facebook message will move the media to cover me, or as meteorological , biological, and experts in Climate Change say, our shared predicament  

The statement the planet is in peril evokes but a small amount of excitement if that.  Indeed, those who see no visible sign of climate change say where is the evidence.  One day it is cold.  The next morning the weather report says it will be warm.  Tales that tell of a dramatic rise and fall of the temperature seem unreal to those who think all is well.  It is as it always was, millions cry, at least in my world.  For billions of beings, life is dull and dreary, that is until fifteen minutes of fame comes their way.  With climate change, a constant, legendary recognition could arrive sooner than later.

Citizens could find themselves caught in a historic blizzard.  However, for the man in the Oval Office, just as for average American Jane’s and Joes, is a not big enough to make an impression on men, women, the President, Premiers,  who prefer to deny the abundance of documentation or answers to the question, does man, or do.Large Dams Alter Extreme Weather Patterns?

As an attractive television meteorologist, a glorious good-looking girl [or gent] with a pointer demonstrates. We watch the visionaries who prance and dance on the screen.  Surely, a physically appealing person can predict the future with flare and finesse.  Scientists may know much, but do not entertain, titillate, or show us what we want, reality in the form of fun, folly, and fulfillment.  Perhaps, the planet in peril will furnish what environmental experts cannot.

Reference Reality . .

I Told You So – Sort Of

copyright © 2009 Forgiven. The Disputed Truth

After watching the Republican responses to the passing and signing of the Presidents stimulus package it is becoming abundantly clear what their strategy will be for the next few years. They will stage these phony displays of public outrage and then at the same time take credit for any benefits from the stimulus package. First let’s be clear about whether this bill was bi-partisan. In order to do this you have to separate the Republican Party from the Washington Republicans many of whom represent solid Republican base districts that were gerrymandered by Tom Delay and his cohorts from the Republicans who represent statewide constituencies like governors.

Most Republican governors who are not seeking future national office are in strong favor of the stimulus bill. So far the ones who have spoken out against it are Texas Governor Rick Perry, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. It will be interesting to see how many of these governors will be lining up for a 2012 presidential bid.

Many Republicans are strategically placing themselves to have the best of both worlds. If the Obama economic plans do not work they will say we told you so, if they do work they will say it was our opposition and not the economic plans of the President that turned the economy around. The Republicans are gambling that they will be able to steal the credit for the economic turnaround hoping that by the time the economy does turn around the voters will have forgotten their opposition to all of the President’s economic policies.

This strategy really exposes the Republicans deep-seated hostility towards the American electorate. They are willing to be seen as rooting for the economy to crash and taking concrete steps to bring it about while at the same time believing that the American public won’t remember their opposition to the economic policies that succeeded. Basically they are saying the American public is so stupid that they can be easily duped by sound bites and imagery. Granted there was a day in American politics when these strategies were successful, however what the Republicans and many Washington pundits have failed to realize is that a new bell has rung and once rung it cannot be un-rung.

American voters are becoming even more engaged not less engaged in the political process. There are more outlets for information than there ever has been so the nightly sound bite and sweeping political imagery has lost its effectiveness. The Republicans may think this is 1984, but they are going to be in for a rude awakening. The American public is not looking for a return to past failed policies and phony cultural wars. The Republicans are pinning their hopes in 2010 on the fact that the economic crisis they helped to engineer is so deep that there will be little change by election time and they can tout the President’s economic policies as failures. They are already laying the groundwork for this strategy by claiming that the economic policies of FDR were ineffectual during the Great Depression because there wasn’t instant success.

What they fail to mention and what many Americans who survived during that period often state is that while those FDR policies did not completely turn the economy around they did help to stem the hardships of the depression and gave the public hope and confidence that their government was trying to help them. Imagine how much worst the situation would have been if the Republicans had been successful in curtailing the programs of the New Deal.

In similar fashion the Republicans of today are trying to reduce the size and scope of the President’s economic policies so they can claim that they were right. These so called “principled” men who took a budget surplus and created the largest deficits in history are now claiming to be budget and deficit hawks. During the debate concerning the President’s stimulus package many Republicans stated that their opposition to the bill was that it did not address the underlying problem of our economic problems, which according to them was the housing market. So one would think that when the President announced his plan to help shore up the housing market and try to keep families in their homes that the Republicans would be ready to support it; right? Wrong. Almost to a man as with the Stimulus Bill the Republicans are lining up to denounce the plan. The Republicans are not only the “Party of no” they are also the Party of no ideas.

The economy at some point will rebound we all know this. Our economy is now and always has been cyclical. The question then becomes is the government responsible for setting in place safety nets to help reduce the suffering of its citizenry while at the same time instituting policies that will reduce the likelihood of similar catastrophes or is it the governments job to sit and watch as its citizenry suffers the hardships and horrors of a system many have no direct control over and receive only minimal benefit from?

The Republicans are betting that by the time the economy turns around that they can tell Americans that the Republican’s magic economic fairy was responsible and not the policies of this administration, that it was their opposition that made the recovery possible. So either way they were right. When all you have to do is sit and watch you are afforded the luxury of saying I told you so, but when you are responsible for the welfare of a nation that luxury is no longer available. Only a child sits and waits to say I told you so while adults work to solve problems. Our country does not have the time for children’s games, we need adults.

Hypocrite: the man who murdered both his parents… pleaded for mercy on the grounds that he was an orphan.  ~ Abraham Lincoln

Prettier Profile of Sarah Palin



Sarah Palin Takes On The Media!! Exclusive Interview for “Media Malpractice”

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Sheeeeeeeeeeeeee’s back, not that she ever left.  Sweet, some say sensational, the sizzle that is Sarah Palin has returned with a vengeance.  Only days into the New Year, with change in the wind, Jeff Ziegler, a former TV sportscaster and radio talk show host sat down with the Alaskan Governor to discuss the past.  The topic was “Media Malpractice.”  Sarah Palin was the featured guest.  The forum allowed the former Vice President a platform from which to speak, to share her views authentically.

Anxious to meet the once candidate, the eager Reporter traveled to the cold North Country.  An in-depth interview ensued.  The conversation “started early and ended late.”  Mister Ziegler, an objective Journalist, attests to the fact that he has consulted with “a lot (of) big-time “celebrities.”  He adds, “Sarah Palin was the most prominent” person he ever spoke with.  Yet, he sincerely avows, “she was also by far the nicest, most sincere and, seemingly, honest subject that I have ever questioned.”  

Of course, the self-proclaimed “fan,” confesses he was at  the Republican Convention.  He heard Sarah address the massive audience publicly.  He considers the speech, the performance, to be, “by far the finest he has ever personally witnessed.”  Yet, he explains, now, as a documentary filmmaker Ziegler thinks himself a cynic.  Hence, he decided it was vital that he see for himself what Governor Palin was really like.

Hence, he arranged for a private meeting with the former Vice Presidential candidate at her house.  New mother, and daughter Bristol Palin greeted Mister Ziegler at the door.  She was polite and led him into the abode.   Her mother, the gracious and did he mention gorgeous Governor also greeted him.  However, Sarah was not yet put together.  Therefore, she excused herself and told the crew to make themselves comfortable.  As Ziegler assessed, when a person visits the Palin family, they quickly realize everyone and every aspect of their lives is “absolutely real and everything about them seems 100% sincere.”  Certainly, Sarah Palin is.

Once the cameras rolled, the interviewer saw Governor Palin just as she is.  She sniped.  She snipped.  She said exactly what was on her mind.  When asked of Katie Couric and the series of on screen conversations, Sarah expressed her disgust for her handlers.

I knew it didn’t go well the first day, and then we gave her a couple of other segments after that.  And my question to the campaign was, after it didn’t go well the first day, why were we going to go back for more?  And because however it works, you know, in that upper echelon of power brokering in the media and with spokes persons, it was told to me that, yes, we were going to go back for more.  And going back for more was not a wise decision either.

Sarah Palin was noticeably annoyed as she reflected on what for her had been an awful experience.   Then, seconds after she shared her disdain for poor decisions on the part of the campaign, she was given the opportunity to watch Katie Couric speak of the same situation.  

