Colin Powell: GOP must ‘stop buying into things that demonize the president’

January 21, 2013

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President Obama’s second term starts today. It ends sooner than you think.

WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

* Following an inaugural address focused on liberal priorities, President Obama was more conciliatory at the Inaugural Luncheon, where lawmakers from both parties gathered. "I recognize that democracy is not always easy, and I recognize there are profound differences in this room, but I just want to say thank you for your service and I want to thank your families for their service, because regardless of our political persuasions and perspectives, I know that all of us serve because we believe that we can make America for future generations,” said Obama.

* Obama's inauguration audience appeared smaller than in 2009, when a record crowd of perhaps 1.8 million people watched Obama take the oath of office. As of 4 p.m., Metro said 538,000 riders had entered its rail system, about 60 percent of the number who had entered at the same time four years ago.

* Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said he "would have liked to have seen some outreach" in Obama's speech. "This is the eighth [inauguration] that I've been to and always there's been a portion of the speech where [the president says], 'I reach out my hand because we need to work together.’ That wasn't in this speech," McCain said.

* "I miss this place," Obama said upon entering the Capitol on Monday. "It looks great." And as he he left his swearing-in ceremony, Obama paused in the entryway of the Capitol to take in the crowd one more time. “I’m not going to see this again,” he said.

WHAT YOU SHOULDN'T MISS:

* In an interview, former secretary of state Colin Powell encouraged Republican leaders to make a concerted effort to push back against so-called "birthers" and "things that demonize the president." He also encouraged his party to stop pushing for restrictive voter ID laws. "Republicans have to stop buying into things that demonize the president," Powell said. "I mean, 26 percent favorability rating for the party right now. It ought to be telling them something. So, instead of attacking me or whoever speaks like I do, look in the mirror and realize, ‘How are we going to win the next election?” he later added. The former secretary of state hasn't been shy about criticizing his party in media interviews.

* Freshman Rep. Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) and his family have received death threats, an aide said over the weekend. Mullin's chief of staff said federal law enforcement authorities consider it a “serious matter due to the content and nature of the threatening letters which were received.”

* First Lady Michelle Obama's apparent eye roll at House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has gone viral online.

* Rapper Lupe Fiasco was escorted off stage by security during a performance at StartUp RockOn’s inauguration celebration Sunday night. He had been criticizing the president, though organizers say his political views had nothing to do with the decision to take him off the stage.

* Garrett Jackson, aka Mitt Romney's "body man," has a new gig at a Houston private equity firm. “What I’ll be doing is actually what Governor Romney did. He was in private equity, so I’m kind of following in his footsteps," Jackson said.

THE FIX MIX:

Inauguration musical performances in two minutes.

With Aaron Blake

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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