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Colin, You're Such a Tease

June 11, 2007 |  3:00 am

Colin L. Powell famously flirted with seeking the 1996 GOP presidential nod before taking a pass. On Sunday, he injected some intrigue into the 2008 political cycle by pointedly declining to commit himself to backing the next Republican presidential nominee.

Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, President Bush's former secretary of state distanced himself on several fronts from the administration he served (he called, for instance, for the closing of the detainee prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba). Toward the interview's end, host Tim Russert asked if Powell was ready to endorse a White House contender. "Oh, not yet. It's too early," the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under the first President Bush said.

ColinPowell "But you'll support the Republican?" Russert followed. "It's too early," Powell replied.

Powell also surely set political tongues wagging by confirming a Newsweek report that he has met with Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama — twice.

"I've been around (Washington) a long time, and I know everybody who is running for office and I make myself available to talk about foreign policy matters and military matters with whoever wishes to chat with me," he said.

— Don Frederick

Photo: Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell makes a point on NBC's Meet the Press. Credit: AP/Meet the Press