Friday, January 14, 2005

Armitage Says He, Powell Sought Influence

Commenting on Washington's worst-kept secret, Secretary of State Colin Powell's deputy said he and Powell sometimes went public with their dissenting views to try to influence Bush administration policy.

Richard Armitage, who leaves along with Powell at the end of President Bush's first term, described the process as using the "bully pulpit.''

"Differences of opinion are something you as a citizen and I as a citizen should value in your government,'' Armitage said in an interview with National Public Radio's "Morning Edition'' on Thursday. "You really want it.''

Powell and Armitage, whose friendship was forged decades ago, share foreign policy views that are distinctly more moderate than those of Bush and other key presidential advisers. They also made far more use of media interviews and speeches to promote U.S. foreign policy than their predecessors.

Armitage made clear in the interview that the public appearances had another design, as well - to reflect and register the views of the State Department as well as influence the shaping of policy.

"When Secretary Powell speaks or when Rich Armitage speaks, we're putting out our views. And we will do so respectfully, of course,'' Armitage said according to a text released Friday by the State Department. "This is what the president paid us for, to bring him our views.''

Well, uh, no, actually. Bill Clinton paid his advisors for their views, and got his blow jobs from interns. George W. Bush, on the other hand....


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