It's hard for me to interpret what President Obama is saying in defense of Sonia Sotomayor:

President Barack Obama on Friday personally sought to deflect criticism of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, who finds herself under intensifying scrutiny for saying in 2001 that a female Hispanic judge would often reach a better decision than a white male judge. "I'm sure she would have restated it," Obama flatly told NBC News, without indicating how he knew that.

There are several ways this could be interpreted, and I think the President was intentionally ambiguous so that we can each believe in the way that makes Sotomayor look the best in our own minds.

1. Sotomayor didn't mean what she said. She meant to convey an entirely different meaning, and she would have restated herself to convey that meaning if she had the opportunity. (Which she didn't?)

2. Sotomayor meant what she said, but if she had known that she would be nominated to the Supreme Court eight years later she would have phrased it more ambiguously so that her beliefs couldn't be so easily held against her.

3. Sotomayor meant what she said but now wishes she could take it back because she has changed her mind.

4. Sotomayor meant what she said but now wishes she could take it back because she thinks it will hurt her chances of being confirmed.

Is there another option? Which of these really speaks well of a person who could very well get a life-long appointment to the Supreme Court?

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