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Colin Powell: Occupy Wall Street Demonstrations Are 'As American As Apple Pie'

First Posted: 11/11/11 10:19 AM ET Updated: 11/11/11 10:28 AM ET

The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations are "as American as apple pie," former Secretary of State Colin Powell said during a recent interview with CNN's Piers Morgan. According to Powell, there is plenty of justification for the movement's outrage, but also some reason for concern over its direction.

Powell began by recalling his upbringing in Harlem and the Bronx at a time when his parents didn't make much, but were at least able to find stable employment.

"I don't think either of them ever made more than 50 or 60 dollars a week," Powell said. "Both my parents worked for as long as I can remember, they always worked, they always had work."

But this sort of job stability is no longer present, the retired four-star Army general said, a fact that is now serving as a catalyzing force for the Occupy movement.

"People are concerned now that there is not that source of an income, there isn't that work source that I remember," Powell continued. "What you're seeing with Occupy Wall Street and the others are people who are unhappy and they're directing their unhappiness now toward Wall Street and toward those they think are doing too well in our society."

While Powell went on to suggest that the growing wealth gap was worrisome and in need of addressing, he also cautioned the Occupy movement not to give in to divisive forces of violence and nihilism.

"It isn't enough just to scream at the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. We need our political system to start reflecting this anger back into, 'How do we fix it? How do we get the economy going again?'" Powell said.

Powell is just the latest politician to weigh in on the Occupy Wall Street movement. See a slideshow of their various reactions below.

Mitt Romney
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Speaking to small crowd at a retirement community in Florida on Oct. 4, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney expressed an unsympathetic view of the Occupy Wall Street movement. "I think it's dangerous, this class warfare," he said. Romney declined to comment further when asked about the protests by ABC. His response? "I'm just trying to get myself to occupy the White House."

During a campaign stop in New Hampshire Oct. 10 Romney was a bit more sympathetic. "I worry about the 99 percent in America," he said, later adding, "I understand how those people feel."

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Filed by Nick Wing  |