May 31st, 2009
02:17 PM ET
13 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: Extra • Mitch McConnell • State of the Union
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. Wingnuttia-Free Zone

    McConnell and Cornyn are pleased to have Limbaugh, Gingrich, FOX and CNN doing all their dirty work for them. All four keep repeating the lies and distortions about an outstanding SCJ nominee.

    Yes, CNN, you don't REPORT the news, you just REPEAT the garbage put out there by the right-wingnuts and losernuts.

    GOP = Goofs on Parade

    May 31, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  2. Sara Leith

    I am so sick of women and men bringing up being raised by a single parent. In the olden days, we our grandparents and parents tried to teach us not to sleep around and bring children into the world without the benifit of 2 parents. However, there are those women and men who do that and they have to deal with it. That still does not give this woman the right to knock white men. What a shame

    May 31, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  3. Champly

    If you speak racist words, participate in racist organization (la raza), you are, in fact, a racist. She is a racist.

    May 31, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  4. Dawn in Pa

    @Liberals are retarded.

    I'm two part Native American, I have a part black nephew and two part Latino cousins.

    Racism started when they wanted to obliviate the Native Americans, and then the whites went into Africa to bring forth slaves, because the Old Southerners needed someone to work their fields, Racism is you sir or madam. Next thing you are going to say is she not an American.

    Please do not judge yet ye maybe judged, let that up to the Senate who has to question her, and please watch Cspan to get the verdict.

    May 31, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  5. Fatima

    So, it is OK Scalia and Alito belong to the Italian American Club? Does it make them part of the Mafia and hence should be outright disqualified? But, it is not OK that Sotomajor belongs to La Raza? Is it because she is a woman or she is "latina"? You are either "chauvinist" or "racist".

    May 31, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. Bob (Illinois)

    It is absolutely amazing how frightened Republicans are of Lush Limbaugh. Very few are willing to take the clown (Limbaugh) to task when he shoots off his mouth and spews garbage in every direction.

    May 31, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  7. Champly

    Tommy Perkins – I read her speech 10 times over. She is a racist.

    May 31, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. david from oregon

    Doesn't anyone from the GOP have the cajones to be a leader? Every wonder why they have been relagated from the party of power to the party of nothing in such a short tiime? Simple...stupidity.

    May 31, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  9. gl, Pittsburgh

    Are you kidding me???

    You are a joke. You reading your title let me know you are a joke. We have a right to fight against how the whties are acting like they are so not racist. They are the ones that started all this racist mess.

    May 31, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  10. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    @Dawn in PA, I hate to break it to you, but blacks were enslaving other blacks in Africa long before they even saw their first white person. When Europeans and American colonists arrived, they just found a better market for selling their fellow blacks. Read some history.

    May 31, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  11. AJP

    If they are Republicans they are liars by nature. That is the way they are and always will be.

    They will soon be an extinct party as most Americans are turning against them and what they stand for in todays world.

    May 31, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  12. bill

    She is racist and should withdraw her nomination. They should put the nomination in for a far better Hispanic candidate like Miguel Estrada. He is a far more superior candidate. Also after the hispanic can we get a blind or transgendered nominee...or whatever is next on the list.

    May 31, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  13. bob z.

    the supreme court judge is not dem not prep not white or bleck or brown t6hey should be blind this women will not be because of her membership with la raza.

    May 31, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  14. dtaylor

    All you people that are calling Sotomayor racist, do you even know what racism is. The was nothing racist about her statement...and furthermore, you need to read her entire transcript so that you get the full contect.

    I think people (blacks, whites, etc.) tend to cry racism to qiuckly these days and most time without merit.

    May 31, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. Hypocrisy

    I totally agree with the assessment that there is definately a double standard between what Sotomayor said and what would be considered racist if a white man had said something similar. We Americans seem to have very short memories when it comes to politics, but I remember a certain Senator Trent Lott making comments that many people found "offensive" (though if you look at the comments themselves and the contxt they were taken in, they were hardly offensive) and he was literally thrown under the bus. So I totally feel that people are being hypocritical here.

    At the same time, I would like to make a few points. First of all, regardless of what justification some people on the right may feel they have so far as calling her a racist based on her past statements, I think that word is a little strong at best and far to premature an accusation to make based on what little we know about her so far. I refuse to come to that conclusion based on one sentence that was lifted out of a speech given 8 years ago without at least knowing the context that it was given in. I didn't do that to Trent Lott and I'm not going to do it here. Secondly, whether the Rush Limbaughs and Newt Gingrichs of the world want to admit it or not, the bottom line is that that type of criticism and name calling will only garner the emnity of the Hispanic community, which is already increasingly going Democratic, and will only fuel the (mis)conception that the GOP is a racist party, which of course I totally believe is untrue. Nonetheless, in the Age of Obama, image is reality, and this type of name calling is a distraction that the GOP does not need right now if it wants to get back into power. The first goal of a party is to win elections, and sorry folks, the GOP will not do it by alienating people.

