Although John Silber, running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Massachusetts, has been more restrained in his rhetoric recently, he hasn't lost his ability to stir up controversy.

Silber, who described Massachusetts as a welfare magnet and suggested that a person could "live with alcohol abuse and still achieve at a high level," said Gloria Steinem, Louis Farrakhan and white supremacists are "the kind of people I wouldn't appoint as judges."

At a candidate forum on women's issues, Silber was asked whether he would consider gender, race or specific positions on issues when making judicial appointments. He replied: "I would want to make sure that that judge was not so taken up in a cause -- either the cause of women or the cause of minorities -- that the judge could not act fairly if a male came before that judge or if a person not a minority came before that judge."

Asked for clarification, he added: "I would not put a white supremacist on the court for fear that a black could not get a fair trial in his court. Neither would I put somebody like Farrakhan on the bench who I think might discriminate against whites. Likewise, I would not appoint Gloria Steinem to the bench."

Lt. Gov. Evelyn Murphy, another Democratic candidate in the race, told Silber, "You insult a lot of women when you make that kind of line."

One of those insulted was Steinem, who said that Silber "can't perceive the difference between equality and supremacy."