"I think it's terrible," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, just told All Things Considered co-host Melissa Block when she asked what he thinks about comments from conservative radio superstar Rush Limbaugh and former House speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., who have both called Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a "racist" in recent days.
Limbaugh and Gingrich have gone after Sotomayor, as NPR's Liz Halloran has reported, "for a 2001 speech in which she suggested that the gender and ethnicity of judges could lead them to different conclusions in race and sex discrimination cases."
Cornyn, though, says comments such as those made by Limbaugh and Gingrich are "not helpful under any circumstances" and wrong.
Crossing rhetorical swords with Limbaugh has proven to be a problem in the past for some Republicans. In January, Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., apologized to "fellow conservatives" for accusing Limbaugh, Gingrich and Fox News' Sean Hannity of throwing verbal bricks and stirring up controversy.
In March, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele called Rush's show to apologize for saying he is just an "entertainer."
Steele appears to side with Cornyn on the latest issue, though. He's called on members of his party to be careful about what they say about Sotomayor.
Melissa's interview with Cornyn, in which he does say he is troubled by comments Sotomayor has made in the past about the role judges play, is due to air on today's ATC. Click here to find an NPR station near you.