    May 31, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  16. Arlene, Roselle, Illinois

    How in the world did John King ever get a job at CNN, one
    of the worst newsman on TV. He and Dana Bash should
    take over for John and Kate!

    May 31, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  17. The Party of NO is only “pro-life” so they will be able to kill the “babies” 18 years later as soldiers in an elective religious war.

    The limbaugh lemmings are apoplectic!

    Women, blacks, Jews, Hispanics, gays and many other minorities have suffered discrimination at the hands of white men for decades and some for a century or more.

    But let a Hispanic woman make ONE comment about white men and listen to the white male neo-con "christians" cry "racist", "bigot" and begin wailing and gnashing of teeth. So, now that the shoe is on the other foot, suddenly all the neo-con white guys think racism is terrible. As a progressive white guy, it seems that the reins we have had on America are indeed being loosened. Of course, the limbaugh lemmings will screech because they do THINK we make the best decisions.

    The women on the Supreme Court broke the strangle hold we white men had on the choice issue, as though, a man could begin to understand having a baby.

    Now, it seems we will have a minority woman on the Supreme Court. So, she brings her bias to the court, so what, men brought their bias about women's bodies to the court for a century or more. Of course, a lot of these white men thought of women as chattel and less worthy than a man. So now we have a Latina that will not agree with white folks and how we have treated minorities for centuries.

    May 31, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. Gop

    If these Republican leaders don’t like her being called a racist then they better read her remark one more time.

    Even a Democrat Liberal knows that is exactly what she is based on her statements and opinions. I don’t see how else one could take it.

    And I find it odd that a Democrat leader can call a Republican racist and no one seems to get upset over that. Why is this always a double standard?

    And for the person that believes the GOP agenda is not Americans agenda I say wake up because it needs to be all of ours agenda.

    Most here want to believe these made up polls about what the people in this country believe and think.

    Our country is on the path to being a Socialist Nation and we have ignorant people that believe it is best for us all. This woman is a bad choice and Obama knows it. He is again playing the race card.

    It has nothing to do with is she the best choice for the court. It has everything to do with building up his block of voters for the 2010 elections and more down the line.

    May 31, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  19. Aspen Professor

    "Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich calling Obama's choice for the high court a "racist." They who cry wolf are most generally the wolf. Luckily, these wolf have no teeth. Those teeth got pulled in 2006 and 2008, and there is nothing left but the bloody stumps.

    We know who the real racists are. Take a hard look at the make up of the Republican and Conservative Party. Then listen closely to the views of Hannity, O'Reilly, Coulter, Limbaugh, Gingerich, and dos ole dumb folks. What a bunch of losers!

    May 31, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  20. Steve

    She IS a racist, as is bobo the presidential clown. Have a white person say the exact same things she said, but about a latina or african american and they would be tarred and feathered. It's about time someone called the racists of color out.

    May 31, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  21. Maria, "a latina"

    If a White woman said that she could make a better decision than a Latina or African-american the White woman would be called a racist.
    Enough said.....

    May 31, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  22. wbwhitt6

    Once again please review history and look at facts. Both parties throughout history have been "down and out". Lost power quickly. Stop looking at yesterday, today and tomorrow. Open your views and look at history it will repeat its self again soon. People stop repeating words and look for yourselves from all views and make up your own mind. If you say it is not ok to say "XYZ" then no one should say it. No matter their color, background or up bringing. No matter who selected them DEM or GOP. Have some standards and live by them. If a white person can't say it then a black can not. Not an Asian or latinio either.

    May 31, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. Champly

    Someone needs to ask Obama why he felt the need to nominate a racist to the court. He needs to come on TV, look us in the eye, and explain what good there can come of putting a women who is clearly a racist, as well as a sexist, on the highest court of the land.

    May 31, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  24. JonDie

    McConnell better not attack the GOP leadership (Limbaugh, Cheney and Gingrich) or else they'll throw McConnell out of the GOP and McConnell'll have no choice but to become a Democrat.

    May 31, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  25. truman

    Rush has disliked Hispanics ever since he discovered his Dominican houseboy had STD.

    May 31, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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