CBS Correspondent Couric wondered why other Journalist had not asked the Vice Presidential candidate questions she had posed during their dialogue.  The former Mayor of Wasilla, Palin proclaimed in disgust, “Katie, you’re not the center of everybody’s universe.”  

Admittedly, the lovely lady, who would have been America’s Vice President had she possibly, been of another “class,” or so she believes, said, “I was just too flippant in my answer back to her.”

However, the Governor surmised, a glib attitude did not keep Sarah out of the White House.  The Alaskan Chief Executive explained; “Had I been chosen perhaps to run as a reformer on the Democrat ticket, you would have seen an absolutely different, and I think, if you will, a much prettier profile of Sarah Palin and the Palin family and my administration.”

Perhaps, we would have, although, many, but not filmmaker Jeff Ziegler, say, thankfully, we will never know.  That is at least not for another four years.  By then, Sarah Palin will have surfaced again and again.  America will have a better sense of who Sarah Palin is.  The country may conclude as the documentaries Director, Jeff Ziegler did.  “I now know that Sarah Palin is exactly who I thought she was.  I also know now, with morally certitude, that the media assassination of her, her character and her family was one of the greatest public injustices of our time and I am totally justified in devoting my life to correcting the historical record.”

The Prettier Profile . . .

Pure Palin; Sarah Ponders Profusely



Palin One-On-One

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Palin, Palin, Palin.  No matter where you might turn, eyes are on Sarah Palin and her trek.  The Vice Presidential candidate ponders the future, her fun, and the follies of elections.  The Governor does not wince, when she contemplates the win that escaped her and her fellow nonconformist, the man at the head of the ticket John McCain.  Sarah sees no personal failures.  Nor does the Alaskan resident recede when asked of possibilities.  Might she pursue the Presidency, G-d willing.  Sarah ponders it all.  Live, from The Last Frontier, the maverick shares memories and muses of what might be.

Travel hither and yon, on every television screen, nationwide, there she is,  Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin.  While she may not have made it to the White House, this time, Sarah is prepared for “twelve.”  The once Mayor of Wasilla likes to refer to the next Presidential Election in 2012 as a familiar number, one she thinks might be her objective.  However, she trusts only G-d can genuinely know what the future will bring.  Sarah Palin has faith.  Doors will open; the Lord will show her the way.  So she said as Americans officially observed Veterans Day, millions more, interest was elsewhere.  

Countless, authentically tuned in to see interviews with Sarah.  On November 10, 2008, six days after she and her fellow Grand Old Party nominee, John McCain conceded in this 2008 election former Vice Presidential candidate Palin appeared on her favorite network news station, Fox.  Greta Van Susteren, goes, or went On the Record with the Governor of Alaska.

The day after, Sarah Palin spoke with Matt Lauer on The Today Show.  Fans of the former Vice Presidential aspirant flocked to their sets.  Countless did not wish to miss a word from the woman they hope will be President some day, Sarah Palin.  As citizens sat on the edge of their seats, they embraced the ambition of the lovely lady they followed since the Republican National Convention.  Many continue to express commitment to the cause; Sarah, Sarah, Sarah!  Certainly, Greta Van Susteren is not only on record with Governor Palin, she is in her home, with her family, and perhaps hopeful that one day this woman will represent America in the Oval Office.



Exclusive Web Video

Governor Palin Part I

Governor Palin Part II

Governor Palin Part III

Governor Palin Part IV

The next day there was more.  Sarah Palin spoke of what preceded her rise to the national stage.  The Governor “gossiped” with a national audience as she came to grips with how her rise to national prominence occurred.  Sarah Palin spoke of the saga Behind the Nomination.  Sarah Palin shared stories of her first encounter with the man she considers a beloved champion, Republican Presidential nominee, and fellow risk-taker, John McCain.

Thankfully, for those who treasure the maverick spirit exemplified in the earnest Sarah Palin, there is much more.  There will be other conversations.  On November 12, 2008, only a day later, Wolf Blitzer will air his substantive interview with the Grand Old Party Governor, Sarah Palin.  The broadcaster will ask Sarah of her goals, her dreams, her hopes, and perhaps those of her base, the real Americans.  Until then, citizens can commune with her cohort, John McCain who sat with Jay Leno, also on Veterans Day.  

It may be apt; veterans, the Vietnam Vet who did or did not vet his first running mate, and Sarah Palin saturate the airwaves on a day reserved for reverence for soldiers who saw a fight.  Please enjoy what for some is entertainment, or election excitement.





America, need not wait long.  The Governor will grab the stage in Miami.  Sarah Palin will keynote at a convention held for Republican Chief Executives.   She will appear with Wolf, Wayne, Jane, and Jack, anyone who will listen.  Sarah Palin is intent.  She will show America she did not lose, and she will not fade quietly into the background.

Sarah Palin, once chosen to stand on the national and international stage will not be left behind.  Fear not fans and followers; Governor, perchance, Senator, and then President, Sarah Palin is here to stay!

To Ponder Palin, Palin, Palin . . .

We Were Warned



The Daily Show: International Male

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Conservatives clamored; if Americans elected Barack Obama as President, unthinkable change would transform the planet as we know it.  Republicans warned, there would be war in the streets throughout the land, people would respond violently.  An international incident would certainly occur.  World leaders would test the “inexperienced” Commander.  Certainly, the Illinois Senator would be stunned, awash in angst.  If Obama were in the Oval Office, it would become more obvious.  He was not prepared to command a country as great as the United States of America.  The people, from every nation would take advantage of the inexperienced leader.

During the campaign, Sarah Palin saw what her constituents feared and capitalized on their concerns.  She addressed the ample alarm from the podium.  When her message was questioned, she retorted, she had proof.  Barack Obama was not equipped to govern.  Governor Palin thanked the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee for the confirmation of her thoughts.  Alaskan Executive Palin pointed to the words of the then Vice Presidential nominee, Joe Biden.  In a Seattle fundraiser, the Foreign Relations expert cautioned,  “We’re gonna find ourselves in real trouble when we get elected.”  

John McCain, the Presidential aspirant, advanced the clamor when he too recounted the prophecy.  “Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

The Confederate Yankee rejoiced when the Delaware Senator stated, “Mark my words;  . . . the world is looking.”  

Persons on the Right could not resist the temptation to omit the full statement, “‘They’re going to find this guy’s got steel in his spine.”  Grand Old Party participants knew better.  The Right relentlessly explained, a President Obama would be a risk to the nation.  Indeed, if Barack Obama were Commander-In-Chief, the country would suffer.  The world would not bow at his feet as the American press and people had.`

Republicans ranted; if Barack Obama were placed in the Oval Office, in every part of this planet, adversaries would know, American shores were vulnerable.  The world’s superpower was no longer safe or secure.  Foreign foes would certainly attack.  Traditionalists warned; if Obama were this nation’s Chief Executive, allies would have abundant reason for fear.  McCain and Palin were unwilling to ponder possibilities, such as Six More Foreign-Leader Calls for Obama.  

The two, and those who advocated for them, could not imagine a time when Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero of Spain, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy, President Lech Kaczynski of Poland and President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan would request a conversation with Commander-In-Chief Barack Obama.  Nor would they wish to.

‘That One,’ Conservatives would remind the public, the Socialist, would not assist American businessmen and women.  Hence, he could not be relied upon to offer relief to other nations.  Traditionalists attested to what they thought fact, an Obama Administration would not advance democracy.  Barack Obama, the Republicans reminded, does not know how to defend a country.  He has never held such a high office.  

The “Right” rejected the notion that John McCain also had not served his country in the White House.  They preferred to posit Palin as the most qualified manager among the four possible Presidential [and vice Presidential] candidates.  After all, Sarah Palin had served as an Administrator.  She managed a city and a state.  She is a beloved leader of substance.  The Governor of Alaska and her supporters, former New York Mayor, Rudy Giuliani among them, avowed, she could handle the job.  

Another Republican, who earlier deferred to the wisdom of John McCain, Fred Thompson, assured America, Thompson said Palin has the experience needed in Washington.  The American politician called her “a woman who has actually governed rather than just talked a good game on the Sunday talk shows and hit the Washington cocktail circuit.”

Well, perhaps for those who think politics is but sport and the District of Columbia beltway is but a party for the charismatic who were able to close a deal, the recent competitive row is complete.  The results are in.  The scorecard is now full.  Barack Obama is the successor, and just as the Grand Old Party predicted, the world reacted.  The sentiment can be expressed in but a single word,  “Elation.”

