He agrees with critics who say he should not have called Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor a "racist," former House speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., writes on his website this morning. Here's what he now says:
Shortly after President Obama nominated her to a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, I read Judge Sonia Sotomayor's now famous words:
"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."
My initial reaction was strong and direct -- perhaps too strong and too direct. The sentiment struck me as racist and I said so. 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.
With these critics who want to have an honest conversation, I agree. The word "racist" should not have been applied to Judge Sotomayor as a person, even if her words themselves are unacceptable (a fact which both President Obama and his Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, have since admitted).
But, Gingrich adds:
Sotomayor's words reveal a betrayal of a fundamental principle of the American system -- that everyone is equal before the law.
Several of Gingrich's fellow Republicans, including Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, were sharply critical of both the former speaker and radio host Rush Limbaugh for calling Sotomayor a racist.
Limbaugh has not backed away from the characterization.
Gingrich is tweeting here. On his blog last week, Gingrich says that a "Latina woman racist" should be forced to withdraw as a nominee.
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