Newt Gingrich says he was wrong to call Sonia SotomayorSonia SotomayorA Day in Photos: The Biden Inauguration Barbara Lee dons Shirley Chisholm's pearls for Inauguration Day: 'Because of Shirley Chisholm, Vice President Harris is' Biden sworn in on family Bible his son Beau used MORE a "racist" last week.

The former House speaker had blasted Sotomayor for suggesting 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."

"My initial reaction was strong and direct--perhaps too strong and too direct," Gingrich wrote today in his Human Events column.

Gingrich added: "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)."

Here are Gingrich's original comments:
"Imagine [if] a judicial nominee said 'my experience as a white man makes me better than a latina [sic] woman' new racism is no better than old racism," Gingrich wrote on his Twitter feed.

Moments later he wrote: "White man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw

Gingrich's semi-apology seems to be an indication that the GOP is becomingly increasingly uncomfortable with the heated rhetoric directed against Sotomayor. Few prominent Republicans have publicly called Sotomayor a racist, but the charges have become fodder for cable news and blogs, raising worries that Republicans might alienate Hispanic voters at a time when they can least afford to do so.