Colin Powell decides not to run

by Lauren Brenner | 11/9/95 6:00am

Students and professors said they are disappointed -- but not surprised -- by retired Gen. Colin Powell's announcement yesterday that he will not run for president in 1996.

Linda Fowler, director of the Rockefeller Center for the Social Sciences, said Powell's decision has political significant in New Hampshire because it reinforces Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole's lead in the state's Republican primary. New Hampshire has the nation's first presidential primary in February.

"Recent polls conducted at the Rocky Center have indicated that Powell was having a large impact on Dole's front-runner status," Fowler said.

The latest poll conducted by the Rockefeller Center and WMUR-TV in Manchester, released Oct. 30, found that 33 percent of voters would support Powell if he entered the race, compared to 18 percent for Dole.

The poll found that without Powell in the race, Dole held a commanding 27 percent lead over his closest competitor, publishing magnate Steve Forbes.

"Dole's lead is much more secured," Fowler said. New Hampshire Governor Stephen Merrill officially endorsed Dole on Monday, adding to Dole's lead, she added.

Fowler said Powell's decision helps President Bill Clinton, because Powell could have taken African-American votes from the Democrats.

"He appealed to many middle of the road voters, the Perot vote, and several independents," Fowler said.

John Honovich '97, who recently formed a student group called "Powell96," said he was saddened by Powell's decision not to run.

"I am hopeful that the Republican Party will now move more towards the center and that it will care more about how its policies affect individuals," Honovich said.

Conservative Union At Dartmouth President Isaac Thorne '96 said Powell's announcement did not surprise him.

"Powell had a Perot effect," Thorne said. "He was popular because he was undefined as a candidate. Once he decided to set forward his position, people would start to lose support."

CUAD Vice President Mark Cicirelli '96 said Powell's decision is unfortunate. "But I fully understand his reasoning," he added.

Powell, who had been mulling the decision to run for several months, said yesterday he does not currently have enough "passion and commitment" for political life. Powell also ended speculation about his party affiliation, pledging his allegiance to the Republican party.

Cicirelli said he believes Powell can still have a positive influence on the Republican party because he has "a positive vision."

"I think it will be interesting to see how the issues that Powell has raised will be taken up by other candidates," Cicirelli said.

CUAD had planned to debate Powell's possible candidacy at its next meeting, Thorne said.

Young Democrats co-President Sophie Delano '98 said Powell made the race "more interesting." Delano said she respects Powell because he stood up for what he believes, despite continued pressure to seek the Republican nomination.

Delano said Young Democrat members were intrigued by Powell because he had more moderate views that most of the Republicans seeking the presidency.

Clifton Berry '96, who is African-American, said he is not surprised that Powell chose not to run.

"If he was not sure by now, then I don't think he would have continued seeking the nomination in the future," Berry said.

Berry said he found Powell's potential candidacy a "very interesting positive experience for the U.S." Powell would have done a good job uniting all the political views in the United States, Berry said.

Sarah Johnston '97 said Powell's decision was unfortunate because she said she finds both the Republican and Democratic parties unsatisfying. She said Powell would have been a nice alternative candidate choice.

"It would be wonderful to have a black American as president," Johnston said. "It would show that the United States was taking a new perspective and a new direction."