11/20/2011 11:03 am ET

Condoleezza Rice: 2012 Republican Candidates Must Know Foreign Policy

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice insisted Sunday that the Republican presidential candidates must learn more about foreign policy in the time leading up to the 2012 election.

When asked about several GOP candidates' foreign policy gaffes on CNN's "State of the Union," Rice said it was important for any presidential hopeful to know the country's place in the world and to at least be aware of the basics of foreign policy.

"A potential president has to know the role of the United States of America and that it's an exceptional role, that we have, in fact, been willing to bear a lot of burdens over the last 60 plus years in order to promote a balance of power favor -- that favors freedom," Rice said.

Host Candy Crowley specifically mentioned Herman Cain's comments that he's "not supposed to know anything about foreign policy," to which Rice replied that a presidential campaign is the ideal time to learn about America's role on the world stage.

"I would say to the candidates, yes, you don't have to know the ins and outs of foreign policy because nobody would expect that kind of exposure," Rice said. "But the basis of foreign policy, you can -- you can master those during the campaign. And it's important for the American people to know that you care enough about these issues to do that."