Colin Powell Says the GOP Looks Down on Minorities

The former Secretary of State also believes his party has an "identity problem."

Posted: 01/14/2013 07:16 AM EST

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell had some harsh words for his party this week. During an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, Powell said that there is a "dark vein of intolerance in some parts" of the Republican Party.

"What I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities. How can I evidence that? When I see a former governor say that the president is 'shuckin' and jiving,' that's a racial-era slave term," he said, referring to comments made by Sarah Palin. "When I see another former governor, after the president's first debate where he didn't do very well, says that the president was 'lazy.' He didn't say he was slow, he was tired, he didn't do well. He said he was lazy."

Powell went on to explain that while those words may not mean anything to most Americans, "but to those of us who are African-Americans, the second word is 'shiftless,' and then there's a third word that goes along with it." The general also pointed to the birther movement and questioned why Republican leaders would tolerate that kind of talk.

The GOP, Powell said, has an "identity problem" as a result of its shift to the far right. The nation's demographic is becoming increasingly diverse and if the party does not embrace that and instead represents only the "far-right wing of the political spectrum," it cannot remain viable in the future, he asserted.

"I think what the Republican Party needs to do now is take a very hard look at itself and understand that the country has changed. The country is changing demographically, and if the Republican Party does not change along with the demographic, they're going to be in trouble," Powell said.

And, in his view, they already are. Powell, who voted twice for President Obama, pointed to the loss of two presidential elections as evidence. As the party prepares for the next election, he said, its focus now should not be on who the candidate will be, but what the party is going to represent.

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(Photo: MSNBC)

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