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This quote is Atticus' way of saying that he isn't at all radical. Cotton Tom Heflin was major supporter of white supremacy. The man was completely racist..... something Atticus was not.
Actually if you read the quote "You can tell Cecil that im about as radical as Cotton Tom Heflin", he clearly states that he is as radical as Cotton Tom Heflin. Now this could be him making a joke about it, but the point is that he does not say he isnt as radical as Cotton Tom Heflin, he says he is.