May 26th, 2009
06:01 PM ET
5 years ago

Steele: GOP must be careful on Sotomayor

Michael Steele says the GOP does not 'want to be perceived as a bully.'
Michael Steele says the GOP does not 'want to be perceived as a bully.'

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."


Filed under: Michael Steele • Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. Sam

    Mike: GOP picked you so they would look like a aprty of color .. wake up brother .. get real

    May 26, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  2. Lauren

    pandering, no genuine respect or positive feelings for others, just pandering.

    May 26, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  3. Eileen

    Oh c'mon...do you think the party is going to take direction from "Master Gaffe" aka Michael Steele.

    It's guaranteed that he'll spew something stupid – he can't help himself. And...if he can't come up with anything original, he'll rehash an oldie but goodie like the old "he hasn't been vetted" schtick.

    It's not IF he'll say something stupid – it's only a matter of WHEN.

    Heed your own advice Mr. Steele, just zip it.

    May 26, 2009 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  4. Miek

    Repubs are incapable of seperating their prejudices from their decision making. They show their true colors every time. They don't call them the "Grand Old" Party for nothing, that's all they are is a bunch of codgy, grumpy old men who are unable to change in their ways to keep up with the times.

    May 26, 2009 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  5. Andrew

    Why does he even have to say "they" have to be careful?

    May 26, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  6. F-Dog

    They are bullies – they just don't want to be perceived as bullies

    May 26, 2009 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  7. SA in OO

    oops . . .

    "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."

    Michael, did you check with Rush, before saying this. I'm thinking Rush doesn't have issues with being a bully. The not-so-subtle message the Republican party is sending is that minorities need not apply. You were kept on as a house pet, but everyone else gets it.

    May 26, 2009 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  8. Alex in Wisconsin

    I guess i can admit that Steele has his moments. But he is still a Token in the end

    May 26, 2009 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  9. Action

    This is truly revolutionary! The head of the Republican Party (the one that's not Rush Limbaugh...) says "you don't want to be perceived as a bully"? Republicans have been bullies for the past eight years both at home and abroad.

    I wonder how long before Steele has to apologize to Rush again....:(

    May 26, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  10. America Shrugged

    I guess Chairman Steele didn't listen in on his boss Rush's program for the day's talking points.

    May 26, 2009 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  11. Carole

    I see the shuckin' and jivin' has started already. Word to yo MaMa Steele!

    May 26, 2009 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  12. ShiWms n Phx AZ

    Sorry Mr. Steele...no more bs politics from you. Tuning you out. Not gonna work this time. Bye bye Mr. Michael devil Steeles.

    May 26, 2009 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
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