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. Simmy

    Sen. McConnell's statement is a cop out code phrase.....Interpreted it means, "I don't want to risk offending the far right and Rush, so I'm staying neutral"......General Powell was their last hope, and trust me, he may be Republican in name, but in his heart he's a Dem or Ind, and he will vote from his heart......He's too strategically smart to stay on a sinking ship.......

    May 31, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  2. gl, Pittsburgh

    Ridiculous May 31st, 2009 1:08 pm ET

    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?

    AND THE ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION IS HELL NO! WHITES REFUSE TO SHARE THIS COUNTRY WITH OTHER RACES AND WILL DO ANYTHING TO FIGHT AGANIST IT. Obama won and he will win again on his nomination. Most peple blacks, whites, latins are tired of the white racist people and is ready to move pass racist. It is the Repubicans old white men that still want to keep racist alive. Just look at who is screaming the loudest white ugly old racist men.

    May 31, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  3. nelson

    Sotomayer said it.. that is what she thought at that place in time..
    soooo, she is racist..period.

    May 31, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  4. Fitz

    Speaking of the sexism charge, where is Carly? I haven't heard her say anything in quite a while because you know I think that comment from Steele "Slammin and Rammin" Judge Sotomayor was way loaded. Where are all the PUMAS that felt Obama was so so sexist? where are they? My goodness, when real sexist stuff is happening, you can't find them anywhere.

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

    wishing – you wish she wasn't racist but she was. She referred to her self as a "latino women" compared to "white men". That is a clearly racist statement which disqualifies this candidate.

    May 31, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. bill

    RESPONSIBLE members of the Republicna Party should tell the clowns like Limbaugh, Gingrich, O"Reilly, and Hannity to sit down and shut up since they are doing the party a lot of damage and making fools of themselves.

    May 31, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  7. Champly

    One more thought – her association with La Raza puts her in the camp with separationists. La Raze flirts with the dismemberment of America in favor of reunion with Mexico or a separate, and anglo-hostile, government. For that one reason alone, never mind her racism and sexism, Sonia Sotomayor is disqualified.

    May 31, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |

    Well, McConell had a chance to tell the viewers that he disapproved of these stupid comments.....Instead he played sheepish.....very foolish.

    May 31, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  9. darlond2002

    it is very painful how the Republicans have allowed Rush Limbaugh to run thire party. All i hear from him (Limbaugh) every time is hateful words. Wake up guys.

    May 31, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  10. gl, Pittsburgh

    Champly May 31st, 2009 1:11 pm ET

    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

    It is not so. You whites sure love to put a twist to everything. I know my black hisorty better then you – you white ass. whites starting this slave mess and made a mess out of our black lives and your race is getting it pay back with having to listen to a black President tell you what to do. THIS IS THE BEST PAY BACK ONE CAN HAVE!

    May 31, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |

    Well, McConell had a chance to tell the viewers that he disapproved of these stupid comments.....Instead he played sheepish.....

    May 31, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. gl, Pittsburgh

    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.

    May 31, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. wmcauth07

    GOParty of "No" has become party of "Maybe" if it doesnt cost me votes.

    May 31, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  14. wishing


    You are wrong in your interpretation of her statements in that ruling re: Second Amendment rights.

    The individual in question was trying to use a defense which, in Sotomayor's opinion, would have worked against the federal government, but not against a state government. Basically, she was saying that the Federal government does not have a role in regulating an individual's right= to bear arms, but States have a constitutional authority to regulate arms in their states.

    She sounds like a Republican States' RIghts supporter more than a liberal on this issue.

    May 31, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  15. gl, Pittsburgh

    dan – Since President Obama been president whites have not stop with all their hatful comments toward this black presdient and until this happy as a black person i will continue to voice my views on racist.

    May 31, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  16. John, a proud veteran

    Are you sure that the present members of the Supreme Court don't have
    racist tendencies? Who is better qualified to make wise decisions, one who grew up a member of the upper class and now lives in a gated community or one who grew up as a member of the lower class and now enjoys the life of the upper class? A Supreme Court that represents
    a cross section of America should be able to make more balanced decisions than one drawn only from the "know it all" class.

    May 31, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  17. don corpier

    well after reading some the comments i can see the true bigots and racists are alive and well. half the listening population tune into that moron rushy boy just to get a laugh-like archie bunker. the other half are nothing more than red neck bigots. i seriously doubt that these red necks have the ability to add two plus two let a lone make an intelligent decision. rush and newt are racist bigots period-if you like them join their ranks. my god you idiots make me want puke my guts out.

    May 31, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  18. JT

    John King's State of the Union should be renamed "John King's State of the Republican Union". CNN is becoming Fox-Lite.

    May 31, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. Pat Smith

    A Senate with two women does not make it racist or sexist does it? Hummm. Seems white man is a little uncomfortable. About time I 'd say.

    May 31, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. sensible Cape Coral Fl

    How come an idiot like "CHAMPLY" gets posted many times while others have to endure MODERATION"?

    May 31, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  21. Gabby Green

    Its time Limbaugh, Gingritch, Cheney and Bush realize that the old boys network is dead. There's a new sherrif in town overseeing a society where bigotry and favortism have no place.

    But at least these "old boys" now give the proper face to the Republican party and the U.S. public can now has a clear choice between bigotry (most republicans) and a new society( democrats).

    May 31, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. to those blogging here......

    open your minds and please please do not repeat what your bloated king blimp is saying so you can go ahead and repeat his word.....get some knowledge, education and common sense.....then, you'll be OK....hehehehehe

    May 31, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  23. Simmy

    It's hard to believe that CNN would let John King ride ramrod over the airways with his blatantly-bipartisan-racially-tinted show....I agree with the person who said many in the media seem to be conveniently sleeping through the hateful comments being made against the most qualifed judge the SC has had so far.....

    Judge Sotomayor will be confirmed, and move into her role as Supreme Court Justice, but her supporters will not forget the GOP come elections......Her powerful credentials and gender are scaring the yosimite sam out of the Republicans....I love it......

    May 31, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  24. mattie

    While I will reserve judgement on Sotomayer until I hear more, I agree Rush is a racist, but after reading the comments of glpittsburgh, they win the prize for the most racist person on this blog.

    May 31, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  25. gl, Pittsburgh

    Champly – do you need a hug since you comments are irrelavent.

    May 31, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
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