WASHINGTON (Talon News) — Secretary of State Colin Powell dismissed rumors on Monday that he would serve only one term should President Bush be reelected, calling such rumors “nonsense.”
Public speculation that Powell and his deputy, Richard Armitage, would leave after one term was sparked by a front page story published in the Washington Post on Monday, reporting that Powell had told National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice of his plans to resign early in 2005.
Many insiders have claimed that Powell had always planned on serving only one term, apparently to fulfill a personal promise to his wife.
It is not believed that Powell would be resigning over political reasons, although it is widely known that Powell and the State Department are often at odds with more hawkish members of the administration on foreign policy.
Speaking to Radio Sawa, a U.S. broadcast to the Middle East, Powell gave his only public remarks of the day, saying, “It is nonsense. I don’t know what they are talking about. I serve at the pleasure of the President.”
Nevertheless, Powell and Armitage will be traveling to Crawford, Texas for a meeting with President Bush, apparently to discuss a variety of policy initiatives.
“The President and I have not discussed anything other than my continuing to do my job for him and this is just one of those stories that emerge in Washington that reflects nothing more than gossip and the gossip leads to a rash of speculation about who might fill a vacancy that doesn’t exist,” Powell continued.
The White House and State Department also refuted the rumors.
White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan told reporters there was “no basis” for the story, calling it “a lot of Washington, DC gossip and rumor mill.”
“I think Secretary Powell has made it very clear that he and Deputy Secretary Armitage serve at the pleasure of the president and they are enjoying the job that they are doing,” McClellan continued.
State Department Deputy Spokesman Phil Reeker echoed the same sentiment, calling the story “baseless” in a written statement issued Monday.
The rumors have been attributed by some members of the media to a summer slump in political news — little has been going on in Washington since Congress recessed and the President left for a month-long working vacation in Crawford, Texas.