Emotional events in the streets were realized.  They were just not the raucous riots John McCain, Sarah Palin, and Republicans expected  All were peaceful.  People did parade en masse.  No one marched; many danced.

“The New World,” the Times of London declared on its front page, beneath a huge smiling portrait of Obama.

“One Giant Leap for Mankind,” echoed the Sun. . . .

“A lot of people told me they had tears in their eyes last night. I was one of them,” Randa Habib, a Jordanian writer and political analyst, said Wednesday.  . . .

[L]egions of jubilant supporters set off firecrackers in El Salvador, danced in Liberia, and drank shots in Japan. Good wishes went streaming Obama-ward from homemakers in Indonesia . . . and from Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who also beat long odds to lead his country.

“Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place,” said one letter addressed simply to “Senator Barack Obama, Chicago.”

Its author: Nelson Mandela, the first black president of South Africa, writing to the first black president-to-be of the United States.  . . .

Those inspired by Obama’s origins and accomplishments include French political activist Patrick Lozes, the son of an immigrant from the African nation of Benin.

“This election is going to improve the image the U.S.A. has in our neighborhoods,” Lozes said of France’s heavily Muslim working-class enclaves. “The American dream comes back to life.”

Tens of thousands of Europeans turned out to catch a glimpse of Obama during his tour of the continent over the summer. Many are counting on him to restore a more harmonious relationship between the U.S. and Europe, after recent years of tension over the war in Iraq and matters such as climate change.

A similar hope lives in Mexico, where former Foreign Secretary Jorge Castañeda wrote in Wednesday’s Reforma newspaper: “Obama won, the map of the United States was transformed and for Mexico an extraordinary opportunity has opened . . . because it will be infinitely simpler to be a neighbor, partner and friend of the United States with Obama.”

Republicans are “Right” again.  The world is not as it once was.  People, in every corner of the planet were moved to respond.  Common folk could not be contained.  Presidents, Prime Ministers, powerbrokers, and the populace as a whole were unbound.  The restraints imposed by Grand Old Party rule were broken.  People felt liberated.  Freedom from oppression, rather than fear rang out.  Flags flailed.  Yet, not as forecasted by Conservatives, none were burned when the world realized Barack Obama is America’s President.

References for Republican Rally . . .

The vet who did not vet



The Vet Who did Not Vet

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Some may wonder why a man as experienced as John McCain might have chosen a Vice Presidential candidate with so many skeletons in the closet.  Many muse; what might have possess this chap to do as he did.  Males among us know what women have wondered about.  Chaps will confess; “There is something about Sarah.”  

After the Vice Presidential debate a few fine fellows admitted, when sweet Sarah Palin winked, they sat up a little straighter.  New Republic Columnist, Rich Lowry wrote, “I’m sure I’m not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, “Hey, I think she just winked at me.” And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America.”  

Gents will attest to the power of a flirtatious female.   Some will confess; they swooned when sexy Sarah showed how sensational she could be.  John McCain might only state, he saw himself in the lovely lady.

The Arizona Senator, upon meeting Sarah Palin one time, knew, he did not need to vet her.  There was no need to scrutinize her record.  Any man can see what Sarah has to offer, particularly in the light of day, while under a sycamore tree.

The Republican Presidential aspirant saw all he needed too when he first met Sarah Palin in February, at the governors’ convention in Washington.  When they saw each other again, the afternoon before he selected her as his running mate, the man with twenty-six years in politics was more certain.   The second encounter was at his ranch in Sedona Arizona, on August 28, just four days before the Grand Old Party convention.  John, the suave soldier saw she has great gams.  This beauty queen’s skin and teeth glow brightly.  Her eyes . .  John was mesmerized.

McCain took Palin to his favorite coffee-drinking spot down by a creek and a sycamore tree. They talked for more than an hour, and, as Napoleon whispered to Josephine, “Voilà.”

One does not have to be a psychoanalyst to reckon that McCain was smitten. By no means am I suggesting anything untoward between McCain and his running mate. Palin is a governor, after all. She does have an executive résumé, if a thin one. And she’s a natural politician who connects with people.

But there can be no denying that McCain’s selection of her over others far more qualified — and his mind-boggling lack of attention to details that matter — suggests other factors at work. His judgment may have been clouded by . . . what?

Science provides clues. A study in Canada, published by a British journal in 2003, found that pretty women foil men’s ability to assess the future. “Discounting the future,” as the condition is called, means preferring immediate, lesser rewards to greater rewards in the future.

In the immediate, John was gratified.  A gorgeous woman wooed him and the throngs that John McCain needed to secure enthusiasm for his campaign.  Sarah sang Senator McCain’s praises.  She electrified crowds and coyly charmed the man who provided her a cherished place on the political stage.  There was chemistry between the two.

McCain spokesmen have said that he was attracted to Palin’s maverickness, that she reminded him of himself.

Recognizing oneself in a member of the opposite sex (or the same sex, as the case may be) is a powerful invitation to bonding. Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in the river, imagining it to be his deceased and beloved sister’s.

John McCain might have mistaken the image that sat before him  to be his beloved benefactor, the one and only who might praise him while she provided the long sought after women’s vote.  However, had the Arizona aspirant read the research he might have realized, women would not likely be swayed by feminine wiles.  

Daughters of Eve are not so easily enchanted by the presence of an attractive female.  For the fairer sex, emotional intoxication did not cause them to forget rewards that might be better reaped by delayed gratification, and more research, at least not when in the company of someone as sizzling as Sarah.

Famed feminist Gloria Steinem states, “This isn’t the first time a boss has picked an unqualified woman just because she agrees with him and opposes everything most other women want and need.”  Kathleen Parker, a Conservative Columnist, also heralds the haste with which John McCain selected a woman.  Perhaps, more importantly, this female whose mystique has been as a life-long Republican, speaks of the waste.  Parker, who pens for the National Review, a  forum for the “Right,” posits “The Palin Problem.”

The staunchly traditional Journalist states, Sarah Palin is “out of her league.”  Ms Parker muses, “If at one time women were considered heretical for swimming upstream against feminist orthodoxy, they now face condemnation for swimming downstream – away from Sarah Palin.”  The proud Conservative continues to share her angst as she discusses the Palin paradigm.

To express reservations about her qualifications to be vice president – and possibly president – is to risk being labeled anti-woman.

Or, as I am guilty of charging her early critics, supporting only a certain kind of woman.  Some of the passionately feminist critics of Palin who attacked her personally deserved some of the backlash they received. But circumstances have changed since Palin was introduced as just a hockey mom with lipstick – what a difference a financial crisis makes – and a more complicated picture has emerged.

As we’ve seen and heard more from John McCain’s running mate, it is increasingly clear that Palin is a problem. Quick study or not, she doesn’t know enough about economics and foreign policy to make Americans comfortable with a President Palin should conditions warrant her promotion.

Yes, she recently met and turned several heads of state as the United Nations General Assembly convened in New York. She was gracious, charming and disarming. Men swooned. Pakistan’s president wanted to hug her. (Perhaps Osama bin Laden is dying to meet her?)

Kathleen Parker observes, as is substantiated in studies.  Men, such as John McCain are swayed by beauty.  They overlook the obvious; without abundant wisdom, knowledge of fiscal affairs and issues that affect those abroad, a President, or his partner, man or woman will not work well in the White House.

The sisterhood from either political Party understands, females want more than a figurehead.  One lass, in a prized position, does not appease all womankind.  The daughters of Eve envision a world where life for all women is more fair.  Ladies from the Left and Right do not wish to mingle or maneuver within the good old boy network.  Women want no closed set of connections.  The gentler gender accepts that if persons are to be truly equal, guile cannot be the ticket in.  Craftiness and sexual characteristics cannot count more than brains or the acumen built from competence and clarity.

Indeed, fellow females think Sarah Palin does not have the mettle to be Vice President, let alone perchance, Vice President.  When the ladies discuss the “looker” the perception is far from favorable.  Her physical credentials do not charm the females within the population.  Women may recognize Sarah is “hot.”  However, for forward thinkers less influenced by chemistry, women explain, experience, education, and ethics are essential qualities that many believe Sarah lacks.  

