(ABC NEWS) In an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos during ABC’s special inauguration day coverage this morning, former Secretary of State Colin Powell lashed out at people in the Republican Party who spent the last four years spreading “birther nonsense” and other “things that demonize the president,” calling on GOP leaders to denounce such talk — publicly.

“Republicans have to stop buying into things that demonize the president. I mean, why aren’t Republican leaders shouting out about all this birther nonsense and all these other things? They should speak out. This is the kind of intolerance that I’ve been talking about where these idiot presentations continue to be made and you don’t see the senior leadership of the party say, ‘No, that’s wrong.’ In fact, sometimes by not speaking out, they’re encouraging it. And the base keeps buying the stuff.

“And it’s killing the base of the party. I mean, 26 percent favorability rating for the party right now. It ought to be telling them something. So, instead of attacking me or whoever speaks like I do, look in the mirror and realize, ‘How are we going to win the next election?”

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