On Thursday, the New York Times’s Elizabeth Bumiller and Larry Rother reported that “the so-called pragmatists” of the conservative foreign policy establishment are “expressing concern” that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is “coming under increased influence from a competing camp, the neoconservatives, whose thinking dominated President Bush’s first term and played a pivotal role in building the case for war.”
According to the Times, one of the concerned pragmatists is former Secretary of State Colin Powell:
The worry about Mr. McCain is centered among a group of foreign policy realists who have long been close to him and who lost out to the hawks in the intense ideological battles of the first term of the current White House. The group includes former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage and Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser to the first President Bush.
On the Chris Matthews Show this morning, Bumiller expanded on Powell’s relationship with McCain, saying that they have not spoken to each other in months and implying that the lack of communication is indicative of Powell’s concerns. Watch it:
Though Powell donated $2,300 to McCain’s campaign in August 2007, he has refused to endorse the senator. In an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America last week, at the same time Powell said he is “looking at all three candidates,” he endorsed a position on Iraq that clashes with McCain’s preference for an open-ended commitment.
“The United States Armed Forces are very, very stretched,” said Powell, adding that the next president “will have to continue to draw down at some pace.”