November 19th, 2010
10:59 AM ET

Powell: Obama failed to focus on what's 'most important'

CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) - While saying he talks regularly with President Obama and his administration's officials, former Secretary of State Colin Powell said Monday that the nation's 44th president has overreached and lost focus in his first term - and lost votes because of it.

Powell, a self-described moderate Republican who served as a top military, national security and diplomatic official under presidents ranging from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush, said he did not regret backing the then-Illinois senator over Republican Sen. John McCain during the 2008 election campaign.

But he said that Democrats suffered "a real body blow" in the recent midterm elections - when the party lost seats in the Senate and control of the House - in large part because Obama didn't prioritize or communicate effectively enough.

"He should have focused on the economy ... to the exclusion of most everything else domestically," Powell told CNN's Larry King. "When you're starting out as a president, you have to figure out (what) is most important."

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