WASHINGTON (CNN) – The head of the Republican Party wants his forces to watch their steps when it comes to Supreme Court hopeful Sonia Sotomayor.
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele told CNN Radio Tuesday the party that he hopes will include more Hispanics must be cautious in how it scrutinizes a groundbreaking Latina judge.
"You want to be careful," he said when asked about juggling Hispanic outreach with potential opposition to Sotomayor, "You don't want to be perceived as a bully."
Indeed, Steele was mild in his initial jabs, calling Sotomayor an "interesting pick" with "overwhelming political overtones to it." The RNC chairman listed classic conservative question marks. "We do have some reservations and concerns about her views on the second amendment, her views on abortion, her views on property rights," he said.
Listen: Steele on Sotomayor:
On abortion, Steele said his is concern is that "we don't know much about her," since Sotomayor has had relatively few abortion rulings.
But overall, the new Republican leader is calling for the GOP to avoid the explosive rhetoric attached to many Supreme Court fights.
"I think our party right now will avoid the partisan knee-jerk judgements that typically come with these things," Steele said.
The chairman followed his own advice. When asked if he agrees with some conservatives that Sotomayor is a so-called "activist judge," Steele replied: "Based on what I know, it's hard to say with a high degree of certainty."