Republican Convention: The Man Who Wore the White Shirt

Forget being No. 2 on a ticket. Colin Powell is virtually an ex-President

On the opening night of the G.O.P. convention, Colin Powell--who doesn't need an alliterative catchphrase to make him seem compassionate or a four-day extravaganza to make him look presidential--strode onstage to the beat of his own drum. Like other speakers, he'd shown up earlier that day to get comfortable with the setting and pick up stage directions, including the prohibition on wearing a white shirt on TV. But unlike other speakers, Powell did not have to turn over his speech to the Bush high command. However, he did phone Bush that afternoon to alert him that he would be making "some...

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