A Hill Scolding
Sec. of State Colin Powell put some Democrats in their place yesterday. You can watch the video here.
Powell was recalling for the panel his review of the prewar intelligence. "I went and lived at the CIA for about four days to make sure that nothing was," he began, when he paused and glared at a staffer seated behind the members of Congress.
"Are you shaking your head for something, young man, back there?" Powell asked. "Are you part of these proceedings?"
Powell's unusual remarks threatened to derail the hearing. Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), a 12-year veteran of the House, objected, "Mr. Chairman, I've never heard a witness reprimand a staff person in the middle of a question."
Powell shot back, "I seldom come to a meeting where I am talking to a congressman and I have people aligned behind you giving editorial comment by head shakes."
"Well, I think people have opinions," Brown responded.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) rushed to defend Powell. "I think the secretary is owed an apology for that, not reprimand," he said.
Of course, you may have seen the other exchange from the meeting when Powell looked like he was going to kick some democrat ass right there on the hearing room floor:
Powell, however, became testy when Brown said, in a reference to questions about whether Bush completed his National Guard service: "You are one of the very few people in this administration that understands war. We have a president who may have been AWOL" from duty.
"First of all, Mr. Brown, I won't dignify your comments about the president because you don't know what you are talking about," Powell snapped.
"I'm sorry, I don't know what you mean, Mr. Secretary," Brown replied.
"You made reference to the president," Powell said.
"I say he may have been AWOL," Brown repeated.
"Mr. Brown, let's not go there," Powell retorted. "Let's not go there in this hearing. If you want to have a political fight on this matter, that is very controversial, and I think is being dealt with by the White House, fine. But let's not go there."