June 1st, 2009
11:14 AM ET
10 years ago

McConnell: Better things to do than play 'speech police'

(CNN) - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told CNN Sunday he disagrees with conservative commentators who have labeled Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a racist, but said he has better things to do than be "the speech police."

"Look. I've got a big job to do dealing with 40 Senate Republicans and trying to advance the nation's agenda, and better things to do than be the speech police over people who have their views about a very important appointment," McConnell told CNN's John King on State of The Union. "So I'm not going to get into policing everybody's speech."

The comments come two days after Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, publicly repudiated recent statements from conservative commentators Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich calling Obama's choice for the high court a "racist."

"I think it's terrible," Cornyn told NPR 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.”

McConnell told King Sunday the idea that Sotomayor is a racist - a notion largely based on her 2001 speech at Berkeley - is "certainly not my view."

"My view is we ought to take a look at this nominee's qualifications,” McConnell said. “I think her life story is absolutely impressive."

But the Senate Minority Leader added he would not rule out pushing for a filibuster against Sotomayor after a thorough investigation into her past rulings and statements.

"To predict [a filibuster] in the same week that the nominee is put forward is putting the cart before the horse," McConnell said. "We have no earthly idea whether that would be appropriate at some point in the process. We've got a lot of cases to read and a lot of background to check."


Filed under: State of the Union
soundoff (173 Responses)
  1. Puff the Magic Dragon

    Yeah I guess he does have better things to do, like explain to his constituents in Tennessee why the Saturn plant in Spring Hill is going down the toilet with GM's bankruptcy. McConnell would have sold them out no matter what the outcome.
    Good luck buddy.

    June 1, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. Puff the Magic Dragon

    At least we arent talking about Sarah Palin for a change.

    June 1, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  3. Shawny

    Let me refresh your memory. Why isn't any one asking the Republicans to DISAVOW or DISOWN or SEPERATE or DENOUNCE or DISTANCE themselves from Rush Lamebag for "Inflammatory Rhetoric". Isn't that what everyone wanted Obama to do when it came to Reverend Wright and his 'Inflammatory Rhetoric'.

    Double Standard!

    Will you denounce Rush Limbersome, Republicans?

    June 1, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. J.P.

    But wait... I thought "dissent is patriotic." (That's what we were told for eight years.) So, consider me a patriot.

    If one-party rule of government was bad under the previous president, it's equally as bad under the current.

    We've also been told, "if you don't like gay marriage, don't get one." Same thing with Limbaugh... if you don't like him, don't listen. Further, if the media hates him so, then stop reporting on him.

    June 1, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  5. Pat Kelly

    It's about time an elected Republican with a spine spoke out against the idiocy of Rush, etc. They are losing their minds (those calling Judge Sotomayor a 'reverse racist'), and the endless comments about being a "Latina" only prove her point. She respects the rule of law, and Limbaugh, Newt, and the rest need to study America's racial past, the KKK, the Jim Crow laws, and the fact that even the Supreme Court was wrong in the Dred Scott case. These three are like stooges who whine, and rant, when Rush promoted, "Barack, the Magic Negro." He needs to look in the mirror, as he's the cat calling the kettle black. It is shameful how their hatred of a Black is so strongly featured in ignorant speech.

    June 1, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  6. Pepper from CA

    The GOP needs to quit all this silly business and state the facts. This person is highly qualified to be a justice. Be big kids, admint she is qualified, confirm her, and move on with representing the people of your state or district. You were not elected to represent the GOP, you were elected to represent your constituents. Stop the bickering and do the job you were elected to do.

    June 1, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. Kevin in Atlanta

    Mitch McConnell won't condemn these racist remarks because 1) he doesn't want to alienate Rush Limbaugh's and Newt Gingrich's fan base, and 2) HE AGREES WITH THEM.

    June 1, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. Qui-Tam Relator

    ********************************
    How about if we nominate Porky Pig or Daffy Duck or Elmer Fudd would that make the American People happy! We are so over the edge as American's no wonder the rest of the world sees us as the nuts they have have truly become. It's time fir a Revolution in this country to rid us of the idiots that not only run this country but the people that support them! We are f..... as a people and our government loves it because it divides us and keeps us from joining together to make a great country for the PEOPLE ! ********************************

    June 1, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. Keefe

    It's such a double standard that Republicans embrace "Hate" with their support of Rush Limbaugh...

    It's funny how "Hate & Division" seem to be rallying points for Republicans...

