While some conservative pundits have assailed Sotomayor for being a "racist," Republicans in the senate have voiced more subdued concerns that the nominee values her ethnic perspective too strongly.
At issue is a statement she made in a speech delivered in 2001: "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."
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs in his daily press briefing on Friday said that Sotomayor would now consider her choice of words for the 2001 speech "poor."
"I think if she had the speech to do all over again, I think she'd change that word," Gibbs said, referring specifically to Sotomayor's remark that a Latina should reach a "better" conclusion than a white male.
Gibbs said he had not spoken to Sotomayor specifically about those remarks and was basing his comments on discussions he has had with other people.
"She was simply making the point that personal experiences are relevant to the process of judging," he added.