BACKPEDALING

Gingrinch, Limbaugh Step Off Sonia

Just when the Sotomayor flame war seemed intractable, two of the Supreme Court nominee's most ardent—and arguably offensive—detractors ate their words today. After calling Sotomayor a "reverse racist" last week, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich wrote in a letter to supporters Wednesday that he’d been “perhaps too strong and direct." Gingrich noted, however, that he's still concerned Sonia's decisions on the bench will show bias. Meanwhile, though conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said he stands by his "racist" comments, he noted on his Wednesday show that he "can see a possibility of supoprting this nomination if I can be convinced that she does have a sensibility toward life in a legal sense." The reason for Rush's suddenly open mind? "She's a Catholic, she's a devout Catholic, she's a Hispanic Catholic... she hasn't got a record on this." So, Rush can get behind a racist—so long as she's pro-life. Duly noted.