Appearance Alert
MRC's Bozell to appear on Fox News' 'The Kelly File' at 9:40pm ET

NBC's Gregory Hits Rubio With Colin Powell's Rant About 'Intolerant' GOP

In an interview with Florida Senator Marco Rubio on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory hyped: "The political problem the party faces, Republicans face, among minority communities, is so large if you look at the results from the 2012 election." Gregory then introduced a clip of Colin Powell ranting over a supposed "dark vein of intolerance" in the GOP during a January appearance on the program. [Listen to the audio]

Following the sound bite from Powell, Gregory pressed Rubio: "Do you agree with that? And do you think that these [Republican] efforts on immigration [reform] are enough to overcome it?" Rubio rejected Powell's attack: "Well first of all, I don't agree that the Republican Party is characterized by intolerance or looking down on anybody."

Rubio continued: "We are the party that stands for the people who are trying to make it, the people who are trying to start a business out of the spare bedroom of their home, who are trying to give their kids a better life. And the only way that's possible is through the America free enterprise system, which the Democrats and the left are undermining."

Gregory used polling numbers to keep pushing the liberal meme: "Isn't the hole rather deep? I mean look at – based on our recent poll, favorable/unfavorable ratings among Hispanics in this country, comparing you to Hillary Clinton here. Look it, She's at 63-13. You're at 23-12. Similar advantages that the President has over you. Isn't that a sign of just how big the hole is, even among Hispanics in this country, between you and two top-tier Democrats?"

Here is a transcript of the April 14 exchange:

10:37AM ET

(...)

DAVID GREGORY: The political problem the party faces, Republicans face, among minority communities, is so large if you look at the results from the 2012 election. You've spoken to it, as have others. And I wonder whether this is enough – the party's repositioning, you're leading the way on immigration – is enough to overcome some of those difficulties. As you know, Colin Powell was on the program earlier this year. He had some comments about the plight for the Republican Party. And I want to get your response to them.

COLIN POWELL [JANUARY 13, 2013]: 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 that demographic, they're going to be in trouble. There's also a dark – a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the Party. What I do mean by that? What I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities.

GREGORY: Do you agree with that? And do you think that these efforts on immigration are enough to overcome it?

MARCO RUBIO: Well first of all, I don't agree that the Republican Party is characterized by intolerance or looking down on anybody. And I respectfully disagree with someone who I think has served our country admirably.

I will say this to you. Obviously, there's political ramifications to everything we do in Washington. But it's not the reason to do it. And it certainly isn't the reason why I'm involved in doing this.

I'm involved in doing this because I think what we have now is terrible for the United States of America. We have a legal immigration system that does not work. It does not reflect the economic needs of this country in the 21st century. It needs to be modernized. And our agreement will do that. It will modernize the legal immigration system in a way that is more merit-based and jobs-based and less based on whether you know someone who already lives here. And that's an important development, along with the ability for people to access the workforce and the high-tech fields, et cetera.

The second thing this does is it puts in place effective enforcement mechanisms unlike anything we've ever had in the history of this country before.

My last point on this: I think Republicans need to do a better job of reaching out to everyone in the United States. Politics is always about getting the support of the majority of our people. And I think the best way to do that is for the Republican Party to prove, as I think we can, that we are the party of upward mobility. We are not the party of the people who have made it. Certainly we don't begrudge people who have made it. We celebrate what they've done. And in America, we've always celebrated success. But we are the party that stands for the people who are trying to make it, the people who are trying to start a business out of the spare bedroom of their home, who are trying to give their kids a better life. And the only way that's possible is through the America free enterprise system...

GREGORY: But it-

RUBIO: ...which the Democrats and the left are undermining.

GREGORY: Isn't the hole rather deep? I mean look at – based on our recent poll, favorable/unfavorable ratings among Hispanics in this country, comparing you to Hillary Clinton here. Look it, She's at 63-13. You're at 23-12. Similar advantages that the President has over you. Isn't that a sign of just how big the hole is, even among Hispanics in this country, between...

RUBIO: I don't-

GREGORY: ...you and...

RUBIO: You know...

GREGORY: ...and two top-tier Democrats?

(...)