It was Nov. 8, 1995, and Colin Powell had just concluded a 25-city tour to promote his memoir, My American Journey. Huge crowds greeted him wherever he went, his poll numbers soared, and so did expectations for his candidacy.
All of Washington and much of the country tuned in to watch the retired four-star announce if he would be a candidate for president.
The son of Jamaican immigrants, he might have become the first Black president in U.S. history. But Powell stepped to the microphone and declined the mantle, saying he did not have the same kind of passion and commitment for political life that he had every day of his 35 years as a soldier. He lacked what analysts call “fire in the belly,” an unquenchable thirst for the presidency and the power it bestows that he would do whatever it takes to achieve the office.