Round 1: Obama Has Powell in His Corner
On October 19, 2008, Colin Powell goes on Meet the Press and gives Barack Obama his endorsement for president. It’s on.
Round 2: Limbaugh Enters the Ring
Shortly afterward, Limbaugh says Powell’s endorsement is “totally about race.” He draws first blood.
Round 3: Powell Takes Off the Gloves
On December 12, Powell speaks with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, saying that the Republican Party’s move to the far right was a culprit in them losing the election. It is a testament to his stature that few Republicans criticize him publicly.
Round 4: Limbaugh Comes Out Swinging
Limbaugh ignores Powell’s aforementioned stature, calling him a “turncoat” whose endorsement of the Democratic nominee had more to do with the Republican loss than Limbaugh’s own far-rightness.
Round 5: Limbaugh Even Takes a Jab at the President
On January 21, 2009, the day after Obama’s inauguration, Limbaugh speaks with Fox’s Sean Hannity, saying of the newly installed president: “I want him to fail.” Moderate Republicans such as Powell are forced to take sides—again.
Round 6: Low Blows and Cheap Shots
On May 4, 2009, Powell says the Republican Party is “getting smaller and smaller” and that Sarah Palin is “a very polarizing figure.” Two days later, Limbaugh calls Powell a “full-fledged Democrat” who backed Obama “purely and solely based on race.” Implicit message: The fight isn’t over, Powell, and the next move is yours.
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