May 28th, 2009
10:22 PM ET
6 years ago

Top Republican calls Limbaugh, Gingrich comments 'terrible'

Cornyn on Thursday said statements calling Sotomayor a racist are 'terrible.'
Cornyn on Thursday said statements calling Sotomayor a racist are 'terrible.'

(CNN) - A top Senate Republican is taking aim at recent statements from conservative commentators Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich suggesting Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is a "racist."

"I think it's terrible," Sen. John Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told NPR's "All Things Considered" Thursday. "This is not the kind of tone any of us want to set when it comes to performing our constitutional responsibilities of advise and consent.”

Both the popular radio host and former GOP House Speaker have suggested Obama's pick for the high court is  a racist while referencing a 2001 speech at Berkeley during which Sotomayor said, "I would hope that a wise Latina woman, with the richness of her experiences, would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

Related: In her own words: Sotomayor's 'Latina' speech

"Imagine a judicial nominee said 'my experience as a white man makes me better than a latina woman.' new racism is no better than old racism," Gingrich wrote on Twitter Wednesday.

"Here you have a racist – you might want to soften that, and you might want to say a reverse racist," Limbaugh said the day before on his radio program.

Senate Republicans meanwhile have largely withheld judgment on Sotomayor, though many - including Cornyn - have taken issue with some of her past statements and rulings.

"We are all a product of our upbringing and who we are and I think it’s a fact people do have different backgrounds, but I don't think those background ought to determine what the law is," Cornyn said to NPR of Sotomayor's Berkeley comments.

The NRSC chief also brushed off the Limbaugh and Gingrich statements while noting neither man holds an elected office.

"Neither one of these men are elected Republican officials. I just don't think it’s appropriate. I certainly don't endorse it. I think it’s wrong," he said.


Filed under: Extra • John Cornyn • Newt Gingrich • Rush Limbaugh • Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
soundoff (248 Responses)
  1. gl, Pittsburgh

    Llike I say the republicans are going to drive some of their own party away.

    May 28, 2009 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  2. kd

    Gingrich and Limbaugh: two pathetic, ethically-challenged (to say the least), old white men throwing foolish and idiotic words out.

    So what else is new.

    Meet the new GOP, same as the old GOP

    May 28, 2009 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  3. Elections have consequences

    Cornyn is very partisan but even he has his limits. Why? Because Cornyn realizes the electoral damage that will be done. When Repugs mistreat Sotomayor by calling her a racist without even knowing her, they are making it impossible to recruit Hispanics to the GOP. Unlike Limbaugh and Newt, Cornyn is a lawyer and a former judge so he knows what he is talking about. Cornyn cares about winning general elections, unlike Rush or Newt.

    May 28, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  4. No Incumbents 2010

    "Neither one of these men are elected Republican officials. I just don't think it’s appropriate. I certainly don't endorse it. I think it’s wrong," he said.
    Yet they are private citizens and therefore have the right to freedom of speech. At least until the fairness doctrine gets passed.

    May 28, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  5. Paul Robeson

    To the GOP (and all affiliates):

    I strongly urge you to read her ENTIRE speech and look at the WHOLE qoute. It amazes me how Conservatives will pull a few lines from an entire speech and attempt (poorly I might add) to paint a person as a racist. Amazing.

    To add, I guess you feel your buddies Glen Beck, Sean Hannity, and Limbo are covering the story by cherry picking pieces from her speech. Sounds like the same old Rev. Wright 'hatemonger sermon' approach. Wow.

    In 2009 the straw man will NOT WORK...we are too smart.

    May 28, 2009 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  6. JT

    The Irony – Cornyn ax-backward calling Limbaugh and Gingrich racists.

    He forgot to add: himself, Tom Tancredo, Pat Buchanan, Mitt Romney, Huckabee, Glenn Beck, and Senator Sessions.

    May 28, 2009 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  7. Joe Terrogano

    Republicans, psst, Sen. John Cornyn is a leader not a pudgy goof ball or has been. More like this, less like the others and you might regain some respect and relevance.

    May 28, 2009 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  8. Fitz in Texas

    Sen. Cornyn, you don't have to be an elected Republican official to have an opinion or facts.

    Newt Gingrich is right on with.................."Imagine a judicial nominee said 'my experience as a white man makes me better than a latina woman.' new racism is no better than old racism...................

    May 28, 2009 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  9. Eugene

    Good for Cornyn to finally slap down lies.

