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. Anna Matthews

    STOP RESPONDING TO THEM!!. They are not elected, they do not represent your party, stop responding to them. Let them say whatever they want, just don't respond. Ignoring them and refusing to comment when asked by the media is the best way to shut them up. They don't matter, stop giving them influence they don't have. IGNORE THEM!!

    May 28, 2009 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  2. prishtinali

    is this all these senators do is dig up information from the past to talk about in the present? don't they have better **** to do for the people that put them in the office, let the past remain and start working on the future.

    May 28, 2009 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  3. mikemaz

    The racist comments just show that Newt and Rush totally dont understand what this woman is all about. As a white guy married to a women with a latin background i totally understand what she was saying and its not racist at all. newt and Rush need to grow up a little. And man why is Newt getting so much Press? newt Gingrich? really? Thats who the repubs are pulling out lol good going guys

    May 28, 2009 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  4. alvino

    Gingrich will demand that Cornyn resign from office. How dare he try to newter the Newt.

    May 28, 2009 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  5. Steve M

    We'll all see how soon he'll be reduced to kissing Limbaugh's ring and groveling in apology to their cowardly, bigoted, draft dodging "leader".

    Steve M
    Killeen, TX

    May 28, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  6. prishtinali

    you might have to work overtime.!

    May 28, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  7. arnolde

    cj May 28th, 2009 10:28 pm ET

    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

    In that case,may I suggest you read her comments in their ENTIRETY. It's really quite easy to use "the Google"

    May 28, 2009 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  8. Obama - NOPE

    Another Republicrat.

    May 28, 2009 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  9. Eric

    I said it in January 2008. There is no way the Republican party will survive. I hate to say I was right, but you do see the whole coalition of Right-wing nuts and conservatives crumbling in front of your eyes.

    May 28, 2009 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  10. Commentator

    "Top Republican ..."

    I thought the problem is that there is no "top republican." That's why fruit loops and Limbaugh and never-weres like Gingrich are getting so much press.

    May 28, 2009 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  11. brad

    is it Rush Limbaugh for president? 2012 Vice President Dick Cheney.

    May 28, 2009 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  12. tlobe

    Rush Limbaugh is nothing but a hot air machine–capable of keeping a balloon aloft for hours on end. He is not an official spokesman for the GOP, but just a blabbermouth who has managed to bamboolze folks into paying him megabucks as an entertainer–just as Keith Oberman and his cohort Mr Matthews are highly paid entertainers on MSNBC. I tend towards being a Republican but haven't listened to Limbaugh since he first came on air in early 1990s.

    May 28, 2009 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  13. lkb

    a terrible thing to say but when you have an AG who has basically made reverse discrimination comments, you are bound to hear from here on in.

    May 28, 2009 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  14. John

    Just gotta laugh at the spectacle of Republicans in such a self-righteous huff as to label others racist on the basis of out-of-context quotes.

    Keep digging that hole, GOP, and jump in it when its deep enough.

    May 28, 2009 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  15. Razor Willy

    Fitz Texas when will they make Texas it own country? Can't wait... you can keep all the rednecks... Once you are independent you will have state taxes Mr texas. Good luck ass

    May 28, 2009 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  16. LouAz

    After a while, the STINK even gets to a strong man.

    May 28, 2009 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  17. TM

    Sotomayor's comments are nearly identical to comments made by Justices' Alito AND Scalia during THEIR respective Senate confirmations! Are Republicans now physically unable to read books, newspapers or the Congressional Record, or "use the Google"?!

    And while I am both surprised and pleased to see this response from Senator Cornyn, I will be even more surprised if he makes it to next week without making a groveling apology for contradicting "Boss" Limbaugh

    May 28, 2009 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  18. steven harnack

    now this is the dangerous republican! even though he probably agrees 100% with rush and newt he has the political sense to know that they have to stop being seen as aliens from the planet hate. this is more typical of usual republican behavior, to hide a mean spirit behind reasonable language.

    May 28, 2009 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  19. Ping

    "Reasonable Republican" and "Moderate Conservative" are becoming oxymorons. This train wreck of a party is run by fat drug addicted entertainers and mouth foaming idealogues. Come on over Mr. Cornyn.

    May 28, 2009 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  20. Ancient River

    Rush Limbaugh failed most of the ONE he took and never graduated from anything but high school-and all after coming from an accomplished family with means. He is a loser of the worst sort., lots of advantages and no desire to really exert himself. Why would anyone with half a brain listen to him? Listening to him, the GOP will become obsolete and we will all be facing the Libertarian Party, which truly esposes the actual beleifs of the current base of the shrinking Republican Party. Wait and see. It'll be the Dems and Libertarians. Mark my words. The GOP is over.

    May 28, 2009 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  21. carlos

    the lizzard and king blimp should have their tongues tied to a pick up truck.................waterboarding anyone?

    May 28, 2009 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  22. David Newport, OR

    It is wrong...just as letting Rush, Newt and Cheney appear to speak as the voice of the GOP. But until you correct your bad children, whose fault is it when they act up? The children or the parents?

    May 28, 2009 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  23. mjl

    he's too smart to be a republician.

    May 28, 2009 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  24. Laura S

    You guys are probably right. Cornyn will be groveling for Rush's forgiveness in a day or two. Hopefully he has the guts to stand by his comments and convince others to do the same.
    Sotomayor's comment wasn't racist it was cultural. And it was true. And she will be given the opportunity to explain herself.

    May 28, 2009 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  25. Action

    Uh-Oh...I feel an apology coming on.....

    May 28, 2009 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
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