Cheney: Powell Left the Republican Party

Colin Powell has left the Republican Party, former Vice President Dick Cheney charged Sunday. 

Cheney had tough words for the Bush administration's former secretary of state when asked about the controversy over Powell's recent suggestion that the GOP move more to the center. He was asked specifically about conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh's call for Powell to join the Democrats. 

"I think my take on it was Colin had already left the party. I didn't know he was still a Republican," Cheney said on CBS' "Face the Nation." 

Asked to clarify, Cheney noted that Powell endorsed Barack Obama, a Democrat, for president shortly before the general election. 

"I assumed that that is some indication of his loyalty and his interest," Cheney said. 

Limbaugh criticized Powell last week for saying the Republican Party is in trouble and needs to be more moderate, urging Powell to officially switch parties. Powell had also said divisive figures like Limbaugh are hurting the party. 

Asked which spokesman better stands for the GOP, Cheney said he'd go with Limbaugh over Powell. 

But he said he doesn't have any problem with Republicans -- like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- who are trying to broaden the appeal of the party. 

"I don't have any problem with that. I think that's a good thing to do," Cheney said. 

The former vice president warned that the party should not move "dramatically to the left" in order to redefine its base. 

"We are what we are. We're Republicans, and we have certain things we believe in," Cheney said.