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Newt Reconsiders

An interesting climb-down from Newt Gingrich about his tweet heard 'round the world:

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). 

Newt's actually got a sincere (to my mind, at least) interest in issues of race--and, as a Republican, is closer to the late Jack Kemp than the odious Jeff Sessions on race matters. Which is what made his "racist" comment about Sotomayor so disappointing: yes, he's a hyperbolic hot head who's almost always wrong, but he's also one of the few prominent Republicans who views race as something other than a cudgel. It's good to see correct himself here, even if he's still making a less inflamatory case against Sotomayor.

--Jason Zengerle