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

Top Republican calls Limbaugh, Gingrich comments 'terrible'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Get a grip

    Just another couple of icebergs that are going to sink the Titanic known as the Republican Party.

    May 29, 2009 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  2. mike,texas

    Its the Rush Newt show.Now thats a party where old white guys get a ?

    May 29, 2009 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  3. Independent

    It is an outrage how NASTY politics have become.......HOW SAD!!!!

    May 29, 2009 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  4. Victory

    Good for Cornyn, come on he's only doing this because the hispanic vote is huge in Texas.

    May 29, 2009 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  5. KYJurisDoctor

    Conservative commentators should NOT be viewed as speaking for the Republica Party, and the Senator is right, of course. OsiSpeaks[dot]com

    May 29, 2009 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  6. Brian

    I used to be a Republican. The kind of crap that Limbaugh and Gingrich continue to pull & blacken the party's eyes with is exactly why I wanted nothing further to do with them.

    It's nice to know there are still some like Cornyn, Tom Ridge, Colin Powell and Charlie Crist around who have actual limits in how far off the deep end they'll allow the bs partisan attacks to go...

    May 29, 2009 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  7. Medford

    I applaud Cornyn for standing up for his beliefs and not being an automaton. I vote for thinking leaders, not sheep. I read the whole speech and felt her statement was fitting in context. I am disappointed in Gingrich, it seemed like he was becoming rational recently. Of course these are the kind of remarks expected from that buffoon Limbaugh and I expect no less from him. If he continues his foolishness and the party will be torn apart.

    May 29, 2009 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  8. roscoeB

    As a Democrat, I welcome the vitriol being spewed by the Far Right, including Limbaugh, Gingrich, Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck and others. The GOP is headed down the same road as GM: extinction. The braying sheep who enjoy their venom will find themselves with few ( in the Northeast, no) elected officials. Rush has become a parody of a conservative. Saturday Night Live could not satirize him and do him justice. He has become a waddling embarassment to the party, a military supporter who avoided the draft , a law and order advocate who weaseled out of illegal drug use charges, and a hypocrite who claims the moral high ground while cheating on his wives and never letting facts stand in the way of his bizarre opinions.

    May 29, 2009 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  9. lasvegasrose

    I think the REAL reason Cornyn is speaking out is not so noble; remember that he is from Texas and 1/3 of his State is Spanish. He does want to get re-elected after all.

    May 29, 2009 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  10. Keith Dray

    Rush and Newt. What do they do for the country??????????
    So why do people listen to their opinions?
    They are like A#&* Ho%&* everyone has one.

    May 29, 2009 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  11. Milk

    "If there's anyone out there, who still doughts that" Rush Limbaugh, though now the defacto leader of the Republican Party, and America's version of Alqaida,"who still questions" what direction he wants to take the GOP, "today is your answer."

    Robin Bray puts better than I can: May 28th, 2009 10:46 pm ET

    "I guess Rush and Newt have never heard the phrase "Walk a mile in my shoes". That is what was being said and these two are not smart enough to figure this out. IIt is ironic that these two white men prove her correct in her statement." Tons of thanks to S. Cornyn for standing up; however, I'll only consider him his ownman if he doesn't race and through himself down at RUSH's feet and beg for his life.

    May 29, 2009 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  12. Larry - Hazleton, pa

    Is there really some humanity in the republican party – I will have to wait and see – all others who have challenged the fat drug user have come forth later and kissed his butt. It will be very refreshing if he holds up in the coming days.

    May 29, 2009 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  13. Aenigma

    those that cling to her(Ms Sotomayor's) quotes need to read the entire quote, not just what Limbaugh, and Gingrich are spewing

    May 29, 2009 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  14. jw

    The problem with this country is Americans are growing dumber. People jump on the bandwagon to slash Rush, but he is right on nearly all the time. When I challenge my lib associates to tell me something he's said that is wrong, they're at a loss. Sotomayor's comments was racist, which makes her guessed it.

    May 29, 2009 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  15. Jeff

    It is absolutely amazing that limbaugh and gingrich still don't understand that this kind of politics is why their party is on the verge of extinction.

    May 29, 2009 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  16. Professor

    I do not know whether Sotomayor is a racist or not. However, I am very concerned for her soul and whether she makes Godly decisions or not from the bench. I pray for her salvation and for the salvation of President Obama. Our leaders need guidance from the Holy Bible, the Inerrant Word of GOD.

    "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." – Proverbs 3:5 and 6.

    May 29, 2009 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  17. marcus

    I agree with Mr. Cornyn, Im a democrat, what i dont understand is, if the demotratic party, or any democratic elected offical doesnt respond to any statments by Gingrich, or Limbaugh, it makes them not important anymore, and defitently takes both of them out of the light.

    May 29, 2009 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  18. Kathy

    At least there is one sensible and elequent Republican making a comment.
    The others should really be ashamed of their comments and behaviors.

    May 29, 2009 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  19. ranchhand

    Newt is right about how certin racist remarks are tolerated from some sectors and jumped on with both feet other sectors. Its a double standard. No one deserves a free pass in todays world.

    May 29, 2009 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  20. Walter

    AGAIN, CNN quotes Judge Sotomayor out of context!!

    She was speaking about the kind of presumptions that all judges bring to cases and must be careful to critically examine.

    Please, CNN, stop kowtowing to the radical right and cover ALL the story.

    May 29, 2009 03:21 am at 3:21 am |
  21. greg

    Well, he might be just playing his part to be the good guy. Limbaugh and Gingrich doing their part. You Government playing with America's mind. Stir up the pot and get people going in a certain direction. Most of these top Leaders belong to the Bohemian Grove cult worshipping the Devil. This is OUR Government?

    May 29, 2009 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  22. Mike in Memphis

    Right or wrong, "reverse racism" or not, let's all hope that Sotomayor is more cautious with her wording once she's serving on the Supreme Court.

    May 29, 2009 03:30 am at 3:30 am |
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