- The Washington Times - Monday, January 21, 2013

Self-described Republican and former Secretary of State Colin Powell marked the second swearing-in of President Obama Monday with more harsh words for his fellow party members, during separate appearances on MSNBC and ABC.

To Joe Scarborough on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” report, Mr. Powell criticized the GOP’s immigration platform, and questioned why the party has shifted so far right.

“The Republican Party should be a party that says, ‘We want everybody to vote,’ and make it easier to vote and give them a reason to vote for the party,” he said, according to Politico. “The [GOP] has shifted dramatically to the right … but if you stay that far to the right, you’re losing where the country is.”

In another interview given to ABC News, Mr. Powell first suggested Mr. Obama ought to “do a better job of reaching” across party lines in Congress — but then quickly moved on to Republican faults.

“Republicans have to stop buying into things that demonize the president,” Mr. Powell said, according to the ABC video. “Why aren’t Republican leaders shouting out about all this birther nonsense, and all these other things?”

Mr. Powell then characterized GOP leadership response to birther attacks on the president — allegations that Mr. Obama’s birth certificate is forged to show he was born in America — as intolerant and idiotic.

“This is the kind of intolerance I’ve been talking about, where these idiot presentations continue to be made and you don’t see the senior leadership of the party saying, ‘No, that’s wrong.’ … They’re encouraging it … and it’s killing the base of the party,” he said.

In January 2011, Mr. Boehner did publicly deny belief in the birther movement on at least one occasion. To NBC’s Brian Williams, Mr. Boehner said: “The state of Hawaii has said that President Obama was born there. That’s good enough for me.”