Colin Powell

The Breakup

Did Obama just dump his best friend on Wall Street?

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Iran Contrarians

Say what you want about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but “he knows how to work a room.” So claims Flynt Leverett, the contrarian Iran analyst who, with his wife Hillary Mann Leverett, paid a visit to the Iranian president in New York City last fall. During the sit-down at Manhattan’s InterContinental Barclay hotel with a group of invited academics, foreign policy professionals, and other Iranophiles, the Leveretts marveled at Ahmadinejad’s attention to detail as the Iranian took copious notes and strove to pronounce their unfamiliar names correctly. “He addresses every person by name.

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TPM and others are having a lot of fun over the fact that George W. Bush is heading out on the motivational speaking circuit.

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A Petraeus Trifecta!

Okay, three posts in one day about the presidential prospects of a guy who almost certainly is never going to run for president is probably a bit excessive. But this email from a self-described "(disaffected) Republican" responding to my second Petraeus post makes some smart points: I think you’re mostly right on the reasons that Petraeus wouldn’t make a winning candidate, but mostly wrong about why Republicans are gravitating toward him.

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Yesterday, facing public discontent over the war in Afghanistan, President Obama held a private meeting with one of Washington's venerable "wise men"--former Secretary of State Colin Powell. In doing so, Obama was participating in an age-old tradition. Click through this slideshow to see some notable "wise men" who have been summoned to the Oval Office.

The Decider

On the evening of Saturday, June 13, a day after the Iranian presidential election, Vice President Joe Biden was preparing for an appearance the next morning on NBC's "Meet the Press." Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian incumbent, was already claiming a preposterously large margin of victory, and reformist protesters were clashing with basiij thugs in Tehran. The Obama administration faced a delicate and fluid situation, and it was far from clear what Biden should say. In circumstances like these, the vice president--especially this vice president--could not simply wing it.

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On Wednesday, Colin Powell's former Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson wrote a post for Steve Clemons's The Washington Note blog which has been attracting some attention (Mike linked to it yesterday).

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Interesting moment the other night at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner when Barack Obama teased Republican National Party Chairman Michael Steele for his famous inclination towards slightly studious mouthings of hip hop slang. "Michael Steele is in the house. Or as he would say, "in the heezy ... " ...

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Hillary's State

The seventh floor of the U.S. State Department is a generally dreary place. Its employees roam hallways so long and confusing that they are color-coded for guidance. Fluorescent lights throw down a harsh hospital glare. But, to most State employees, the "real" seventh floor is a secure area, protected by armed guards and doors that require electronic keys, where the department's top staffers, including the secretary herself, spend their days.

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Obama's "no" List

While we wait for Obama to unveil his national security team later this morning, it might be worth checking out Al Kamen's handy list of all those heavy-weights who are saying they're not interested in joining the Obama administration. I knew about John Brennan and Penny Pritzker, but I hadn't realized that Colin Powell had poured cold water on the idea of him heading up the Department of Education. Maybe he figures his late-in-the-game endorsement of Obama will be enough to erase the taint of his U.N. presentation. Seems like a miscalculation on his part to me. --Jason Zengerle

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