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June 3rd, 2009
12:57 PM ET

Why Gingrich withdrew ‘racist’ label

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/31/sotomayor.nomination/art.bio.gi.jpg]

Gloria Borger
CNN Senior Political Analyst

After initially waiting a few nanoseconds to call Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor a racist - not to mention advising that she just ought to withdraw from consideration - Newt Gingrich has had a sudden change of heart.

Or at least vocabulary.

In the conservative magazine Human Events, he writes on Wednesday: "My initial reaction was strong and direct - perhaps too strong and too direct. ... Since then, some who want to have an open and honest consideration of Judge Sotomayor's fitness to serve on the nation's highest court have been critical of my word choice. ... The word 'racist' should not have been applied to Judge Sotomayor as a person, even if her words themselves are unacceptable."

An apology from Newt? And one that contains a string of thoughts too long to Twitter? How can that be?

It seems as if poor Gingrich found himself the target of his own Republican Party. Some of the more serious folks in the Senate had been trying to figure out what kind of a jurist Sotomayor might be, when Newt and Rush Limbaugh decided to morph into Thelma and Louise.

Their favorite topic? Sotomayor's now infamous statement that, "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." Foolish, yes. Self-serving, sure.

But Gingrich and Co. just couldn't leave it at that. Personal name-calling is just so much more fun - and attention-getting. So she became a racist (even a reverse racist), in their words.

Keep reading...

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. rythym135790

    By Newt's and Rush's standards, Billy Graham is a racist.

    The following was reported by James Warren, Chicago Tribune staff reporter on 3-1-02:

    Rev. Billy Graham openly voiced a belief that Jews control the American media, calling it a "stranglehold" during a 1972 conversation with President Richard Nixon, according to a tape of the Oval Office meeting released Thursday by the National Archives.

    "This stranglehold has got to be broken or the country's going down the drain," the nation's best-known preacher declared as he agreed with a stream of bigoted Nixon comments about Jews and their perceived influence in American life.

    "You believe that?" Nixon says after the "stranglehold" comment.

    "Yes, sir," Graham says.

    "Oh, boy," replies Nixon. "So do I. I can't ever say that but I believe it."

    "No, but if you get elected a second time, then we might be able to do something," Graham replies.

    June 3, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  2. Gary - Santa Monica, CA

    I feel sorry for Those "critics."

    June 3, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  3. Michelle - St Augustine, FL

    Neut withdrew because in his own speech on 4/07 he made even worse remarks than she did against the spanish speaking population

    June 3, 2009 at 3:48 pm |
  4. Sharon S

    CNN as usual did not report the entire article so you would be wise to read the whole article!

    Newt is NOT apologizing for his thoughts and opinions as are the same as me this woman has said many things and done many things that point to the direction of her giving people of color better chances of getting off when they do a crime, as that has been proven over and over again, so does not abide by LAW! in one speech she pretty much said she wanted to create her OWN laws which would be a really bad day for America!

    June 3, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
  5. toadman

    It's fun to watch people back peddle.

    It'd be even more fun to watch Limbaugh back peddle.. but if he did that, he'd have to back up all the way to the 80s.

    June 3, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  6. Lisa in CA

    Hmmm, is it possible white males - who make up the majority of Congress, and who have created this mess that we find ourselves currently in - are feeling a bit, well, threatened that a woman, any woman, very well could do a better job than they have? Better yet, a woman, white or otherwise, might actually have different life experiences that may be of benefit ... to the nation, as a whole?

    June 3, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  7. rosemary

    Sotomeyer did not mean it to be racist. What she ment was a latina woman has more experience then a cacausion male because of the experience in life she went thourgh in life. Meaning people that had lived on both side of track are more experience, where those that haven't really don't under stand the other side of the tracks (hard life).

    June 3, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  8. David

    Who cares what Newt thinks or says. He screwed his political career when he led the incredibly malicious and vitriolic attack against Bill Clinton. I think he suddenly went ..whoops have I put my foot in it again?..... The answer, Newt is yes you stupid idiot. When are you going to learn that people get a much more favorable opinion of you if you just keep your big mouth shut and don't express your opinions.