Perchance a veteran in women’s ways would have vetted the gorgeous Governor Palin.

Sexy Sources to Scrutinize . . .

Conservatives for Change



Conservatives For Change

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

They trust in the rights afforded by the United States Constitution.  Yet, Conservatives, committed Republicans, will vote for change.  Countless on the Right have openly endorsed Barack Obama, a Democrat for President.  Numerous established and esteemed dynasties remain steadfast and staunchly devoted to what are commonly thought to be traditional mores. Yet, persons within these same lineages  say aloud and in print the Democratic Obama Biden ticket will best represent them, their long held values, and the country they love.

CC Goldwater, granddaughter of the renowned Republican, Arizona Senator and a Presidential aspirant Barry Goldwater illustrates this veracity.

Ms Goldwater professes a profound connection to her past.  She treasures her heritage and has faith in the principles Paka, her granddad, the father of traditional, time-honored values the Republican Party holds dear. CC, who speaks for her relatives and herself, cherishes the creed  Paka avowed.  “We believe strongly in what our grandfather stood for: honesty, integrity, and personal freedom, free from political maneuvering and fear tactics.”  

However, the woman who penned her grandfather’s biography said, “I am still struck by certain ‘dyed in the wool’ Republicans who are on the fence this election, as it seems like a no-brainer to me.  Myself, along with my siblings and a few cousins, will not be supporting the Republican presidential candidates this year.” Faithful in the doctrine she learned at Paka Goldwater’s knee CC and her blood will cast a ballot for Democrat, Barack Obama.

Chris Buckley, the son of the famed William F. Buckley also reveres Republican ethics.  He respects his roots.  This is the reason he cannot commend Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin.  Christopher Buckley did place his confidence in the former prisoner-of-war McCain during the primary election season.  Yet, over time his fervor for the man he once called “friend” waned.

Late in October, the man who has upheld a Republican family ritual will do as he has not done.  In The Daily Beast, Chris Buckley did not boast, nor did he bemoan, In a treatise titled, “Sorry, Dad, I’m voting for Obama” the author wrote, “So, I wish him [Barack Obama] all the best. We are all in this together. Necessity is the mother of bipartisanship. And so, for the first time in my life, I’ll be pulling the Democratic lever in November. As the saying goes, God save the United States of America.”

For this statement, a tempest arose.  The National Review columnist, Chris Taylor Buckley, felt forced to offer his resignationfrom his position at the magazine his father founded.  The reason; the rants the periodical received, after he inscribed his choice to endorse Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama,.  Many readers refused to further fund the publication.  More mused of the mutiny, the betrayal to the “standard-bearer for the fledgling conservative movement.” Chris Buckley, whose Dad was a Republican when the young Ronald Reagan was a registered Democrat, dared to declare as he has.  For some on the Right, this was and is unforgivable.

Most who were forever fond of the son, just as they had been of the father William F. Buckley, may not have read or were too red-faced with anger to comprehend, Chris Buckley is still the Conservative they loved.   He too states as many McCain Palin supporters might, “I am a small-government conservative who clings tenaciously and old-fashionedly to the idea that one ought to have balanced budgets. On abortion, gay marriage, et al, I’m libertarian. I believe with my sage and epigrammatic friend P.J. O’Rourke that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take it all away.”  For the more than few fervent followers of the McCain Palin ticket, these sentiments matter not.  Blood and the Republican brood must be more loyal.  They cannot think for themselves or commit to change.

Christopher Taylor Buckley believes even his darling Dad, might not sanction a sentiment that avers blind faith to a Party or a person.  The younger Buckley presents a narrative, “Dear Pup once said to me sighfully after a right-winger who fancied himself a WFB protégé had said something transcendently and provocatively cretinous, “You know, I’ve spent my entire life time separating the Right from the kooks.”

Perchance, other renowned Republicans feel as Goldwater and Buckley do; Republican is not synonymous with “right.”  Reference, David Brooks in a New York Times editorial, Thinking about Obama, or even earlier in a January interview on Meet the Press.  Remember Colin Powell and his powerfully profound soliloquy on Sunday, October 19, 2008.  Again, on Meet the Press, a Republican offers a tale that tells of more than a moment where he or she has evaluated the man, Barack Obama, and his message.

Peruse and ponder thoughts George Will presents or the offering Hail Mary vs. Cool Barry, by Conservative Columnist Charles Krauthammer.  Might there be a hesitancy to support the Arizona Senator McCain?  Other Grand Old Party Obamacans acknowledge there is.  Prominent Republicans Line Up Behind Obama.  Governors William Weld and Arne Carlson, Ken Adelman, a prominent Conservative, expert on foreign policy matters are among the many who may have broken with family tradition, or as CC Goldwater observes; “We reject the constant intrusion into our personal lives, along with other crucial policy issues of the McCain/Palin ticket . . . I think he would feel that love and respect for ones privacy is what matters most, and not the intolerance, and poor judgment displayed by McCain over the years.”

Indeed, Ms Goldwater, shares family history that offers insight into what her grandfather, and grandmother intended to be interpreted as Conservative constructs.  “My grandfather (Paka) would never suggest denying a woman’s right to choose. My grandmother co-founded Planned Parenthood in Arizona in the 1930’s, a cause my grandfather supported. I’m not sure about how he would feel about marriage rights based on same-sex orientation. I think he would feel that love and respect for ones privacy is what matters most and not the intolerance and poor judgment displayed by McCain over the years. Paka respected our civil liberties and passed on the message that that we should conduct our lives standing up for the basic freedoms we hold so dear.”

Perhaps Ms Goldwater understands as Chris Buckley and other Republicans do.  Family values and a deference for Constitutional rights are the found in Democratic platform.  Barack Obama and Joseph Biden embody the traditional mores more than the McCain Palin ticket might.

References for Republicans for Change . . .

Palin discusses potential plans for America.



CNN/Palin Interview “you gave Biden a pass

Sarah Palin one-on-one

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

Sarah Palin speaks and America listens.  This evening, on October 21, 2008, the Vice Presidential aspirant shared what she believes are her strengths in an interview with Cable News Network Drew Griffin.

Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin vowed on Tuesday to use her executive experience to tackle government reform and energy independence if she and Sen. John McCain win this year’s presidential election.

“It’s going to be government reform because that, that is what I’ve been able to do as a mayor and as a governor, you, you take on the special interests and the self-dealings.  Yep, you ruffle feathers and you have the scars to prove it,” Palin said Tuesday in an interview with CNN’s Drew Griffin.

“You have to take that on to give the American people that faith back in their own government.  This is their government and we’ve got to put it back on their side,” she said.

The American people are the allies Palin seeks in her pursuit of the Vice Presidency.  However, she realized, belatedly, earlier in this month she offended a few.  Sarah Palin expressed her sincere sorrow.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin apologized yesterday for implying that some parts of the country are more American than others . . .

The Chief Executive from Alaska, Palin proclaimed, surely, her words were misconstrued.  She never meant to imply that the patriotic values of some are evident in “the real America,” the “pro-America areas of this great nation.”  

Perchance her words were not interpreted accurately.  The potential Vice President proposed that Democrats and the press demonize her.  The lovely lady Governor Palin prodded the Journalist who sat before her.

Drew, you need to ask your colleagues and I guess your bosses or whoever is — whoever is in charge of all of this, why does Joe Biden get a pass on such a thing?

Can you imagine if I would have said such a thing?  No, I think that we would be hounded and held accountable for, what in the world did you mean by that, V.P., presidential candidate?  

The former Mayor of Wasilla, Sarah Palin denied that was her intention to divide the citizenry.  She did not wish to incite a culture clash.  “I don’t want that misunderstood,” Governor Palin said.  “If that’s the way it came across, I apologize.”

In a desire to advance a more authentic sense of what Sarah Palin meant to state, she explained.  “I do not want that misunderstood.

When I go to these rallies, and we see the patriotism just shining through these people’s faces and the Vietnam veterans wearing their hats so proudly, and they have tears in their eyes as we sing our national anthem, and it is so inspiring.  And I say that this is true America.  You get it.  You understand how important it is that, in the next four years, we have a leader who will fight for you.

