This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," January 29, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
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O'REILLY: So General, I'd like you to be very specific and I'd like you to be very brutal tonight about the Republican Party. What is it that you object to mostly that caused you to vote for President Obama twice?
POWELL: I voted for the President twice because, first and foremost, I didn't think that the economic plans put forward by the campaign in 2008 or 2012 really were suited for the times we were in. So I had an economic reason to do that.
Secondly, I became a Republican officially in 1995 after I decided not to run. And I have voted previously seven straight times for Republican candidates. I've spoken at the 1996 convention, the 2000 convention. I worked for Reagan. I worked for Weinberger. I worked for Nixon as a White House fellow. So I think my credentials are fine.
But in the last several years I have been troubled by the right-shift of the Republican Party, too far to the right. And I've said this on a number of occasions. And so in 2008 I found that as an American the best choice for America at that time, and continuing in 2012, was Senator Obama and then now President Obama, re-elected.
O'REILLY: Ok. Now here's what perplexes me. You're an analytical man would you say that's correct?
POWELL: Yes, well, I try to be.
O'REILLY: All right. President Obama's economic plan hasn't worked among African-Americans. When you voted for him, 12.7 unemployment. December 2012, a month after you voted for him again, 14 percent unemployment, up. Ok. Hasn't worked.
Income, black income $32,000 compared to white, 55,000. Gone down under President Obama, hasn't worked. So you basically said to yourself, I'm still going to support the guy even though his economic policies haven't worked for African-Americans and pretty much anyone else?
POWELL: Why are you only seeing me as an African-American, Bill? That troubles me. I --
O'REILLY: Because you did cite, you did cite it.
POWELL: I'm an American.
O'REILLY: No, I know that. But you cited it in some of your criticisms. You said, and correct me if I'm wrong, that the disengagement of the Republican Party from the minority community, blacks and Hispanics, troubled you.
POWELL: The economic situation in the country has improved, but not enough. And --
O'REILLY: Not for African-Americans.
POWELL: I'm not speaking --
O'REILLY: -- not for minorities.
POWELL: I'm not speaking as an African-American. I'll come to the minority part of my criticism in a moment.
But we have seen a doubling of the stock market. The financial system has stabilized. The economy is starting to improve. I want to see it improve even faster and in a broader sense so that those who are at the lower end of the economic scale, including African-Americans, Latino- Americans and others, can start to come up.
Ultimately those numbers that you just cited are going to be fixed by an improving economy and an economy that's spread out more. And more and more African-Americans will benefit and Latino Americans, if they also get the education needed for the more demanding jobs.
O'REILLY: You seem to be voting again on hope in `12 because we haven't seen an economic improvement in this country very much. And in addition, the big spending policies of the Democratic Party and the President have driven the debt, as you know, to close to $17 trillion. And he's the biggest spending president in history.
But you said something very interesting. The education, we spend more per capita on education than any other country in the world except Switzerland, all right? So it isn't the money. But the money continues to flow. It's the discipline. It's the disintegration of the family structure, all of the things that the Republican Party and the conservative movement are emphasizing.
Yet you have drifted away from them. And I'm saying to you, it's not about money and education, am I wrong?
POWELL: It is money and education, but it's more fundamental than that. Now with respect to some of the things that I've been saying that have been critical of the party, is that I don't think the party recognizes the fundamental demographic changes that are taking place in the country.
In one more generation, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Latino/Hispanic Americans will be the majority of the country. And we have to educate those youngsters for the positions of leadership that they are going to occupy.
O'REILLY: You don't think that's being done now?
POWELL: And I don't -- I don't think it's being done adequately. And the important point I've been making is we have to understand that if you want these people to come to the Republican side, you can't have immigration policies that affect them in a negative way.
O'REILLY: Ok. But -- do you believe in amnesty.
POWELL: One more point. One more point. One more point.
O'REILLY: all right. Go ahead, go ahead.
POWELL: You can't have policies that try to make it harder for minorities to vote. I think one of the most terrible things that happened in the past election season is when we had a number of states that were going out of their way, claiming there was outright fraud, when there really wasn't any fraud to be of concern to us.
But we were doing things to -- making it more difficult for those people to vote.
O'REILLY: I want to get very micro on this.