    June 3, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  9. JC- Los Angeles

    @ Lazy Liberal:

    I am one who requires no support because unlike so many weak people in this country, I am able to support myself.

    As a registered Independent who voted for Barack Obama, due in large part to horrendous alternatives, it's the height of hypocrisy to support any party or candidate today.

    Our once proud nation has been run into the ground by the connected few on Wall Street and Capitol Hill who collectively lined their pockets at taxpayer expense.

    With each egregious rate cut by the octogenarian, the mortgage fraud factories cranked up production with Wall Street, Capitol Hill, corporate executives, Christopher Dodd, Barney Frank and their ilk laughing all the way to Congressional Country Club.

    We now get Geithner who is trying to get his boys paid once again off the same mortgage fraud; an unaccomplished 31 year old running GM; a clueless Republican party and a President praticing on the American people.

    I think I'll continue to excel by taking care of myself.

    June 3, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  10. Melissa

    He withdrew it because his party had a fit. Looks like some people in the Republican party have brains after all. Who woulda thought.

    June 3, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  11. Mike in NYC

    Good point about the Catch-22, White Male.

    The Immigration Act of 1965 laid the basis for the demographic changes we see before us. The cow is out of the barn, unfortunately.

    Whites will continue to decrease as a percentage of the population, but will continue to bear the lion's share of the cost of government. This situation cannot continue forever. Something will have to give, and it won't be pleasant.

    June 3, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  12. Lazy Liberals

    JC- If we all went away, who would support you??

    June 3, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  13. JC- Los Angeles

    It's as if the Republicans have decided to live by the long-standing tradition of the Democrats by never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

    Stunning incompetence time and time again; it's as if Steele, Gingrich, Jindal and the like are channeling the horrid Howard Dean and Terry McAuliffe.

    All, please go away.

    June 3, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  14. White Male

    Sotomayor has had 5 decisions reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court, 3 of which have been reversed.

    One of these was her aggressive pro-environmental anti-energy decision, another was her aggressive pro-litigation anti-business decision, which was overturned unanimously.

    She has carried only 11 of 44 possible votes during those cases.

    Chief Justice Roberts once stated that her method of reading the statute in question "flies in the face of the statutory language."

    June 3, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  15. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Newt has cooked his goose and takes down the Republican Party with him. Proves Newt isn't too bright and will do and say anything for his own self serving power.

    June 3, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  16. White Male

    This whole thing is political. She's made it clear that she is an activist and advocate for latinos. After she got a full scholarship to Princeton, she protested that there were no latino teachers and not enough latino students.

    She upheld the throwing out of a test for firefighters in Connecticut because not enough hispanics did well on it.

    Obama has nominated her because she will support amnesty for illegal aliens, who the Democratic party wants to give voting rights to because they will vote for whoever helps them.

    Gingrich withdrew his remarks because the Rebublicans are in a catch-22. Oppose a hispanic, lose the hispanic vote. Support Sotamayor and you are supporting amnesty and favoritism for illegal aliens and minorities over the blind justice and "EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW" that are the only four words on the Supreme Court building.

    June 3, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  17. Had it

    Ah Gloria, the obvious liberal that you are. It is so painful to watch you on those panels, I have to change the channel when you speak, which could be why CNN's ratings are in the toilet. If only you could be fair minded and admit that her comment was indeed racist and if a white person had said anything even close to what she said there would have been demands to withdrawl immediately and I think even you know that. The point is a double standard, but for you to admit that would be.................well, impossible. your liberal side must never sway. You could never be a journalist, that would be like an ex con becoming a cop.

    June 3, 2009 at 1:31 pm |
  18. Mari

    Finally the GOPers have figured out that their vile words are going to cost them votes in 2010.

    Their vile words convince Americans of what we have already known, the GOP= hate, lies, fear and division.

    You can't win elections with only the Grumpy Old Punks vote!

    June 3, 2009 at 1:28 pm |
  19. Lampe

    I don't remember Obama, or The Democrats withdrawing the racist remarks they made about The Clintons during The primary. Seems to me maybe they ought to lead my example, and not by accusations!

    June 3, 2009 at 1:02 pm |

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