January 29th, 2009
09:17 AM ET
9 months ago

Gingrey apologizes for Limbaugh criticism

Gingrey, with his family and President Bush in 2005, represents a conservative district of Georgia.
Gingrey, with his family and President Bush in 2005, represents a conservative district of Georgia.

(CNN) – Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia apologized Wednesday for criticizing conservative hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hanity, assuring his supporters that "I am one of you."

"I regret and apologize for the fact that my comments have offended and upset my fellow conservatives—that was not my intent," Gingrey said in a statement. "I am also sorry to see that my comments in defense of our Republican Leadership read much harsher than they actually were intended, but I recognize it is my responsibility to clarify my own comments."

The mea culpa comes one day after Gingrey appeared to take issue with Limbaugh's recent criticism of congressional Republicans. The conservative radio host said GOP leaders weren't adequately challenging President Obama on his proposed stimulus package.

"I mean, it’s easy if you’re Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks," Gingrey told the Politico. "You don’t have to try to do what’s best for your people and your party."

The comments, published in a Politico story Tuesday afternoon, immediately prompted a flood of calls from aggrieved conservatives to Gingrey's congressional office, prompting the Georgia Republican to issue a clarification reasserting his conservative bona fides.

"As long as I am in the Congress, I will continue to fight for and defend our sacred values. I have actively opposed every bailout, every rebate check, every so called 'stimulus,' Gingrey said in the statement. "And on so many of these things, I see eye-to-eye with Rush Limbaugh."

Gingrey represents a conservative swath of Georgia stretching northwest of Atlanta to the Alabama border, and easily won reelection last November with close to 70 percent of the vote.

Still, many rank-and-file conservatives from both inside Gingrey's district and around the country openly expressed their dismay with the remarks, sparking concern within the congressman's office that the comments were being misinterpreted and could ultimately prove damaging.

"Those guys are some our biggest supporters, and we need them," Chris Jackson, a spokesman for Gingrey, told CNN of Limbaugh and Hannity.


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soundoff (658 Responses)
  1. tom

    Is this the same guy who complained about the congressman who took his oath with his hand on the Koran? I'm not sure. If it is, then he does see eye to eye with Limbaugh. These guys need to read the constitution, and consider the clause about no religious test being required to hold office. If it's not the same guy.......nevermind.

    January 28, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. erin

    wow, so JUST BECAUSE limbaugh wants Obama's SOCIALIST POLICIES to fail means that limbaugh should be banned & outlawed??!?!?!? You people make NO SENSE AT ALL & are TOOLS. YOU DISGUST ME.

    January 28, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. Da Professor

    Now there is a group! Hannity, O'Reilly, Limbaugh, and whoever is the latest leader of the Nazi Party in America these days are so out of step with most Americans that is is pathetic! Oddly, the Fox News Channel draws huge crowds of listeners. No doubt the conservative freaks and the people wanting to hear the latest lies. SAD!

    Do you remember the early days of the Iraq war when the Fox Channel had a bold message scrolling across their screen telling us that WMD had been located in Iraq? It went on for days, until, suddenly, it stopped. That was the day when a General spoke to the press and said "there are no WMD and never were from what he could tell" The scrolling, lying message stopped as suddenly as it had begun. Imagine the tear stains on Hannity's face when they had to pull the lies from the screen. .

    They have led us into the Economic mess we are in, toss brickbats at loyal Americans, accuse anyone who does not agree with them of being Unpatriotic, accuse every one under the sun of being responsible for 9/11. Does my memory falil me or wasn't good ole Georgie and Dickie in office for 8+ months when 9/11 hit us? And had not the CIA told Georgie and Ms. Rice about the strong possibility of just such an event (the destruction by airliner of high-rise buildings in America?.

    And hasn't it been proven that there were NO WMD in Iraq and the Bush White House lied to us. Over 4,000 or our men and women have died in Iraq and over 30,000 have been wounded, maimed etc.
    Thank you war-mongering right-wing extremists. Odd isn't it that Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld and friends never served in Viet Nam and all dodged the draft.

