The Republican Party needs to soften its tone on immigration reform and be less threatening to Latino and Asian voters to regain its political footing, a leading GOP congressman from Illinois said Sunday.
U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.), who is mulling a 2014 bid for governor, said his party has to recalibrate its message on immigration reform and avoid using harsh anti-immigrant terms like "self-deportation" as GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said during the campaign.
In his post-mortem election analysis, Schock also said his party needs to better target women and young voters, who swung en masse to President Barack Obama's presidential campaign and helped give him the cushion to defeat Romney.
"We've got to do a better job with young people. We've got to do a better job with women. But the group that we really have to zero in on, I believe, is the Latino community, a group that really should be voting for Republicans to the degree we take a leadership role on the issue of immigration," Schock said on ABC's "This Week."
"I think it makes sense for Republicans to get out front on immigration because it's a broke government program. And who better to fix a broken government program than the Republican Party? It shouldn't take eight years on the average to figure out whether or not you qualify to become an American citizen," he said.
"I think George W. Bush was trying to do that pre-September 11th. I think it's unfortunate that our party, when we controlled the entire process, didn't do more on the issue. I'm disappointed, the president, in his first four years, despite a pledge to do so, didn't put forward a comprehensive immigration proposal," Schock continued.
The Peoria Republican said the GOP needs to target Asian-American voters, too. The Republican Party's share of the Asian vote dropped from 42 percent in 2004, to 33 percent in 2008, to 26 percent this year, he said.
"They're getting a message," Schock said of that voting demographic. "They're getting a message that says you're really not welcome. I think part of that is the threshold question of immigration, and the Republicans need to address that."
Schock also slammed Obama's push to increase taxes on those making more than $250,000 a year as part of a plan to avert the country from falling off the so-called "fiscal cliff" at the end of the year, when Bush-era tax cuts and 2011 spending cuts are due to expire.
"We've heard about, you know, the president's plan to raise taxes on wealthy individuals is a means to deal with our debt crisis. But the reality is the math doesn't add up. We can't tax our way out of debt. OK. That's the fact," Schock said.
The congressman said House Republicans in Congress haven't completely ruled out signing onto revenue increases to stave off the ticking financial time bomb but said Obama needs to back off the tax-increase on the wealthy because it is a pittance compared to the scope of the country's deficit.
"What we really need from the president is leadership. We need from the president the other side of the ledger," Schock said. "He talked throughout his campaign about a balanced approach. He's talked about raising taxes on filers over $250,000. But the fact is, even if he gets what he wants, which is a tax increase on people over $250,000, that's $80 billion a year when we're running a trillion-dollar deficit."