Colin Powell gave an exclusive interview to David Gregory on NBC's Meet the Press. We're going to break down the highlights by topic.
On his relationship with Republicans after endorsing Barack Obama for President: "I'm still a Republican," Powell said.
On Hagel: Powell is a big fan. "He's had a very, very distinguished public service record that he can stand on," Powell said. Powell said he believes Hagel will be confirmed after he's given a chance to respond to questions at his hearing with the Senate. "I think he gets confirmed," Powell said. "I've read some of the responses that he's already put together, and I think he will make a very, very spirited defense of his position. And I think he'll be confirmed." Powell defended Hagel's support for the state of Israel. "There are people who are very supportive of the state of Israel," Powell said. "I'm very supportive of the state of Israel. So is Senator Hagel, and you'll see that in the confirmation hearings, but it doesn't mean you have to agree with every single position that the Israeli government takes." He also defended Hagel from accusations of anti-Semitism. "When they go over the edge and say because Chuck said 'Jewish lobby' he's anti-Semitic, that's disgraceful," Powell said. "We shouldn't have that kind of language in our dialog."
On the rumor mill and the potential nominations of Susan Rice and Hagel: "I think it was not handled well," Powell said. "One of the problems, both with Ambassador Rice and with Chuck Hagel, these sort of signals come out that, "This is who we are thinking about." And you're left out there to dangle for weeks. Well, if this is who you're going to nominate, nominate them, and let's get on with the process."