Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh does not speak for Republican lawmakers, the White House communications director said Tuesday.

"I think in fairness to the Republican senators, I am willing to say that Rush Limbaugh probably does not speak for them," newly-minted Communications Director Anita Dunn said during an interview on MSNBC.

Dunn, speaking about Limbaugh's negative reaction to President Obama's selection of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court, broke from what has been a steady tactic by the White House and other Democrats to tie Republicans to the controversial Limbaugh.

Dunn said that the administration has been "heartened by the positive reaction" to Sotomayor's nomination, and pressured Republicans do cooperate in the confirmation process.

"We would like to see the kind of hearings that really are suitable for a Supreme Court nominee and respect the process," she said. "We would not like to see them dragged out for political reasons or because right-wing groups want to raise money. We would like to see this not turn into a political circus."