Powell Mum on Clinton Plan to Tap Him

By Ed O'Keefe

Nov 27, 2007 2:16pm

ABC News’ Teddy Davis Reports: Gen. Colin Powell was tight-lipped Tuesday when asked by ABC News if he is open to Sen. Hillary Clinton’s, D-N.Y., plan to call on him and other "distinguished Americans of both parties" who can, in her words, "represent our country well."

"I have not seen what she has said. I don’t know the context of it," Powell told ABC News. "I have admiration for Mrs. Clinton but I have no comment."

Powell, a well known Republican who served as President George W. Bush’s first Secretary of State, turned heads in political circles earlier this year when he confirmed that he has met twice with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Despite having met with Obama twice, Powell told ABC News that he is not an adviser to any presidential candidate. Rather, he said that as a former Secretary of State he makes himself available to candidates of both parties.

In addition to having met twice with Obama, Powell said that he has also met with two Republican presidential candidates: Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, whom he described as "a neighbor."

Asked if he had ruled out a pre-primary endorsement in the presidential race, Powell left the door open.

"I’m going to do, what I’m going to do," Powell told ABC News.

During a June 10 appearance on NBC’s "Meet the Press," Powell said that he remains "not at all interested" in "elected political life."

He added, however, that he will "always keep" his "eyes open" and his "ears open" to "requests for service."

When asked in that same interview if he would support the Republican candidate for president, Powell said, "It’s too early."

Asked if he would support an independent, he said, "I’m going to support the best person that I can find who will lead this country for the eight years beginning in January 2009."

When asked to clarify if he was referring to the best person "of any party," Powell replied, "The best person I can find."

When Powell was reached at his home by ABC News on Tuesday, he was asked about comments that Clinton made earlier in the day while campaigning in South Carolina.

Speaking to a predominantly African-American audience in the Palmetto State, Clinton said, "I have said I won’t even wait until I’m inaugurated, but as soon as I’m elected I’m going to be asking distinguished Americans of both parties — people like Colin Powell, for example — and others who can represent our country well, including someone I know very well."

Clinton’s reference to "someone I know very well" was her way of referring to her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

The former first lady often talks about sending her husband around the world to conduct diplomacy but Tuesday was the first time that she has said that she would also call on Powell.

Read the full report on Clinton’s comments here and catch up on all the day’s politics every morning in The Note.

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