May 26th, 2009
06:01 PM ET
6 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. Georgia

    but you are psychological bullies but more & more are seeing the repugnants for what they really are !

    May 26, 2009 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  2. Claudia in Houson

    Steele is about as clueless as they come, their leader Limbutt has already called Sotomayor a racist and Huckabee has called Steele the same.

    May 26, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  3. Sharon

    It's pretty funny that Steele comments on the "political overtones" when he, himself was chosen as an effort on the part of the RNC to have their own Barack Obama. The laughs just keep coming.

    May 26, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  4. MJHS1967

    He's "Steele" out of touch with reality!!! I'll give him until tomorrow to change his tune after Rush Limpballs kicks Steele to the curb for not checking with him before making a statement. Rove – oveR :(

    May 26, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  5. Mark

    Sotomayor voted out qualified applicants in the fire dept because there wasnt enough minorities that scored well.

    You know the same principal where she just got her job!!

    May 26, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  6. Had It

    Too Late - we already know republicants are schoolyard bullies at their very worst.

    May 26, 2009 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  7. lulu

    "I think our party right now will avoid the partisan knee-jerk judgements that typically come with these things," Steele said.

    Umm — he didn't get the call from Rush?

    May 26, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  8. John G

    Of course the GOP has to be careful. She is a Hispanic woman which means that any criticism, no matter how legitimate, will be seen as a racist and/or sexist attack on her and the Obama administration.

    May 26, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  9. Carrera911

    Be quiet Steele...Limbaugh is out there speaking for the GOP already. What a joke! A party without a leader, a body with a soul. Just watch, GOP goes regional in less than 10 years...

    May 26, 2009 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  10. phil edwards

    Mr.Steele may have to lie prostate again when limbaugh see's these comments.

    May 26, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  11. Jason

    Perceived as a "bully?" It's a little late for that, don't ya' think GOP?

    May 26, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  12. The party that keeps on giving

    Your racist, sexist party is unable to toe the line. I'm waiting for the offensive Latina song to follow "Puff the Magic Negro." It will be quite entertaining to hear you'll complain about how unqualified Sotomayor is considering her resume and intellect compared to Thomas, Harriet Miers, Palin, Bush, and you Michael Steele to name a few. Your party put the bar sooo low.

    May 26, 2009 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  13. Barry in Maryland

    If Steele careful about what he says he is going to have to apologize to Boss Limbaugh again.

    May 26, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  14. barry

    This may be the smartest thing Steele has ever said since becoming head of the RNC. Unfortunately, like the "boy" who cried wolf, no one in his party is listening.......ANY attack, real or peceived, WOULD, not could, WOULD cost "the party of NO" elections in 2009, 2010, & 2012........Remember where you heard it first.....

    May 26, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  15. JM

    Thankfully I'm sure Limbaugh won't listen and will end up blowing it for The Republicans. After all, Rush does whatever Rush wants to do. He answers to no one except himself.

    May 26, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  16. JM

    On abortion, Steele said his is concern is that "we don't know much about her," since Sotomayor has had relatively few abortion rulings.

    Do they really think that Obama would nominate someone who didn't agree with him? The Republicans are going to get a pro-life nominee, so why are they spouting off about this?? I guess they're upset, because they didn't get their way. Oh boo hoo hoo. Cry me a freakin river.

    May 26, 2009 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  17. sam kingz

    Preach that to your bigotted high priest,Rush Limbaugh. He needs to know by continuing to drive a wedge between communities(i.e. whites against Hispanics),hes actually hurting the Republican party.

    May 26, 2009 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  18. Al Paul

    I think steele is right this time in history. Tell your boys in the GOP to try to listen to you at least once in a blue moon because they do not regard as their leader. They have to accept it or leave it to the rest of the NNNNOOOOO GOP.

    May 26, 2009 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  19. Brian

    the republicans and the GOP's suck there i said it

    May 26, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  20. Get it together Repubs

    Go ahead Repubs.... I darrrrrrre!!!!!! you to block her nomination.... You've already lost blacks, latinos, and women. Were just waiting for you to put the last nail in your coffin.

    May 26, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  21. Veronica

    ""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." "

    Once again, Mikey, you're a day late and a dollar short.

    May 26, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  22. Tulsa L

    Steele might want to tell Rush to back off a little ...... Rush is coming out very strong against this women calling her a racists.......someone in this GOP better rein in their Leader.......he's running everyone away from your Party....

    May 26, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  23. Lone Star Wolf

    WHo in the devil is Michael Steele and why is it so important to report on his sayings on CNN every day???

    May 26, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  24. Charla Brown

    Hey, Michael......Rush didn't get the memo.

    May 26, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  25. Christy

    You don't want to be perceived to be versus we don't want to be.

    May 26, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
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