    This country has a 200 year history of Racism, perpetrated by "WHITE MEN", so if someone is simply attempting to clarify the position regarding life experiences the Republicans flip the script and start accusing others of being RACIST....

    I think the backing of non elected people by the Republicans will keep them in the minority for years to come...

    Thank God.....

    June 1, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  10. Mari( maybe one of my comments will be posted)

    @ "Qui-Tam Relator" .......... A revolution? So what will you do with the 62% of Americans who support President Obama? Place us in concentration camps?

    June 1, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  11. lloyd roberts, jamaica ny

    Is this the Mitch McConell that's calling the Obama health initiative socialized medicine. Why don't you ask him where he gets his health insurance from. Him and his colleagues in the congress make the UAW look like amateurs with the health care plan they negotiated that the American public pays for. Congress gets full medical care for them and their families for life and they don't contribute a cent of their own money to it. Sounds like government run health insurance to me. I'm just talking about this to make the point again of some republican hypocracy of which McConell is a major member

    June 1, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  12. Keefe

    I actually fear the day the Republican leadership attempts to distance itself from the all might Rush Limbaugh...

    As long as they support him, they will be in the minority......

    If some charasmatic leader emerges and does the smart thing in speaking out against Limbaugh, that means they will make gains again..

    Lets hope the Republicans continue with having Rush Limbaugh influence their party, this pretty much garauntees their failure.......

    June 1, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  13. Claudia in Houson

    Rush, Newt and Cheney are doing a great job for the RNC. Keep it up.

    June 1, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. Every

    SHE SAID “HOPE” "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." All the hopla over this judge's comments are shockinly ignorant! She is saying that, she aspires or is challenging herself to a higher standard based on her life experience, proud heritage and knowledge of law to be an extraordinary woman! She is acknowledging most of the justices over the last 100 years have been white males detached from societal experiences and without full understanding of how their decisions impact peoples lives! THERE WAS NO NEED FOR RECLARAFICATION BY THE PRESIDENT! BUT, BECAUSE OF REPUGLICAN HYSTERIA, SOUND BITE POLITICS, AND MALICIOUSNESS, BIAS, AND POLITICAL POSTURING, HE HAD NO CHOICE TO STEP INTO THE ARENA!

    June 1, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. Bill K. NY

    The Republicans still in office don't know how to deal with divisiveness. This is a new experience for them. It's going to take some time for Republicans to adjust. In that way they will become more like Democrats who have been practicing for decades. Let's not forget that "left wing" radio failed while "right wing" radio is still going strong. This adjustment period will be over and forgotten by November 2010.

    June 1, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  16. Had It

    I think the change we're seeing is that each of us now feels we have a voice.

    If we continue to use that voice, that vote, maybe one day WE can rid this country of the blight that consumes our government.

    Change we can make for the better – if WE do it.

    June 1, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  17. tim

    Rush and Newt should get married. Together, they have done more to foster hate and strife in the US than any other two people on the political sceen. They have dragged the republican party down a path it will never recover from. The Democrats are a party of inclusion and the Republicans are a party of exclusion. Nuff said!

    June 1, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  18. K

    The day I heard Rush Limbaugh issue his orders to "Forget about the Hispanic Vote" I started dancing up and down....

    This was music to my ears, we all know the Republican base follows his orders.....

    Remember when Eric Cantor started his listening tour? Well Rush Limbaugh gave an order to change it to a learning tour, Eric Cantor IMMEDIATELY SUBMITTED....

    So with this latest Rush Limbaugh ORDER, losing Hispanic voters futher alienates a political party that is obviously motivated by white supremacy......

    White people.....Republicans.....or however you want to describe them , are being reduced to the kind of people that attended Sarah Palin rallys......

    I hope Rush Limbaugh issues more orders, this is getting pretty comical.......

    June 1, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  19. Middle man

    Keep it up Cheney, Lim, et al! Throw Palin into the mix too! You are all beneficial to the DNC.

    June 1, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  20. Ivan Schiff

    What happened to all of Sunday comments, when I wrote mine there were 205 listed.

    June 1, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  21. Bill, Bloominton IL

    I like democrats and their "in and out of context" argument. If she said it she is racist.

    June 1, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  22. HB

    I'm sure he'd be singing a different tune if any of their arguments against Sotomayor were hitting the right note with the public.

    June 1, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  23. tim

    Rush and Newt are the junkyard dogs of the failed Republican party.
    They have no new ideas, they hate everybody. I predict that as aging Americans die off, the Republican party will dwindle to a burnt-out cinder of its former self.

    June 1, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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