GOP asset won't be at convention
Aug. 7, 2004 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - The most popular Republican in the country will not be speaking at the Republican National Convention. The party's No. 1 asset, Secretary of State Colin Powell, will not even be there, and may not be in the United States, according to U.S. officials.
Throughout the Bush presidency, Powell has consistently scored better than his boss in public opinion polls, often by 20 points or more. In an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll in May, Powell was viewed favorably by 69 percent of respondents, compared with 49 percent for President Bush and 39 percent each for Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
But in keeping with tradition, Cabinet officials do not speak at the conventions or other campaign events. So Powell will not appear.
"As secretary of State, I am obliged not to participate in any way, shape, fashion, or form in parochial, political debates. I have to take no sides in the matter," Powell told the Unity: Journalists of Color Convention on Thursday. Powell was a featured speaker at the 2000 convention.
Rumsfeld and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, two of the other most visible faces in the administration, will not be at the New York convention, either.