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Colin Powell Given Special Swearing-In Ceremony as Secretary of StateAired January 26, 2001 - 10:49 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We take you live now to the Oval Office of the White House. This, for a swearing-in ceremony -- a ceremonial ceremony for Secretary of State Colin Powell. You might not quite recognize the Oval Office. It might look a little bit different; President Bush made some style changes since he moved in about a week ago.
Let's bring in our State Department correspondent Andrea Koppel, standing by to watch us have this ceremony as well.
First of all, Andrea, why are they even having this ceremony in the first place? He was sworn in on Saturday, why do they need another one?
ANDRE KOPPEL, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that President Bush wants to single out both General Powell, Secretary of State Colin Powell, as somebody who is going to be playing a very prominent role in his administration. General Powell, of course, known to many as the former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, also national security adviser...
KAGAN: Andrea, let's go ahead and stand by. It look like Vice President Cheney is about to speak; let's listen in.
DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good morning. It's a special privilege to be here this morning in the Oval Office and to join President Bush in welcoming Colin Powell as the 65th secretary of state.
Some 12 years ago, when I was first asked to serve as secretary of defense, I knew that we would soon need a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And it was my privilege then to recommend to the president at that time that General Colin Powell serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And I must say, looking back on my own career, it's one of the better decisions I ever made. He's done all right for himself.
We had the great privilege of serving at a momentous time in American history, through Desert Storm and the end of the Cold War. And I look back on those years with great satisfaction, but also great confidence that President Bush has made a superb choice in the man he wants to serve as secretary of state.
So it's my privilege now to ask General Powell to take the oath of office, and then President Bush will address us.
Place your hand on the Bible and raise your right hand.
COLIN POWELL, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I, Colin Powell, will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter, so help me God.
POWELL: Thank you, sir.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you all for coming. It is a great privilege for all of us to be here for the swearing-in of our new secretary of state.
It's also a great privilege to be here with Alma, true strength of the Powell family.
As I said in my Inaugural Address, America remains involved in the world by history and by choice, shaping a balance of power that favors freedom. To achieve this goal, we need a foreign policy that serves America's vital interests and speaks for our highest ideals; foreign policy that is clear and consistent and confident, true to our values and true to our friends. To lead this effort at this unique moment in history, I picked a unique leader.
Many times over the past four decades, America has called on Colin Powell and each time he has answered the call. When his country called him to serve as a foot soldier, Colin Powell answered the call. When his country needed him to help defeat a tyrant brutalizing his neighbors and destabilizing a vital region of the world, he answered the call. When America needed him to serve the high purpose of building the character of our young and to promote volunteerism, he answered the call. Today, America calls on Colin Powell again.
He is a leader who understands that America must work closely with our friends in times of calm, if we want to be able to call upon them in times of crisis. He understands that our nation is at its best when we project our strength and purpose with humility. He understands that if we do not set our own agenda, it will be set by others, by adversaries abroad or by the crisis of the day.
I know of no better person to be the face and voice of American diplomacy than Colin Powell. His dignity and integrity will add to the strength and authority of America around the world.
Congratulations, Mr. Secretary.
POWELL: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you so very much. Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, I once again thank you for the honor of my service, once again, to the nation, in this case as the 65th secretary of state of the United States of America.
I am deeply touched by the confidence you have placed in me, and I promise that I will do my very best to carry your message of freedom throughout the world, to commit the men and women of the State Department to that message, so that we can show by our value system, by what we believe in, what the world can be for all of those in the world who still suffer from oppression, who still are suffering from totalitarian regimes.
I think we have enormous opportunities ahead of us. There will also be challenges, and there will also be dangers.
But I look forward to playing my part, Mr. President, as you structure the foreign policy of the American people and take that foreign policy to the world, a world that I think is on a new road to democracy, to freedom, and to allowing every man and woman of the world to pursue their individual destinies, if given the chance at freedom and democracy.
POWELL: And, Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, I promise that I will give you everything I have in this new job as secretary of state.
BUSH: Thank you.
See you all in a little bit.
KAGAN: No real questions answered. This was a ceremonial swearing in of Secretary of State Colin Powell; he was officially sworn into office -- to his seat on Saturday but President Bush wanted to make a special effort to show how special Colin Powell is.
And let's bring in our State Department correspondent Andrea Koppel, telling us a little bit more why a second ceremony was needed here.
KOPPEL: Well really, Daryn, I think the important thing to look at here is the excitement that is felt within this building in particular among the U.S. diplomatic community overseas for the fact that you have Colin Powell, someone with 35 years military experience, also experience serving -- as we had said earlier, joint chiefs of staff, the chairman over there, and national security counsel.
Well versed in diplomacy. He's also someone who has been a motivational speaker, essentially, for the last seven years. And he has been, over the last five days here at the State Department really psyching up the troops, as he calls them.
KAGAN: Andrea Koppel, thank you very much. More on that ahead.
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