Rice said race should not be used as an excuse when a public
figure faces criticism.
"I don't care much for incendiary language, and I actually am someone who doesn't believe in playing the race card on either side," said Rice on CBS's "The Early Show."
The former secretary of State was referring to Cain's prediction earlier this year that he would be subjected to a "high-tech lynching" by liberals opposed to his campaign.
Rice said critiques of candidates and elected officials should focus on policy
differences, adding "it's not good for the
country" to focus on race.
"I don't like the race card. I don't like the race card
when people say that people are criticizing President Obama because he's black.
I don't like that very much either. He's being criticized because he's
president," she said.
Cain has been under fire this week after reports surfaced that he had been accused of sexual harassment during his time as the head of the National Restaurant Association, where he served as presdient from 1996 to 1999.
Rice said both sides should "step back" and allow Cain to answer questions with full disclosure.
She has been making television appearances promoting her new memoir, No Higher Honor, which hit bookstores Tuesday.