I certainly don’t want that interpreted as one area being more patriotic or more American than another.”  Yet, the words might still worry some that do not feel they fit the definition Governor Palin provides.  Some may wonder what of those who are not veterans, do not attend a McCain Palin jamboree.  If an individual does not sing the sacred American song and cry in Palin’s presence do they not love this country.  

Please view the video; ponder the interview.  Then decide for yourself, did the press give Sarah Palin a pass or did the Governor garner praise for what was less than laudable.

References for a Sarah Palin Reality. . .

What Pulls Us Apart



Defending Islam at a McCain rally

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

It was a cool Fall evening in South Florida.  The breeze was gentle; the sunset glorious.  As I approached the intersection where, each weekend I stand in support of peace and tranquility, I did as I do when at this crossroad.  I placed my arm out the window.  My digits were extended and formed the symbol associated with serenity.  When I am in a vehicle, at the locale commonly considered the Peace Corner I work to preserve the intent of my Saturday mission.  I strive to advance awareness for the notion, this nation remains at war.  Soldiers are slaughtered far from the shores of home sweet home.  Civilians, in their native country continue to lose their lives for a want of war.  I crave global harmony and will work to restore some sense of civility worldwide.  However, as I sat silently in contemplation cries of “Country First” startled me.

The divisiveness that has become pervasive during this political season  smacked me in the face.  Shaken, I turned to see where the words of contempt might have come from.  There they stood, two young boys, perhaps eleven years of age stood on the sidewalk with homemade signs in hand.  “McCain Palin” was painted on a poster.  Smaller type, difficult to read from even a short distance, said more.  I might pretend to portend what the words were meant to communicate.  However, I rather not assume.  I can only describe what was said and done as the seconds on the street turned into minutes.

As others had done when they passed me with my peaceful placard for oh so many years, I expressed my belief in a manner that might be visible to these youthful demonstrators.  I reached for my Obama sign, which is neatly tucked between my windshield and the dashboard.  I held the glossy rectangular navy blue sticker up, my arm stretched beyond the side of the automobile.  The near Middle School age gents immediately saw my marker and exclaimed.  “He is a Muslim!”  

I calmly cried, “No, he is not.  Barack Obama is a Christian.”  “However,” I continued, even if he were as you seem to believe, why would that matter?”  ”  Do you really wish to be intolerant of other religions?”  “What of our rights as afforded by the United States Constitution?”  Perhaps as one who taught Junior High School students for so long, an invitation to discuss seemed ideal to me.  These young people, not familiar with me, and my love of open and reverent conversations were intent on repeating the rhetoric they likely heard in their homes.

I could not help but wonder would the words Communist, Socialist, or terrorist, pass through the lips of these lads.  Might one boy or the other tell me as drivers had days ago when I stood on the corner in vigil for peace,  “Barack Obama is Black”?  My mind raced as I reflected upon the two chaps.  I realized the issues important to them were those the elders they loved had discussed at length.  Human as the young men were they knew what they knew.  The adolescents were taught to think as the adults important in their lives did.  We all do, at least initially.

I remembered a tale I frequently told pupils in the past.  In my own life, I later understood, when I was young I was unaware of the infinite options and opportunities to think, say, do, and feel, in ways that were uncommon in my family.  I could not imagine what was novel to me.  If questioned I would defend my beliefs; however, unlike these preteens I did not dismiss a request for thoughtfulness.  A want for greater wisdom was instilled in me from the first.  I learned to desire discussions.  Fury in my family seemed a futile emotion.  It brought more wrath and offered little promise for peace.

However, my relatives did not raise these miniature men.  Perhaps that explains why the pair of youthful McCain/Palin supporters began to rant and rage.  They chided me for the size of my sign.  The littler than full-grown lads laughed as they pointed to a banner firmly planted, permanently into the ground.  Behind them was a monstrous sign, perhaps eight-feet wide and six feet high.  The words McCain Palin stood strident for all passer-bys to see.  On a background, so dark as to appear near black, the white letters screamed support for the Republican ticket.

The boys shrieked; “I cannot even see your sign.”  “It is so small,” the two shouted.  I did not react.  The language the boys used morphed into a lexicon I will not utter, even when distressed.  After moments when I avoided actual engagement; although I did not put my Obama sign down, I decided to speak again.  “Love and peace,” I proclaimed.  I was quickly told there would be none of that.  A slew of statements not to be repeated spewed from the mouths of babes.  I was stunned, not by the venom but by the similarities and contrast.

While I waited for the light to turn green, I found myself lost in reveries.

As a child, also at the age of eleven or possibly twelve, I first began on my path as an activist, an advocate for people, regardless of race, color, creed, or religion.  My civic maturity was intellectually realized through acceptance.  I was taught not merely to tolerate others; I learned to embrace all.  Amongst my lessons, diversity is as significantly wondrous as similarities.  These were our family values.  More importantly, the skill that was honed in my parents’ home was listening.

My Mom and Dad helped me to understand that if I chose to hear what another believed, I could grow wiser.  Together, communities are greater when the commonweal is the central concern.  Fundamentally, my family believed, all individuals believe in love and goodness.  “All men [and women, children too] are created equal.

Perhaps that is why, while in Middle School my family participated in a civil rights march.  I was invited to join them.  Years earlier, at the age of five, I became interested in politics.  As my parents engaged in the most animated discussion I had ever witnessed, I learned of elections.  

I grew aware of the emotional impact an economic issues and the impact these could have on a vote.  Education, the environment, war, and peace all played a part in ballot decisions.  At the kitchen table, as I sat and listened to the lively talk on topics that related to every aspect of life, I realized the power of everyday people.  All Americans who vote shape our society.  I also understood that those to little to cast a ballot had influence.

Mothers and fathers often jest, “My children learn what I never did.”  Proud papas revel in the knowledge a son or daughter shares.  Modest Mamas marvel when their offspring offer informed opinions.  In my youth, I may not have realized the words I uttered as a student enrolled in school were of interest to my Mom and Dad.  What I saw and felt taught them.  As I talked aloud, my parents learned.  We chatted.  The child was a mentor.  Caregivers were counselors.  Each gained and received a greater education from the other.

The difference between my experience and what I witnessed at the intersection was in my family, peace was promoted.  A reciprocal reverence was advanced.  A word such as “Muslim,” a person’s religion, was not considered a source for a slight.

I was not encouraged to slam or damn another being, not one who stood before me, or one who wished to serve the public.  Indeed, behavior than might demean or dismiss another being was sincerely discouraged.

As a child, I was taught to believe competitive temperaments are counter productive.  Characteristics that could be classified as cutthroat were considered childish, aggressive, and contrary to the traits that might create peace.  Calmness was considered the pinnacle path.  In my family, communication was thought to be the greatest travel, that is, next to thinking.  

Even in election season, I learned at the knees of Mommy and Daddy; empathy is the best educator.  I wondered.  What had these young men experienced in their homes?  

Would their mothers and fathers be pleased as they heard their brood proclaim prejudice statements from the pavement, “Barack Obama is a Muslim.”  Might the Moms or Dads of these chaps be indignant at the discordant idea of “Country First?”  Would they rather the children cry in concord, “We, the people, are the change we can believe in.”  Likely not.  Progeny are the products of parents.  

If we teach the children to chastise, they will.  Offspring trained to offend others do.  Those tutored to act defensively often deliver dubious dictums.  Fear fills the spirits of those who were not treated with abundant respect.  Apprehension is frequently expressed as anger.  

Concerned communication gives birth to calm and care.  If we edify praise, as well as unity and peace, our offspring will practice kindheartedness.  When mothers and fathers teach attentiveness and acceptance, the children will acquire comparable customs.  Elders who choose to listen and learn from and with their progeny teach little ones to do the same.

Perchance what divides our country is not political parties, religious practices, color, or creed.  What fractures America is the manner in which we parent our children.

Palin “Saturday Night Live;” Powell “Meet the Press”



Saturday Night Live; Governor Palin Cold Open



Colin Powell Endorses Barack Obama on Meet the Press

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

“‘Live from New York, it is Saturday Night Live.'” These words rang out on the 18th of October 2008.  Just as they have on the sixth day of the week for years, this statement signaled a time for wit with perhaps a bit of wisdom unexpectedly sprinkled through a script.  On this particular evening, 14 million viewers tuned in.  All hoped to see  Sarah Palin as she entered the entertainment scene.  Two weeks before Election Day, the Republican Vice Presidential nominee took to the stage.  For months, Tina Fey, with a satiric flair, played the Chief Executive.  On this date, the humorist stepped aside.  The actual Alaskan Governor was in the studio ready to spoof her self.  

