Last night, General Colin L. Powell appeared on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” to promote his new book, It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership. Powell discussed his “13 Rules”, fielded questions about his support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq , and recounted stories about President Reagan- and squirrels.
With respect to the Iraq invasion, Powell said, “I of course regret the UN speech that I gave, which became the prominent presentation of our case.” Asked by Stewart how he gets over the mistake, Powell called it a “blot” on his reputation, but resorted to the last of his rules to live by, “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier”:
Things will go wrong, things will be seen as a failure. You’ve got to get over those. I was still the Secretary of State, I still had a lot of work to do. So I had to figure out what happened as best I could and then roll it up in a ball, throw it over my shoulder, and try to see if we could fix everything.
In the 15 minute interview, Powell also recounted lessons he learned from President Reagan, one of which centered on the president watching squirrels find nuts he had placed on the White House lawn.
Watch the interview (in two parts)!