    May 28, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  10. gina

    i think it is sad that the republican party's repesentatives are going on
    cnn and fox and telling out right lies on sonia sotomayor...when the public are not fools and we will do our fact checks....and to see the miss truths about racism and say she was apart of the hispanic kkk was just sad...they want to ruin her completely....i am now a independent.....i am ashamed of the republican party, and they just lost a member...not that they care, they will kick you out if you dont agree with them....
    to me that is taking away my freedom of speach...

    thank you
    gina

    May 28, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  11. John Sivills

    I would dearly love for CNN to report Judge Sotomayor's statement in its entirety and not take it out of context at let the individual judge; rather than trying to create news by fanning the flames.

    May 28, 2009 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  12. Carole

    A possible future dem like Specter. Rushbutt does not get it, nor does Gingrich. The country has moved on.......people are more worried about putting food on the table than what color or sexual persuasion their neighbors are.

    May 28, 2009 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  13. cj

    Unless her quote was fictitious, how on Earth could she not be regarded as racist? Since I know 95% of those who leave comments for CNN articles are liberal democrats, I'm sure I'll see an explanation, no matter how tortured it is

    May 28, 2009 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  14. Jose

    I think this guy is generally an idiot but he's making good sense here and so I have to give him credit.

    May 28, 2009 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  15. Matt

    Our laws have always been dictated by background. It was only relatively recently that women were deemed sane enough to vote. This is Sociology 101: our environment shapes our worldviews. Embrace diversity and look forward to fresh perspective in a crusty old institution. It's what America needs right now.

    May 28, 2009 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  16. HOWARD

    THE ONLY THE GOP CAN DO IF THEY ARE REGAIN ANY CREDIBILITY IS TO CUT RUSH LIMBOUGH LOOSE OPENLY AND VERY PUBLICALY

    OTHERWISE THAY WILL FIND THEMSELVES "ARRAINGING DECK CHAIRS ON THE TITANIC"

    I VOTED DEMOCRATIC BUT STILL NEED A RATIONAL 2 PARTY SYSTEM.

    May 28, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  17. Bob

    Her comment was an absolute 100% stereotype and racist at its roots. To deny this is to deny a simple fact.

    Is she a racist? I can't say. But that comment was racist by definition.

    Clearly racism is a one-way street. People only get upset when someone in a position of power makes a racist comment about someone perceived to be in a disadvantaged position. Nobody gets upset when it is done the other direction. Example: Nobody protested the movie "White men can't jump." despite the fact that the title was clearly racist.

    May 28, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  18. mj

    Better apologize John. Everyone else has.

    May 28, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  19. S M R

    Dig a hole GOP, dig a hole

    May 28, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  20. Michael

    He will be apologizing to Rush before you know it.

    The GOP is a joke : )

    May 28, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  21. Jeff

    Let these guys keep talking, especially Limbaugh. They are helping the democratic party as much as anyone and they're not even smart enough to figure it out. Some people just don't know when to close their mouth.

    May 28, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  22. drahcir61 - Atlanta, GA

    Limbaugh and Gingrich are clowns! Read the WORDS from Sotomayor's comment.

    Sotomayor said, "I would **HOPE** that a wise Latina woman ... would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

    She didn't say a Latina woman WOULD, she said "hope". That is a huge misinterpretation by the clowns trying to invoke the typical GOP/Religious Right/Anti-American scare tactics.

    May 28, 2009 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  23. Danny Corrigan

    Okay, I'll admit that at first I really thought Rush and Newt were trying to HELP the GOP get back in power but this is getting a little obvious. These guys have got to be political double agents. Soros is paying these guys a bounty for every Republican these guys run out of the party and at this point he's got to be getting nervous. He's losing ground on the Richest Person in the World list every time those two open their mouths.
    I just wonder if they get a bonus for a big fish like Powell.

    May 28, 2009 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  24. AP in Illinois

    The party of fear hasn't had an honest conversation with Americans since the Eisenhower administration.

    Not one day goes by that the Republican party doesn't try to scare us into their point of view.

    May 28, 2009 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  25. erik

    Good, good... Need to see more of this..

    Seemingly moderate tones taken by seemingly rational republicans, criticizing the whack-job, right-wing mouth-pieces... This will help to split the gop further, which is, of course, good for the country. They don't call them ditto-heads for nothing.

    May 28, 2009 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
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