Colin Powell

Angler: The Cheney Vice PresidencyBy Barton Gellman (Penguin Press, 384 pp., $27.95) As Americans prepare to choose a new president, it may seem a curious exercise to rehearse the manifest failures of the current one. But either Barack Obama or John McCain is going to be stuck with the burdensome legacy of the Bush years, and the rest of us will be too--possibly for a long time. The war in Iraq is still with us. So are Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan. The Wall Street cataclysm will ramify, locally and globally, for many months, perhaps years.

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Today's Polls: T-15

It's been a confusing day of polling -- one of those where I'm happy to have a computer handy to do my dirty work for me.The trend over the past 7-10 days remains slightly toward McCain. It is difficult to pinpoint, however, just where the movement started. If I take the average of my daily point estimates from Thursday through Sunday -- since the final presidential debate was concluded -- I show Obama at a +6.0. That compares with a +6.6 in the ten days that proceeded the debate.

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I posted a note this morning that was partially about Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama. Don't get me wrong: I am glad Powell did it. It won't hurt and maybe it will do some good. But I don't think the tiny bit of good Powell's eight minutes on Meet the Press might do is actually needed. And, by now, there isn't anybody out there who cares what Powell thinks about the who was also waiting for him to speak.

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Powell Joins The Herd

I don't want to spook Barack Obama. So I won't declare him the winner yet. Anyway, what would my declaration actually mean? Not much. In fact, nothing.

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Colin Powell has announced he's supporting Barack Obama. He did it during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press"; he then discussed the subject further afterwards, in a session with reporters outside of the studios. The endorsement was neither ambiguous nor qualified. Powell began by expressing his admiration for both candidates. He then talked about the performance of the two, particularly in reaction to the financial crisis of the last few weeks.

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Chapter 4 seems like it's about to reveal the inner workings of the Iraq Study Group, showing us Colin Powell's private testimony before the panel. But Powell gives us no new information and it becomes clear that Woodward is just taking the chance to paint a portrait of the Great Man Laid Low: So the 10:30 A.M. meeting on this Friday was both a mission of accommodation and penance.

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It's now relatively common for people to say ethnic cleansing has paved, or will pave the way for political stability in Iraq. (For example, I remember Colin Powell alluding to a needed "bloodletting" at last year's Aspen Ideas Festival.) But--in part because the idea is so simple and seemingly so seductive--I've never been totally convinced.

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Arizona Sen. John McCain defeated former Gov. Mitt Romney to win the New Hampshire Republican primary.

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How Popular Is Powell?

Hillary Clinton's Colin Powell gambit is being blasted by a bunch of liberal bloggers. Here's a fairly representative critique from Matthew Yglesias: [I]f Clinton's looking to assuage people's doubts about her foreign policy judgment, this seems like a terrible way to do it. A lot of Clinton's pro-invasion advisors are too obscure for most people to recognize. But Powell was the public face of the Iraq sales pitch.

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Powell In '08?

The NYT political blog reports that Hillary Clinton put some meat on the bones of her oft-stated pledge to tap both Democratic and Republican statesmen as diplomats should she become president: While Mrs. Clinton has pointed to her husband as an emissary, it has been unclear for some time which Republicans she had in mind.

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