This is what’s known in baseball as a hanging curve ball:

Obama’s top spokesman, Robert Gibbs, told reporters about Sotomayor: "I think she’d say that her word choice in 2001 was poor."

And here’s Newt Gingirch on "Face the Nation" this morning, hitting it out of the park.

GINGRICH: It’s clear that what she said was racist, or as someone wrote recently ‘racialist’ if you prefer, and it’s clear that she didn’t just say it once. And I think one of the challenges for the administration is, having first chided me for language, then having said she didn’t mean it, then having said she ought to restate it, now they face the fact that she has said this, written about it, four or five times.

First rule of political discourse: never validate the opposition’s frame, especially if it’s total bullshit. There was nothing wrong with what Sotomayor said, and to take it out of context to call her a "racist" is to slander her. And the only appropriate response to that is to call it what it is — slanderous, disingenuous, dishonest. Not, "She’s not a racist, but golly, that wasn’t a very nice thing to say."

Republicans know how to play this game. Why doesn’t the White House?