Talking about whether the Republican party needs to broaden its appeal among minorities, former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice urged Republicans to pay more attention to immigration reform.
“The Republican party certainly has to stop turning off large segments of the population,” Rice said on Face the Nation to laughter. “It’s not a strategy to keep hoping that parts of the population don’t turn out. You’ve got to simply broaden.”
Immigration, Rice added, was the “big issue.”
“Frankly, we sent some pretty bad signals around immigration. George W. Bush, John McCain, Jon Kyl, and Ted Kennedy had an immigration bill in 2007 and it failed. And I felt at that moment that that was the real missed opportunity. We’ve got to get comprehensive immigration reform back on the agenda.”
Praising Republicans, like Marco Rubio, who have been speaking out about immigration, Rice also made it clear that she felt certain components of the GOP platform, such as fiscal values, defense, federalism, and individual responsibility, were “widely popular among the American people.”
“But if you send messages that there are whole segments of the population that are not welcome, not only is it bad politics, but it’s bad policy because without immigration, robust immigration, we have the same sclerotic demographics of Japan and Europe,” Rice remarked. “The Republican party has both a political and a policy problem.”
Rice also called education “the new civil-rights issue of today.”
“If you look at the effect now of race, for many, race is no longer really dispositive,” she said. “But, boy, if you are poor and black and trapped in a failing neighborhood school some place, your prospects are really dim. And so I think as we update the civil-rights agenda we’ve got to think about how to educate the kids.”