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Colin Powell on Cheney's Book: He's Taking 'Cheap Shots


"Dick overshot the runway."

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell hit back at Dick Cheney's upcoming book, accusing the former vice president of taking "cheap shots" at him and other members of the administration.

Among them, Powell said, is the way Cheney tried to blame him and former State Department official Richard Armitage for the Valerie Plame affair, in which former CIA operative Plame's name was revealed to columnist Robert Novak and published in the Washington Post.

If Cheney and other White House operatives had been more forthcoming during the FBI investigation, Powell said, "this problem would not have reached the dimensions that it reached.

Speaking Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation," Powell also said Cheney "takes great credit" for his resignation, when in fact he said he always intended to remain Secretary of State for just one term.

Powell defended his successor, Condoleeza Rice, who served first as national security adviser and then secretary of state, and whom he thought Cheney targeted as well.

"He's taking the same shots at Condi with an almost condescending tone, that she 'tearfully' did this or that," Powell said. "It's not necessary to take these kinds of barbs and pump a book up."

Cheney wrote critically of what he said was Powell's trying to undermine the Bush administration by speaking critically of policies to those outside the government.

"Mr. Cheney may forget that I'm the one who said to President Bush, 'If you break it, you own it,'" Powell said in reference to the Iraq war. "I gave the president my best advice."

Powell also seized on Cheney's own characterization in promoting the book that "heads will explode."

"The way he characterized it, 'it's going to cause heads to explode.' That's quite a visual," Powell said. "That's not the kind of headline I'd expect to come from the former vice president of the United States."

With that comment, Powell said, "Dick overshot the runway."

"My head isn't exploding, I haven't noticed any other heads exploding in Washington, D.C.," Powell said. "From what I've read in the newspapers and seen on television it's essentially a rehash of events of seven or eight years ago.

The book, "In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir," is set for release Tuesday.

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