The press conference of November 8, 1995 and Gen. Colin Powell's decision not to run for President in 1996.
November 8, 2010

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Heard lots of things but not the call


Ending speculation on whether or not he would run as a candidate for President on the 1996 Republican ticket, Retired General Colin Powell held a press conference on November 8, 1995 to put the expectations to rest.

Colin Powell: “For the past few weeks I have been consulting with friends and advisers. I spent long hours talking with my wife and children, the most important people in my life, about the impact and entry the political life would have on us. It would require sacrifices and changes in our lives that would be difficult for us to make at this time. The welfare of my family had to be uppermost in my mind. Ultimately however, I had to look deep into my own soul, standing aside from the expectations and enthusiasms of others. As I believe I have a bond of trust with the American people, and offer myself as a candidate for President often requires a commitment and a passion to run the race and to succeed in the quest. The kind of passion and the kind of commitment I felt every day of my thirty-five years as a soldier. A passion and commitment that, despite my every effort, I do not yet have for political life, because such a life requires a calling that I do not yet hear.”

Ironically it would be Powell who would be called on during the Bush years to do a United Nations sales pitch for invading Iraq. In citing faulty information to get us involved in a land war that would stretch on almost ten years, it did more damage to his potential political career than any lack of "fire in the belly" could have done over the long haul.

Such is politics.

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