"We have a responsibility to those who do not yet have the
liberties and the rights that we enjoy," Rice told a cheering crowd
at the annual gathering of California Republicans in the San
Francisco suburb of Burlingame. "We cannot abandon them ... We were
She did not offer a specific policy idea.
The speech by Rice, who was secretary of state under President
George W. Bush, was the highlight of the second day of the three-day
convention, which has set out to rebuild the party in a state where
Democrats control both houses of the legislature and every statewide
U.S. Representative Pete Sessions of Texas, who recently won a
primary battle against a challenger from the populist Tea Party
movement, also talked about broadening the Republican Party by
joining in a fight with the Tea Party against Democrats and
"The opportunities that lie for Republicans are enormous this year
with a team that will be together," Sessions said. "It's easier to
get things done in a majority."
Jim Brulte, California's former and long-serving state senate leader
who has been charged with reviving the party in the state, said in a
statement he was aiming to push the party "outside of its comfort
[to top of second column]
In her speech, Rice echoed the convention theme of "rebuild, renew
and reclaim." Rice included individual freedom, private sector-led
growth and equal access to quality education as key themes for
Republicans to focus on in California and elsewhere.
Convention attendees said they were behind the idea of Republicans
reaching out to groups that have traditionally felt alienated by the
party, particularly Latino and Asian immigrants.
"I really think that this country is going to be turned around with
conservatives and new immigrants," said Susan Mason, of Sacramento,
a Tea Party Republican. "We've got to get to them first."
(Editing by Edith Honan and Paul Simao)
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