WASHINGTON – With his time in office running out, Secretary of State Colin Powell (search) is acknowledging differences with others in the Bush administration and suggesting the disputes centered on his preference for diplomacy over force to resolve problems.
But Powell, in an interview with Chilean television, steadfastly resisted being designated a dove by his questioner. "I never liked these titles," he said.
The secretary went on to describe his long-held inclination, through several administrations, "of ," Powell said.
"I have supported him in that effort," Powell said.
The retired four-star general noted he had been involved in many combat operations in his lifetime.
Announcement of Powell's resignation Monday and Bush's naming of his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice (search), as the next secretary of state, revived recollections of Powell's moderate leanings in contrast to such hawks as Vice President Dick Cheney (search) and Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld (search).
Powell, in the interview, did not describe any of the disputes. Nor did he say specifically with whom he disagreed. "We have differences," he said.
But Powell also ticked off areas in which senior advisers were in accord, such as the expansion of the NATO alliance.
"Within any administration, and I have been in many administrations, there have always been disagreements from time to time," Powell said. He declined to link disagreements with other Bush advisers to his departure from the Cabinet.
"I thought that four years serving as secretary of state was long enough time for me," Powell said. "And the president and I have been discussing it for some time, that it would probably be appropriate and better for us to make a change at the four-year point."
"If the disagreements were so severe as some people claim, there wouldn't have been four years," he said.