Powell to Steer Clear of GOP Convention

Secretary of State Colin Powell (search) will not attend the Republican convention in New York, a State Department spokesman confirmed Tuesday.

President Bush will be confirmed as the party's nominee for a second term at the four-day convention, which begins Aug. 30.

"The secretary does not plan to attend," State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said Tuesday.

Ereli pointed out that Powell said last week at a convention of minority journalists that he was obliged as secretary of state not to take part in "parochial debate."

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld (search) has also said he he will not participate in the presidential campaign or attend the convention in New York.

"The president, when I took the job, asked me and Secretary Powell to stay out of politics. He has. I have. We intend to. Neither one of us are planning to go to the convention," Rumsfeld said on July 21.

Powell has defended Bush's foreign policy in interviews and speeches, dismissing Democratic candidate John Kerry's assertions that the president is inclined to go it alone in dangerous overseas ventures and favors pre-emptive action.

Kerry has placed special emphasis on consulting with allies and other foreign governments. He has faulted Bush on the war with Iraq, saying the president's approach alienated Arab and European governments.

In response, Powell told Unity: Journalists of Color (search) Convention last Thursday that Bush took his advice to "not act unilaterally" and made the case against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein at the United Nations in September 2002.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.