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Gibbs: Sotomayor's Word Choice "Poor"

At the tail end of a more than hour-long press briefing White House press secretary made a stunning admission about the administration's Supreme Court pick while discussing her controversial 2001 speech.

"I think she'd say that her word choice in 2001 was poor," Gibbs said of Sonia Sotomayor's argument that a "wise Latina woman" would reach better conclusions than white men. "She was simply making the point that personal experiences are relevant to the process of judgment, that your personal experiences have a tendency to make you more aware of certain facts in certain cases, that your experiences impact your understanding. I think we'd all agree with that."

Gibbs then tried to compare her comment to remarks from now-Justice Samuel Alito during his confirmation hearing, when he said that while hearing cases involving immigrants, "I can't help but think of my own ancestors, because it wasn't long ago that they were in that position."

"I think if she had the speech to do it all over again, I think she'd change that word," Gibbs said.

Asked how he came to that conclusion, Gibbs said he has been told as much from people Sotomayor has spoken with.

A moment earlier, Gibbs had responded to a new attack from Rush Limbaugh, who compared Sotomayor to David Duke.

"I don't think you have to be the nominee to find what was said today offensive," he said, pointing as well to other Republicans who have recently condemned Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich's claims that she's a racist. "It's sort of hard to completely quantify the outrage I think almost anybody would feel at the notion that you're being compared to somebody who used to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan."