President Obama took an apparent racial swipe at Colin Powell in a 1994 NPR interview in which he implied the four-star general is acceptable to “white America.”
In the same interview, Obama advocates that the government should provide jobs for every citizen and prenatal care for all women.
Obama in 1994 was a community organizer and lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.
WND unearthed an Oct. 28, 1994, interview the future president gave to NPR in response to political scientist Charles Murray’s controversial book “The Bell Curve,” which argues that there are racial differences in intelligence.
During the radio interview, Obama said “the idea that inferior genes account for the problems of the poor in general, and blacks in particular, isn’t new, of course.”
“Racial supremacists have been using IQ tests to support their theories since the turn of the century,” he said.
Obama accused Murray of “pushing a very particular policy agenda, specifically, the elimination of affirmative action and welfare programs aimed at the poor.”
Obama then made the remarks about Powell.
“With one finger out to the political wind, Mr. Murray has apparently decided that white America is ready for a return to good old-fashioned racism so long as it’s artfully packaged and can admit for exceptions like Colin Powell,” Obama said.
While Obama clearly focused his ire on Murray, his singling out of Powell as acceptable to “white America” may raise some eyebrows.
In 1994, Powell was coming out of a six-year high-profile stint as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, including during the first Gulf War.
Radical black leaders have long taken racial swipes at Powell, accusing him of being a “sell out” and an “Uncle Tom” for joining Republican administrations.
Such anti-Powell rhetoric, for example, was routine for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who in the 1990s was a regular guest lecturer at Obama’s Trinity United Church. In 1995, Obama, Wright and Al Sharpton marched in Farrakhan’s Oct. 16 Million Man March.
In an Oct. 24, 1989, Washington, D.C., speech, Farrakhan even claimed Powell was planning “a war against the black people of America.”
To this day, Farrakhan still sounds off about Powell. In an address in April, the extremist preacher called Powell “a black man in front of a policy to kill black people.”
In the same speech, Farrakhan stated both Obama and Powell want a “pat on the back” from their “former slave-masters and their children.”
In a May 2003 speech sponsored by Harvard Law School, Sharpton likened Powell and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to subservient house slaves.
In a 2007 Tennessee speech, Sharpton was asked by an audience member whether Powell and Rice are “house Negros.”
Sharpton replied: “I don’t know that they are viewed as house Negros in the term. I believe that they are in the house and the rest of us are in the field. So it would not be an inaccurate description.”
In 2002, actor and activist Harry Belafonte compared Powell to a plantation slave who moves into the slave owner’s house and says only things that will please his master.
“Colin Powell’s committed to come into the house of the master. When Colin Powell dares to suggest something other than what the master wants to hear, he will be turned back out to pasture.”
In 2008, Powell crossed party lines and endorsed then-Sen. Obama, calling him a “transformational figure.” But now Powell is shrinking away from the topic every time a pundit asks him if he will throw his support behind Obama this election year.
The Associated Press reports that he credits Obama with stabilizing the financial system and “fixing the auto industry” but says the president should have spent more time improving the economy, lowering the unemployment rate and closing Guantanamo.
Earlier this week, Powell told NBC’s Matt Lauer:
“I feel as a private citizen that I ought to listen to what the president says and what the president has been doing. but I know I also have to listen to what the other fellow is saying. I’ve known Mitt Romney for many years, good man. … I’m still listening to what the Republicans are saying they’re going to do to fix the fiscal problems we have, to get the economy moving. I think I owe that to the Republican Party.”
Powell is currently promoting his new book, “It Worked For Me: In Life and Leadership,” a compilation of lessons learned and anecdotes drawn from his childhood in the Bronx, his military service and his work under four U.S. presidents. The book also includes Powell’s candid thoughts on the lead-up to the war in Iraq in 2003.
Government provided jobs, healthcare
In the NPR interview, Obama also advocated massive government expansion over jobs and health care.
“Real opportunity would mean quality prenatal care for all women and well-funded and innovative public schools for all children,” he said. “Real opportunity would mean a job at a living wage for everyone who was willing to work, jobs that can return some structure and dignity to people’s lives and give inner-city children something more than a basketball rim to shoot for.”
Obama said that in the short run, “such ladders of opportunity are going to cost more, not less, than either welfare or affirmative action.”
“But, in the long run, our investment should pay off handsomely,” he said. “That we fail to make this investment is just plain stupid. It’s not the result of an intellectual deficit. It’s the result of a moral deficit.”
With additional research by Brenda J. Elliott