While Sarah Palin preformed admirably on the set, the former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell did not applaud her performance.  Indeed, the United States Army General, Powell who served under four presidents: Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and our current President Bush, stated that he was clearly troubled by the choice of Sarah Palin.  While she was excellent for comic relief, General Powell does not think the possible Vice President is fit for the Oval Office.  

The respected diplomat reminded Americans that the position for which the “very distinguished woman” applies is one that carries great and grave responsibility.  General Colin Powell expressed his sincere belief. Sarah Palin is not “ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the Vice President.”  The Secretary of State Powell voiced his distress when he said, “(T)he party has moved even further to the right, and Governor Palin has indicated a further rightward shift.”  This direction disturbs the Secretary.  Colin Powell envisions a  country united.  He long served a nation in which all men (and women) were declared equal.  However, Colin Powell now experiences the country as divided.  He feels much of this division is prompted by the words of Governor Palin.

Labels such as “Terrorist,” “Muslim,” and “Socialist” have been used to provoke a polarized public.  Sarah Palin, either as an agent for John McCain, or as an individual who thinks personal attacks that cause ire are apt, stands before the public and proclaims her disdain for Barack Obama.  

The Governor does not know the Democratic hopeful personally.  Nor does she care to connect to his authentic biography. The former Mayer of Wasilla revels in the way she paints the Illinois Senator regardless of who Barack Obama might actually be.  For Sarah Palin, what seems fun or perchance politically expedient is more significant than policy or personal integrity.  This worries General Colin Powell.

The once Secretary of state hoped for and helped to bring harmony to the world.  He now sees that Sarah Palin would rather cause a rift between people.  The distinguished man who speaks of peace shares a story, one that touched his heart and contrasts with the tales the Vice Presidential nominee tells on the campaign trail.

Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, “He’s a Muslim, and he might be associated terrorists.” This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards–Purple Heart, Bronze Star–showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross, it didn’t have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life.

General Powell believes as he had hoped those who represent his Republican roots would; all life is to be honored.  Yet, as he listens to the “rap,” real and imagined for the recent televised Palin appearance, Colin Powell feels a genuine concern.  The Secretary of State did not find Sarah Palin’s toe-tap on the famed Saturday Night Live offensive, or at least he did not voice his opinion on her performance. Instead, he said that as he observed the potential Vice Presidential candidate and how she choreographed her campaign, he concluded he could not commit to the Grand Old Party ticket.  Secretary Powell believes the manner in which Governor Palin conducts herself on the stump is odious and divisive.

Granted the Alaskan Governor can garner a record audience for Saturday Night Live.  Nonetheless, Powell ponders the quality of a “program” that thrives on words used to assassinate the character of a well-qualified candidate.  Saturday Night Live is not the agenda of concern.  The format that Colin Powell thinks problematic is one that pits one class against another, one culture against another, or the  races at odds.  The Secretary of State fears the fervor he sees played out in the streets of the country he loves.  He, as many, may have listened to Sarah Palin on Saturday Night.   However, an evening on television did not tell Colin Powell that Governor Palin (or John McCain) would be the better Commander-In-Chief.  

Please peruse the transcript; General Colin Powell on Meet the Press.  Then reflect upon the various realities.  Time is short.  Election Day will be here soon.  Before you vote, please take a break for more than a bit of entertainment.  Consider the campaign beyond the television screen and within the frame of a video box before ballots are cast.


Transcript

For Immediate Release

Contact:  Jennifer L Tartikoff

212-664-2271?

jenny.tartikoff@nbcuni.com

In a “Meet the Press” exclusive Interview, Former Secretary of state General Colin Powell Endorses Senator Barack Obama for President

(New York) – October 19, 2008 – Former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell (Ret.) endorses Sen. Barack Obama, D-Il., in an exclusive interview with NBC’s Tom Brokaw on “Meet the Press.” Powell, who had been courted by both Obama and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., breaks his recent silence and shares his reasons for crossing party lines to endorse Sen. Obama.

Below is the “Meet the Press” Transcript for Sunday, Oct. 19 — if used, mandatory credit: NBC News’ “Meet the Press”

Mr: Tom Brokaw Our issues this Sunday: He served as President George W. Bush’s Secretary of State and was once called the man most likely to become the nation’s first African- American president. He has been courted by both the Obama and McCain presidential campaigns and said this last month:(Videotape)

General Colin Powell (retired): I have been watching both of these individuals. I know them both extremely well, and I have not decided who I’m going to vote for yet.(End videotape)

Mr: Brokaw Is he now ready to make an endorsement in this presidential race? What are his thoughts on the major issues facing the country and the world? Our exclusive guest this Sunday, former Secretary of State General Colin Powell.

Then, with 16 days to go, Decision 2008 heads into the home stretch. What states still are in play? We will hear the latest on some new state polls with NBC’s political director, Chuck Todd. Also, insights and analysis on the race to the White House with David Brooks of The New York Times, Jon Meacham of Newsweek magazine, Andrea Mitchell of NBC News, and Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

But first, General Colin Powell, welcome back to “Meet The Press.”

General Powell: Thank, thank you, Tom.

Mr: Brokaw We indicated in that opening, there is a lot of anticipation and speculation about your take on this presidential campaign. We’ll get to that in a moment. But in your old business, we might call this a tour of the horizon. Whoever’s elected president of the United States, that first day in the Oval Office on January 21st will face this: an American economy that’s in a near paralytic state at this time; we’re at war in two different countries, Afghanistan and Iraq; we have an energy crisis; we have big decisions to make about health care and about global climate change. The president of the United States and the Congress of the United States now have the highest disapproval ratings that we have seen in many years. In all your years of public service, have you ever seen an incoming president face such daunting challenges?

General Powell: No. I have seen more difficult times in our history. I think about the early ’70s when we were going through Watergate, Spiro Agnew, Nixon period, that was not a good time. But right now we’re also facing a very daunting period. And I think the number one issue the president’s going to have to deal with is the economy. That’s what the American people are worried about. And, frankly, it’s not just an American problem, it’s an international problem.

We can see how all of these economies are now linked in this globalized system. And I think that’ll be number one. The president will also have to make decisions quickly as to how to deal with Iraq and Afghanistan. And also I think the president has to reach out to the world and show that there is a new president, a new administration that is looking forward to working with our friends and allies. And in my judgment, also willing to talk to people who we have not been willing to talk to before. Because this is a time for outreach.

Mr: Brokaw Given the state of the American economy, can we continue our military, commitments around the world at the level that they now exist?

General Powell: We can. I think we have to look as to whether they have to be at that level. But we have the wealth, we have the wherewithal to do that. (Clears throat) Excuse me, Tom. We have the ability to do that. And so, first and foremost, we have to review those commitments, see what they are, see what else is needed, and make sure we give our troops what they need to get the job done as we have defined the job. We have that ability.

Mr: Brokaw If you were called into the Oval Office on January 21st by the new president, whoever it happens to be, and he said to you, “General Powell, I need from you your recommendation on where I begin. What should be my priorities?” Where would you start?

General Powell: I would start with talking to the American people and talking to the world, and conveying a new image of American leadership, a new image of America’s role in the world. The problems will always be there, and there’s going to be a crisis come along in the 21st or 22nd of January that we don’t even know about right now. And so I think what the president has to do is to start using the power of the Oval Office and the power of his personality to convince the American people and to convince the world that America is solid, America is going to move forward, and we’re going to fix our economic problems, we’re going to meet our overseas obligations. But restoring a sense of purpose, a sense of confidence in the American people and, in the international community, in America.

Mr: Brokaw What’s not on the screen right now that concerns you that should be more prominent in the minds of the American people and the people running for president?

General Powell: I think the American people and the gentlemen running for president will have to, early on, focus on education more than we have seen in the campaign so far. America has a terrible educational problem in the sense that we have too many youngsters not finishing school. A third of our kids don’t finish high school, 50 percent of minorities don’t finish high school. We’ve got to work on this, and my, my wife and I are leading a campaign with this purpose.

