May 28th, 2009
10:22 PM ET
13 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. George

    What ?!?!?!? A Republican who actually want's a swing voter to listen to what they have to say .......

    May 28, 2009 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  2. Ted Tartaglia

    Good for Cornyn! At least he has sense enough to stop digging when the hole is getting too deep to crawl out of. The Idiots Limboob and the Lizard are just making fools of themselves. Isn't it great to watch the RepubliCONs fight among themselves.

    May 28, 2009 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  3. Enough Said!!!!

    Cornyn on Thursday said statements calling Sotomayor a racist are 'terrible.'You are soooo right Sir !!!!

    May 28, 2009 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  4. MLP

    Wow, some glimpse of sanity in the Repubican party? A breath of fresh air from the right....

    May 28, 2009 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  5. SR

    Well, at least one Republican is living in the reality-based community. But watch. He'll probably be apologizing to Boss Limbaugh soon.

    May 28, 2009 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  6. thetruthisoutthere

    It's sad to know that Senator Cornyn will now be attacked by the loudmouths of the far-right.. If there were more Republicans with his kind of insight, there would be a lot more civil give and take in our government – this fosters a respecful atmosphere which enables Congress to do their job in a manner which is beneficial to all of us. Unfortunately, ever since the November election, the shrill tantrums from the far right have only increased. It seems as if these loudmouths want to become an even smaller minority with their tactics.

    May 28, 2009 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  7. educated

    Mature respectful conservatives. This is what the party was meant to be. Some readers may want to take note. Hate gets republicans where their power went... Oblivion.

    May 28, 2009 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  8. nurma

    As a Democrat I say let Rush blab all he wants, the many is crazy and is taking his party down. If I were a respectable Republican from the old GOP I would be so embarrassed and would be pleading with my party to shut that man up. The people I have had the misfortune of having conversations with who actually listen to this man are some of the most uneducated, paranoid folks I've ever met. Are these "better" Americans? I guess it takes all kinds.

    May 28, 2009 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  9. Richard L

    If Sen. Cornyn has heard from Rush yet, he may be working on his apology to Rush and his explanation that his comments were the result of temporary insanity.

    May 28, 2009 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  10. Kate

    Thank you for recoginzing the pure hatred from Rush, and Newt. Let her have her day in court before we judge her too quickly. Samuel Alioto also made similar comments about racial discrimination his family had received and how it shaped his views as well. Where was Rush then????

    May 28, 2009 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  11. Robin Bray

    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.

    May 28, 2009 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  12. James, Ho. TX

    John Cornyn sees the writing on the Wall ! Judge Sotomayor background is reflected by 17 years of B.S. experienced on the Bench! Whites trying to do Whites .

    May 28, 2009 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  13. GOP is DOA

    Cornyn will be on the radio show tomorrow to kiss Boss Limbaugh's ring and beg forgiveness.

    May 28, 2009 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  14. usualone

    Aaah, a sensible Republican. Hope others surface if we want to continue a two-party system.

    May 28, 2009 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  15. MIke

    The sad part is that the Republican response gives the appearance of credibility to ttwo individuals who have little if any significance on this country except among a tiny group of wackos

    May 28, 2009 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  16. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Would it have been more acceptable and less sensational to have said the Her Honor has "explicitly stated that her cultural and sexual experience makes her a better arbiter of certain constitutional cases than white males"? This is a Hunter S. Thompson theory of "Gonzo Judicature" holding that you are not qualified to write or judge anything (like the Hell's Angels or discrimination) without firsthand experience of having lived that same experience. This is a bogus theory in journalism and law.

    May 28, 2009 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  17. nick

    How long until he goes groveling for forgiveness?

    May 28, 2009 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  18. vDanTX

    One kind of racist can make up lies and use them to justify business loan refusal . Another kind can only complain of what the liar is doing by forgiving the loans to his friends.

    May 28, 2009 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  19. reader

    Gingrich is either stupid or disingenuous, and while I've usually found him bloody-minded and condescending, I didn't usually think it pointed to stupidity. Anyone who takes her quote to indicate racism, is only listening to their own preconceptions and knee-jerk reactions, and not to the point she was really making.

    "I would hope that a wise [person who doesn't fit the stereotype of someone who usually holds this position of authority], with the richness of her experiences, would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a [person who has what amounts to a sense of entitlement to the position] who hasn't lived that life."

    May 28, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  20. Greg

    Nice comment Senator. I just hope they don't make you apologize tomorrow.

    May 28, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  21. the rector

    I hate to say this, but these two a#@ h^&%s do have a point. If W were to have nominated that guy that Dickey shot in the face, he could never have said " I'm a rich white guy so I am smarter than poor brown people." The press, very correctly, would have castigated the guy. I'm a poor white guy and I don't appreciate anyone disparaging me or people like me if they are not one of us. You can say what you like about your own family and friends, but don't act better than people you don't know, it's, well, stupid. So logically if you put your race in a superior position to another then it is, well, racist. This nomination is a forgone conclusion and I'm not particularly bothered by this jurist, that said she is kind of stupid and a little racist, but she'll fit right in with this administration.

    May 28, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  22. Don

    I never thought these words would come out of my mouth..."Thank you Senator Cornyn, I agree with you 100%!"

    It is refreshing to see a Republican speak for himself with true intelligence and logic.

    May 28, 2009 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  23. bill

    The end of time is here ....... the apocalypse.

    A top Republican has criticized New Gingrich and Lortab Limbaugh.

    The end of time is near .......

    May 28, 2009 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  24. nick

    For those of you struggling with misinformation, put her statement in its proper context which was, specifically, racial and sexual discrimination cases. I think perhaps someone who has lived a lifetime of dealing with those issues might have a more comprehensive and personal understanding of them, and not just an opinion from the theoretical perspective of old, white men.

    May 28, 2009 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  25. Amy

    Cornyn is RIGHT!!!!! Rush and Newt can say what they want but have no say when the Senate votes.

    May 28, 2009 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
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