Colin Powell, in his always classy manner, obliterates Cheney & Limbaugh.
"I am still a Republican. I'd like to point out that in the course of my 50 years of voting for presidents, I have voted for the person i thought was best qualified at that time to lead the nation.
Last year I thought it was President-now Barack Obama," Powell said.
"I think the Republican party has to take a hard look at itself and decide what kind of party are we?" he said.
"I have always felt that the Republican party should be more inclusive than it generally has been over the years.
Powell also addressed criticism from conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh, saying his assertion that Powell only voted for President Obama because "he is black" was "unfortunate."
He admitted the influence Limbaugh has over the GOP is significant, noting the apologies he has solicited from major party figures including RNC Chairman Michael Steele.
"If he is out there, he should be subject to criticism," Powell argued. He said that while Limbaugh is perfectly allowed to have an opinion, he does not have "veto" rights over the opinions of others.
Sam Stein has more:
"Mr. Cheney is not only disagreeing with President Obama's policy, he is disagreeing with President Bush's policy. President Bush stated repeatedly to international audiences and to the country that he wanted to close Guantanamo."
"Mr. Cheney the other day said, well, we're doing it to satisfy European intellectuals or something like that. No," said Powell. "We're doing it to reassure Europeans, Muslims, Arabs, all the people around the world that we are a nation of law. It isn't so much Guantanamo. It's the people at Guantanamo. How do we deal with them? We can't keep them locked up forever. This business about making the country less safe by bringing these people to our prison system, we have got two million people in jail in America, the highest incarceration rate in the world. And they all had lawyers. They all had access to the writ of habeas corpus and they're all in jail. I don't know... if you've ever seen some of these prison reality shows on television where they show you what a super lock-up is. I'm not terribly worried about one of these guys going to a super lock-up."
The segment was, to date, the most impassioned and broad defense of the closing of Guantanamo to come from a high-ranking Republican official. But it may have come a bit late. The Senate soundly rejected money to pay for Gitmo's closure last week and, with each passing day, Republicans in Congress see a political opening in attacking the White House on this front.
"President Obama came in saying he would close Guantanamo and he has run into some of those same sorts of problems," he said. "So I think we need to kind of take the heat out of this issue. I think President Obama didn't handle it very well by going up to Congress and asking for $80 billion without a plan. And by frankly, giving enough time to opponents of it to marshal their forces as to why we shouldn't do this."