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. Wyatt

    Amazing how many people know so little about the world. If a white person said what she said they would be roasted. And whites didnt start slavery or racism. The romans, egyptians, all of the arabs nations, had slaves and racism long before america ever existed. Aficans enslaved other aficans. White have enslaved whites. Its not just one race or country that has done these things. Amazing how much racism I see towards white on here. Sad!

    May 31, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. SoSaysSam

    The Rub party is the biggest mess I have ever seen, and Rash is just the man to lead the worst bunch of hate mongers in the western world.

    May 31, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  3. t

    ...IN OTHER WORDS....

    "I think he's wrong but I can't say that because he represents my base"


    May 31, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. William Templeton

    Why did you bother to ask that question, none of those cowards have the guts to stand up to anything (Reason #1 why Republicans lost everything) and continue to live the bad old days of accuse, hate, accuse and more hate. No one disavows any word that the hate monger "Drug Limberg" spouts into the approving ears of that organization at large, while they all, to a person, hide behind "well, he is not an elected official". Limberg is now and has always been the mad dog of that organization, he is the convienent, (not elected) voice of the real feelings of that corrosive Organization

    May 31, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. Post always rejected by CNN

    I really get tickled to go to Drudge and see where Fox News has the most viewers....I think they are the station for hate, racism and putting forth views that help fill their pockets.

    BUT do you know why people go to Fox....TO GET THE NEWS. Fox tells news. They do have a lot of republican partisan commentators, but they tell the news that is happening all over the country.

    CNN, MSNBC and the NetWorks all you see is jolly old this, celeb this and see your own videos. Their news service is a joke. No wonder the internet is taking over. Way back in the early 1990's when Turner owned CNN they were the same way, they told the news, no bias, no spin. I watch Fox over the other two because I want to know what is going on. When the hate spewers come on I turn it off.

    May 31, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. Trang

    Rush Limbaugh will bring down the Republican Party if you don't stand up to him. He is full of hate and has extreme ideology. Your party has been 'hijacked' by them, it seems, and the current batch of leaders are too weak to fight them. As soon as they criticize, they have to come back and apologize to Rush. There are few people who has refused to that – ie. Powell, and Cheney/Rush doesn't want him in the party, don't believe he's a 'true' Republican. This don't speak well for your party.

    May 31, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  7. Champly

    The gloves are forever off now. Whether Barry, CNN, or the Obamots like it or not, white males are now a vested minority. We will raise hell, provericate, and demand a free ride, just like all the rest. We can riot in the streets with CNNs breathless approval. We can scream "racism" when the sun comes up and when the sun goes down. Yes, the gloves are now off, and we are the second or third larges minority, behind the Obamot free riders of course.

    May 31, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  8. m00finsan

    "Look. I've got a big job to do dealing with 40 Senate Republicans and trying to advance the nation's agenda..."

    You mean your agenda, Mr. McConnell. Your agenda.

    May 31, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  9. Peter V

    I am soooo tired of the hypocrisy that is so much a part of being a liberal, that it isn't even noticed. Why is it that only conservatives are held to account for virtue such as honesty, morality, and over all 'doing the right thing'?
    You'd have to be either an absolute idiot or in deep denial to not see that Sotomayor is a racist. As Newt said, just run it through the test – if you substitute 'white' for 'Latina' and vice versa, there'd be no question of racist intent.

    May 31, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  10. Frank Castillo

    Look Ms. Sotomayor has a long list of accomplishments. Stop making a big deal about some sentence in some speech and make time to look over her incerdible resume. You;ll realize that she is the MOST QUALIFIED SUPREME COURT NOMINEE IN A GENERATION. As a young black male, I very proud that our first African American president made the right choice for the supreme court.

    For white males that fells threatened. I say don;t be greedy, you've been running this country for over 400 years. we've gotten to a point that minorities have understand your system and starting to master it. If whites feel left out, educate yourselves more and don't be a victim of ignorance.

    May 31, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  11. Alex

    "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"

    Hey Sara Leith, Sotomayor was raised by a single mother because her father DIED. Get your facts straight.

    May 31, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  12. Dave

    You know she didn't make a comment about all white men, just white men who haven't lived as a "rich" a background as she has. She's talking about privileged white men, who have been "given" their positions. Such as a $40,000 a year high school education, which leads directly to Yale university even if you have a C average because your father is a senator and your grandfather was on the board. Then getting to use your father's money to start some small oil companies and eventually use his money to buy part of the Texas Rangers. Then you get to run for governor of Texas, because people know who you are, and you have lots of money to run Karl Rove smear campaigns against anyone standing in your way. You are Governor for 6 years, then next stop you become President of the United States for 8 years by stealing one election and smearing a John Kerry in another one. These are the kind of white men, she is talking about. And yes I believe she is right when she says she can make a better decisions than those kind of white men.

    May 31, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  13. gl, Pittsburgh

    Wyatt – YOur comments is the prime example why I hate your Republicans. Not it was Afrians that started the Slavery. Just like Bush, never admit you are wrong just blame it on someone. YOU WHITES MADE MY BLACK BROTHERS SLAVES and have never admitted it.

    May 31, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  14. Ridiculous

    Would all this speculation and scrutiny be taking place if this nominee was a white male with the same qualifications? Would they have even looked back for any little satement in one of his speeches?