Also, I think, the new president has to realize that the world looks to America for leadership, and so we have to show leadership on some issues that the world is expecting us to, whether it’s energy, global warming and the environment. And I think we have to do a lot more with respect to poverty alleviation and helping the needy people of the world. We need to increase the amount of resources we put into our development programs to help the rest of the world. Because when you help the poorest in the world, you start to move them up an economic and social ladder, and they’re not going to be moving toward violence or terrorism of the kind that we worry about.

Mr: Brokaw Well, let’s move to the American presidential campaign now, if we can. We saw at the beginning of this broadcast a short tease of what you had to say just a month ago. Let’s share with our viewers now a little more of Colin Powell on these two candidates and your position.(Videotape, September 20, 2008)

General Powell: I’m an American, first and foremost, and I’m very proud–I said, I’ve said, I’ve said to my beloved friend and colleague John McCain, a friend of 25 years, “John, I love you, but I’m not just going to vote for you on the basis of our affection or friendship.” And I’ve said to Barack Obama, “I admire you. I’ll give you all the advice I can. But I’m not going to vote for you just because you’re black.” We, we have to move beyond this.  (End videotape)

Mr: Brokaw General Powell, actually you gave a campaign contribution to Senator McCain. You have met twice at least with Barack Obama. Are you prepared to make a public declaration of which of these two candidates that you’re prepared to support?

General Powell: Yes, but let me lead into it this way. I know both of these individuals very well now. I’ve known John for 25 years as your setup said. And I’ve gotten to know Mr. Obama quite well over the past two years. Both of them are distinguished Americans who are patriotic, who are dedicated to the welfare of our country. Either one of them, I think, would be a good president. I have said to Mr. McCain that I admire all he has done.

I have some concerns about the direction that the party has taken in recent years. It has moved more to the right than I would like to see it, but that’s a choice the party makes. And I’ve said to Mr. Obama, “You have to pass a test of do you have enough experience, and do you bring the judgment to the table that would give us confidence that you would be a good president.” And I’ve watched him over the past two years, frankly, and I’ve had this conversation with him.

I have especially watched over the last six of seven weeks as both of them have really taken a final exam with respect to this economic crisis that we are in and coming out of the conventions. And I must say that I’ve gotten a good measure of both.

In the case of Mr. McCain, I found that he was a little unsure as to deal with the economic problems that we were having and almost every day there was a different approach to the problem. And that concerned me, sensing that he didn’t have a complete grasp of the economic problems that we had. And I was also concerned at the selection of Governor Palin. She’s a very distinguished woman, and she’s to be admired; but at the same time, now that we have had a chance to watch her for some seven weeks, I don’t believe she’s ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president. And so that raised some question in my mind as to the judgment that Senator McCain made.

On the Obama side, I watched Mr. Obama and I watched him during this seven-week period. And he displayed a steadiness, an intellectual curiosity, a depth of knowledge and an approach to looking at problems like this and picking a vice president that, I think, is ready to be president on day one. And also, in not just jumping in and changing every day, but showing intellectual vigor. I think that he has a, a definitive way of doing business that would serve us well.

I also believe that on the Republican side over the last seven weeks, the approach of the Republican Party and Mr. McCain has become narrower and narrower. Mr. Obama, at the same time, has given us a more inclusive, broader reach into the needs and aspirations of our people. He’s crossing lines–ethnic lines, racial lines, generational lines. He’s thinking about all villages have values, all towns have values, not just small towns have values.

And I’ve also been disappointed, frankly, by some of the approaches that Senator McCain has taken recently, or his campaign ads, on issues that are not really central to the problems that the American people are worried about. This Bill Ayers situation that’s been going on for weeks became something of a central point of the campaign. But Mr. McCain says that he’s a washed-out terrorist. Well, then, why do we keep talking about him? And why do we have these robocalls going on around the country trying to suggest that, because of this very, very limited relationship that Senator Obama has had with Mr. Ayers, somehow, Mr. Obama is tainted.

What they’re trying to connect him to is some kind of terrorist feelings. And I think that’s inappropriate. Now, I understand what politics is all about. I know how you can go after one another, and that’s good. But I think this goes too far. And I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow. It’s not what the American people are looking for. And I look at these kinds of approaches to the campaign and they trouble me. And the party has moved even further to the right, and Governor Palin has indicated a further rightward shift. I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that’s what we’d be looking at in a McCain administration.

I’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is?

Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, “He’s a Muslim, and he might be associated terrorists.” This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards–Purple Heart, Bronze Star–showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross, it didn’t have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life.

Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I’m troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions. So, when I look at all of this and I think back to my Army career, we’ve got two individuals, either one of them could be a good president. But which is the president that we need now? Which is the individual that serves the needs of the nation for the next period of time? And I come to the conclusion that because of his ability to inspire, because of the inclusive nature of his campaign, because he is reaching out all across America, because of who he is and his rhetorical abilities–and we have to take that into account–as well as his substance–he has both style and substance–he has met the standard of being a successful president, being an exceptional president. I think he is a transformational figure. He is a new generation coming into the world . . . onto the world stage, onto the American stage, and for that reason I’ll be voting for Senator Barack Obama.

Mr: Brokaw Will you be campaigning for him as well?

General Powell: I don’t plan to. Two weeks left, let them go at each other in the finest tradition. But I will be voting for him.

Mr: Brokaw I can already anticipate some of the reaction to this. Let’s begin with the charge that John McCain has continued to make against Barack Obama. You sit there, as a man who served in Vietnam, you commanded a battalion of 101st, you were chairman of the Joint Chiefs, you were a national security adviser and secretary of state. There is nothing in Barack Obama’s history that nearly paralyze any–parallels any of the experiences that you’ve had. And while he has performed impressively in the context of the campaign, there’s a vast difference between sitting in the Oval Office and making tough decisions and doing well in a campaign.

General Powell: And he knows that. And I have watched him over the last two years as he has educated himself, as he has become very familiar with these issues. He speaks authoritatively. He speaks with great insight into the challenges we’re facing of a military and political and economic nature. And he is surrounding himself, I’m confident, with people who’ll be able to give him the expertise that he, at the moment, does not have. And so I have watched an individual who has intellectual vigor and who dives deeply into issues and approaches issues with a very, very steady hand. And so I’m confident that he will be ready to take on these challenges on January 21st.

Mr: Brokaw And you are fully aware that there will be some–how many, no one can say for sure–but there will be some who will say this is an African-American, distinguished American, supporting another African-American because of race.

General Powell: If I had only had that in mind, I could have done this six, eight, 10 months ago. I really have been going back and forth between somebody I have the highest respect and regard for, John McCain, and somebody I was getting to know, Barack Obama. And it was only in the last couple of months that I settled on this. And I can’t deny that it will be a historic event for an African-American to become president. And should that happen, all Americans should be proud-not just African-Americans, but all Americans–that we have reached this point in our national history where such a thing could happen. It will also not only electrify our country, I think it’ll electrify the world.

Mr: Brokaw You have some differences with Barack Obama. He has said that once he takes office, he wants to begin removing American troops from Iraq. Here’s what you had to say about that: “I have found in my many years of service, to set arbitrary dates that don’t coincide with the situation on the ground or what actually is happening tends not to be a useful strategy . . .

Arbitrary deadlines that are snatched out of the air and are based on some lunar calculation is not the way to run a military or a strategic operation of this type.” That was on February 10th of this year on CNN. Now that you have Barack Obama’s ear in a new fashion, will you say to him, “Drop your idea of setting a deadline of some kind to pull the troops out of Iraq”?

General Powell: First of all, I think that’s a great line, and thanks for pulling it up. And I believe that. But as I watch what’s happening right now, the United States is negotiating the-an agreement with the Iraqi government that will call for most major combat operations to cease by next June and for American forces to start withdrawing to their bases. And that agreement will also provide for all American troops to be gone by 2011, but conditioned on the situation as it exists at that time. So there already is a timeline that’s being developed between the Iraqis and the United States government.

So I think whoever becomes the president, whether it’s John McCain or whether it’s Barack Obama, we’re going to see a continued drawdown. And when, you know, which day so many troops come out or what units come out, that’ll be determined by the commanders and the new president. But I think we are on a glide path to reducing our presence in Iraq over the next couple of years. Increasingly, this problem’s going to be solved by the Iraqis. They’re going to make the political decisions, their security forces are going to take over, and they’re going to have to create an environment of reconciliation where all the people can come together and make Iraq a much, much better place.

Mr: Brokaw Let me go back to something that you raised just a moment ago, and that’s William Ayers, a former member of the Weathermen who’s now active in school issues in Illinois. He had some past association with Barack Obama. Wouldn’t it have been more helpful for William Ayers to, on his own, to have renounced his own past? Here was a man who was a part of the most radical group that existed in America at a time when you were serving in Vietnam, targeting the Pentagon, the Capitol. He wrote a book about it that came out on 2001, on September 11th that said, “We didn’t bomb enough.”

General Powell: It’s despicable, and I have no truck for William Ayers. I think what he did was despicable, and to continue to talk about it in 2001 is also despicable. But to suggest that because Mr. Barack Obama had some contacts of a very casual nature–they sat on a educational board–over time is somehow connected to his thinking or his actions, I think, is a, a terrible stretch. It’s demagoguery.

Mr: Brokaw I want to ask you about your own role in the decision to go to war in Iraq. Barack Obama has been critical of your appearance before the United Nations at that time. Bob Woodward has a new book out called “The War Within,” and here’s what he had to say about Colin Powell and his place in the administration: “Powell … didn’t think [Iraq] was a necessary war, and yet he had gone along in a hundred ways, large and small. He had resisted at times but had succumbed to the momentum and his own sense of deference–even obedience–to the president. . . .  Perhaps more than anyone else in the administration, Powell had been the `closer’ for the president’s case on war.”

And then you were invited to appear before the Iraq Study Group. “`Why did we go into Iraq with so few people?’ [former Secretary of State James] Baker asked. … `Colin just exploded at that point,’ [former Secretary of Defense William] Perry recalled later. `He unloaded,’ Former White House Chief of Staff] Leon Panetta added. `He was angry. He was mad as hell.’ … Powell left [the Study Group meeting]. Baker turned to Panetta and said solemnly, `He’s the one guy who could have perhaps prevented this from happening.'” What’s the lesson in all of that for a former–for a new secretary of state or for a new national security adviser, based on your own experience?

General Powell: Well, let’s start at the beginning. I said to the president in 2002, we should try to solve this diplomatically and avoid war. The president accepted that recommendation, we took it to the U.N. But the president, by the end of 2002, believed that the U.N. was not going to solve the problem, and he made a decision that we had to prepare for military action. I fully supported that. And I have never said anything to suggest I did not support going to war. I thought the evidence was there. And it is not just my closing of the whole deal with my U.N. speech.

I know the importance of that speech, and I regret a lot of the information that the intelligence community provided us was wrong. But three months before my speech, with a heavy majority, the United States Congress expressed its support to use military force if it was necessary. And so we went in and used military force. My unhappiness was that we didn’t do it right. It was easy to get to Baghdad, but then we forgot that there was a lot more that had to be done. And we didn’t have enough force to impose our will in the country or to deal with the insurgency when it broke out, and that I regret.

Mr: Brokaw Removing the weapons of mass destruction from the equation. . .

General Powell: I also assure you that it was not a correct assessment by anybody that my statements or my leaving the administration would have stopped it.

Mr: Brokaw Removing the weapons of mass destruction from the equation, because we now know that they did not exist, was it then a war of necessity or just a war of choice?

General Powell: Without the weapons of mass destruction present, as conveyed to us by the intelligence community in the most powerful way, I don’t think there would have been a war. It was the reason we took it to the public, it was the reason we took it to the American people to the Congress, who supported it on that basis, and it’s the presentation I made to the United Nations. Without those weapons of mass destruction then Iraq did not present to the world the kind of threat that it did if it had weapons of mass destruction.

Mr: Brokaw You do know that there are supporters of Barack Obama who feel very strongly about his candidacy because he was opposed to the war from the beginning, and they’re going to say, “Who needs Colin Powell? He was the guy who helped get us into this mess.”

General Powell: I’m not here to get their approval or lack of approval. I am here to express my view as to who I’m going to vote for.

Mr: Brokaw There’s a summing up going on now as, as the Bush/Cheney administration winds down. We’d like to share with our audience some of what you had to say about the two men who are at the top of the administration. At the convention in 2000, this is Colin Powell on President Bush and Dick Cheney at that time.  (Videotape, July 31, 2000)

General Powell: Dick Cheney is one of the most distinguished and dedicated public servants this nation has ever had. He will be a superb vice president.  The Bush/Cheney team will be a great team for America. They will put our nation on a course of hope and optimism for this new century.  (End videotape)

Mr: Brokaw Was that prophetic or wrong?

General Powell: It’s what I believed. It reflected the agenda of the new president, compassionate conservatism. And some of it worked out. I think we have advanced our freedom agenda, I think we’ve done a lot to help people around the world with our programs of development. I think we’ve done a lot to solve some conflicts such as in Liberia and elsewhere. But, at the same time, we have managed to convey to the world that we are more unilateral than we really are.

We have not explained our self well enough. And we, unfortunately, have left an impression with the world that is not a good one. And the new president is going to have to fix the reputation that we’ve left with the rest of the world. Now, let me make a point here. The United States is still seen as the leader at the world that wants to be free. Even though the numbers are down with respect to favorability ratings, at every embassy and consular office tomorrow morning that we have, people will be lined up, and they’ll all say the same thing, “We want to go to America.”

So we’re still the leader of the world that wants to be free. We are still the inspiration of the rest of the world. And we can come back. In 2000, it was moment where I believed that the new administration coming in would be able to achieve the agenda that President-elect Bush had set out of compassionate conservatism.

Mr: Brokaw But it failed?

General Powell: I don’t think it was as successful–excuse me (clears throat)–I don’t think it was as successful as it might have been. And, as you see from the presidential approval ratings, the American people have found the administration wanting.

Mr: Brokaw Let me as, you a couple of questions–quick questions as we wrap all of this up. I know you’re very close to President Bush 41. Are you still in touch with him on a regular basis? And what do you think he’ll think about you this morning endorsing Barack Obama?

General Powell: I will let President Bush 41, speak for himself and let others speak for themselves, just as I have spoken for myself. Let me make one point, Tom, both Senator McCain and Senator Obama will be good presidents.

It isn’t easy for me to disappoint Senator McCain in the way that I have this morning, and I regret that. But I strongly believe that at this point in America’s history, we need a president that will not just continue, even with a new face and with some changes and with some maverick aspects, who will not just continue, basically, the policies that we have been following in recent years.

I think we need a transformational figure. I need– think we need a president who is a generational change. And that’s why I’m supporting Barack Obama. Not out of any lack of respect or admiration for Senator John McCain.

Mr: Brokaw And finally, how much of a factor do you think race will be when voters go into that booth on November 4th?

General Powell: I don’t know the answer to that question. One may say that it’s going to be a big factor, and a lot of people say they will vote for Senator Obama but they won’t pull a lever. Others might say that has already happened. People are already finding other reasons to say they’re not voting for him. “Well, he’s a Muslim,” “He’s this.”

So we have already seen the so-called “Bradley factor” in the current–in the current spread between the candidates. And so that remains to be seen. I hope it is not the case. I think we have advanced considerably in this country since the days of Tom Bradley. And I hope that is not the case. It would be very unfortunate if it were the case.

Mr: Brokaw Finally, if Senator Obama is elected president, will there be a place for Colin Powell in that administration? Maybe as the ambassador at large in Africa or to take on the daunting task of resolving the Israeli/Palestinian issue?

General Powell: I served 40 years in government, and I–I’m not looking forward to a position or an assignment. Of course, I have always said if a president asks you to do something, you have to consider it. But I am in no way interested in returning to government. But I, of course, would sit and talk to any president who wishes to talk to me.

Mr: Brokaw You’re not ruling it out?

General Powell: I would sit and talk to any president who wishes to talk to me, but I’m not anxious to rule it in.

Mr: Brokaw General Colin Powell, thank you very much for being with us this morning. Appreciate it.

General Powell: Thank you, Tom.

References for Republicans, Democrats, and Independents . . .