    May 31, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  15. Erick in AL

    Ok folks.Sotomayor should have used better words so that if a white man had said the same thing he wouldve been saying his upbringing and background helps him to make better judgements than some others. Fact is whites have'nt faced racism like minorities have.Its the truth and you can accept it or not.She's not racist its the truth. WHEn you have a humble upbringing you appreciate things ore and you take an approach that says hey I care about you and I understand. Again she could have used better words but its the truth.ANd stop it with the stupid Obama jokes. I wonder who the real racists are that say "obama supporters are kool aid drinker." Isnt that a racist statement?????YES it is!

    May 31, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  16. The GOP Reaper

    LOL..I dislike GOP completely these days, but you know...the La Raza membership is worrisome to me more than anything.

    But hey, don't ask me now, ask me 20 years from now when the Supreme Court (with Sotomayor) decides in favor of La Raza when they help Mexico sue to the US and gain a settlement that includes the re-anexation of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and parts of California.

    Then "Old Mexico" will be reunified. Isn't that the goal of La Raza anyway? I think we know where her vote would fall.

    Forget the racism, worry about La Raza.

    Besides, there are tons of other left-leaning to moderate left choices that are just as qualified to choose from, and i'm sure there is probably another latina if we have to be politically correct in choosing that does not have to be tied to aggressive groups.


    May 31, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  17. Champly

    gl – your african ancestors had african slaves thousands of years before the white man came along. The whites learned the slave trade from the africans.

    May 31, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  18. wishing

    Champly, she was talking about experience, not race. She was comparing someone pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, versus someone growing up and living in an ivory tower.

    The GOP says the same thing whenever the Dems nominate someone from the east coast: "they don't know anything about Real America and Real Americans, they are naive and live in their ivory towers."

    Whether or not legitimate in either case, it isn't racism.

    Besides, according to the the US Immigration and Naturalization Dept., Sotomayor is Caucasion. Last, I looked, so were the whites. Therefore, she was talking about two white people; one with her experience and one without.

    May 31, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  19. Gus The Willie

    What is the Keystone Cops (Republican Party) up to this time around? Could the good ole boys network or scenerio be in jeopardy? No doubt the Keystone Cops are in dispair and choas. Unfortunately, Keystone Cop members like Limbough, Senator Kyle and others are still perpetuating negative thoughts on impending changes coming to America, changes that don't fit within their agenda.

    Presently, see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil speaks best of the Keystone Cops, and not recalling what King George did to their party. Perhaps they should pay heed to the comments of a long forgotten warrior, General MacArthur; and they all just fade away.

    Judge Sotomayor is uniquely qualified to be on the Supreme Court, and why not a woman Hispanic Supreme Court member? The only thing that arises out this opposition to her nomination could be she is most intimidating to the good ole boys network. You got to love the Republican Party in the self destruct mode.

    May 31, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  20. gl, Pittsburgh

    You white people commenting on this post are so irrelavent. You whites have hide behind your richest and have denided any race to get ahead becasue of their race, but because you did not come right out and say the reason you didn't get the job was becasue of your black or latin don't mean it is not so. Why was the affirmative action created becasue of racist discrimanation behind closed doors. Whites will never admit they are one of the biggest racist among any race just look at who is screaming about Sonia Sotomayor nomination nothing but hatful WHITE UGLY MEN!

    May 31, 2009 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  21. Champly

    Erick in AL – a racist comment tells a lot about the soul of that individual. Whether it is Trent Lott, Bill Clinton, or Jessie Jackson. This nominee is clearly a racist and should not be elevated to the supreme court because of that. What is so complicated and difficult about that concept ?

    May 31, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  22. JT

    @Wyatt- Don't think you helped your argument any.

    Racism and sexism are just plain wrong. People in the GOP made many racial and sexist statements not only this week, but as part of their general long-term policy.

    The GOP has is struggling to survive, yet it feeds its cancer by promoting racism and sexism.

    May 31, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  23. Smitty

    It doesn't matter which side of the fence you are on anymore. The partisian rederic is the problem. This woman has a small point that she made a Univercity known for their anti-establishment beliefs. That is all that was about. BUT! She is dangerous – and let me tell you why: When she writes that she believes the 2nd Ammendment of the Constitution is NOT meant to allow the American Citizen to bare arms – and that it is in fact illegal for American Citizens to bare arms – she has gone so far off into left feild – you can't even see her anymore! All anyone has to do is READ the 2nd Ammendment to know what it means – it spells it out in plain English!!! The purpose of the 2nd Ammendment is for the American Citizen (as a God given right) to be able to keep and bare arms – to protect themselves from a "Tyrannical" government! That is the main reason Obama wants this woman as a Supreme Court Judge. The fact that she is Latino – chairman of LARAZA – which I challenge everyone to investigate who & what that is – and a female is two other reasons to place her in such an important position. But – to write such provocative dis-information – should be enough to cause her to step down as a candidate. She is obviously prejudice of gun owners – and the principles that this country was founded on! Again, I could care less which side of the fence you want to defend – this is just plain WRONG!

    May 31, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  24. anderson n carolina

    CNN...the new Fox-lite! Why don't you try a story on what Alito SAID about how he would take into consideration what his family went through as immigrants and the discrimination they say! Wait...he's a white guy so thats ok! What have we got mostly in the Senate? Mostly old white men! Are we happy how the senate is run? I think I made my point!

    May 31, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  25. Champly

    Ridiculous – you must have missed the Alito and Roberts confirmations. The democrat party and Obamots crucified both, but never found where either was a racist. This women is a racist.

    May 31, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12