    January 28, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  4. Owen

    Limbaugh and Hannity are completely bereft of new ideas. That is why they are 'Conservatives'. They are also the Kings of Revisionist History, who so conveniently forget that it was their White Knight Sir Ronald Wilson Reagan who so valiantly helped to create the mess that we are in right now with his incessant push to deregulate everything, and their boy King George II who started us down the road to 'Socialism' with the bailout process which he initiated and so heartily endorsed. Freddie, Fannie, Bernie, and Charlie are not the scapegoats that Limbaugh and Hannity make them out to be. How about Georgie and Dickie, and their Robber Baron friends who have profited so handsomely off of the 'War on Terror'. When will conservatives start asking tough questions about the billions that went missing in Iraq as the Prince of Darkness Perle and Wolfowitz ran the CPA into the ground?

    January 28, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  5. delighted democrat in jacksonville florida

    lol .... sometimes these politicians just give me the giggles..

    they all need to get a backbone and back up their first thoughts instead of bending to the will of the party.. what losers.. but then again, he is agreeing with they hyprocritical drug addict limbaugh.. how does the saying go, birds of a feather, flock together..

    rush limbaugh criticized drug users while he was one of them.. his validity of anything was therefore voided.. LOSER!!!

    January 28, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  6. Jon

    Craig in Hastings–"divisive vitriol" is defined by the hearers, not the speakers. It's all included in "free speech." Learn the definition, my friend (btw, you sound like one of these dirty politicians with the "my friend" crap).

    January 28, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  7. Moronic Rethugs

    And he sounded like a scared, sniveling little boy. What is with the Rethugs, is Rush their leader? What morons.

    January 28, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  8. Once you vote Black

    Somehow I think it is the GOP that is afraid of Rush, not Obama. Why would Obama name him if he was afraid of him. The GOP lawmakers are slipping and sliding trying not to offend the MaHa Rushie while Obama is laughing at them while they in fight over who is afraid of who. Obama wins when the likes of Bennet goes on Wolf's show to protect him.

    January 28, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  9. Joe

    What a wuss. I cannot believe women marry men with no spines.

    January 28, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  10. dude

    the republican party is a fish flapping out of water. They are following the same path as always but the majority of America sees through the lies and hate mongering and fascism of the hard line conservatives. Limbaugh and Hannity are absolutely delusional, the fact that a congressman is apologizing to them is pathetic. the majority of people that listen to them just want someone to tell them what to do. The republican party is a joke.

    January 28, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  11. Ro in BR

    go ahead and stay in the minority Gingrey. That is what your constituency represents. Be a robot. Be limbaugh and hannity's waterboy

    January 28, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  12. I'm A Regan Dem

    Mr Gingrey sounds like a whimp. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Mr. Gingrey you are a US Rep and I expect you to have a spine if you are representing me. I have no bones to pick with Limbaugh or Hannity, in fact I find them both entertaining but they are TV and radio personalities and they have an audience to play to. Although Hannity seems to be more genuine in his beliefs, and even though I may not always agree i respect him for standing by what he believes. Whereas Limbaugh, at times, comes off some what hypocritical and he leaves me with the feeling that if he wasn't getting paid all this money to say what he does, he wouldn't. Almost as though he'll work for either side if the money is right. Mr. Gingrey to lead you have to stand on your own feet, and by your own conviction. Right now, I don't think you are a very good leader...conservative or otherwise. Mean what you say; MAN!

    January 28, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  13. Jefferson Davis

    "I'm one of you." that says it all, but if you would have stuck to your guns you would have been better off; the world has changed, and although the Racist Right Wing Republicans will never cease, they will become null and vold. Too bad you cant see this: Ask Rush or any of the other bigots to run for office! Then you'll see what they are made of–Hot racist air!

    January 28, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  14. Jean

    Gingrey was right the first time. He compromised. Who needs Limbaugh??!!!

    January 28, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  15. once upon a horse

    WUSS!

    January 28, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  16. elizabeth

    This whole article is very sad...sadder yet, is the fact that the Repubs "need these guys"? Just for the record, Gingrey was right the first time.

    January 28, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  17. J from DAHOUSE

    He should've clarified the comments at most but don't apologize. Those comments were the finest thing of your political career.

    January 28, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  18. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    ""I mean, it’s easy if you’re Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks," Gingrey told the Politico. "You don’t have to try to do what’s best for your people and your party."

    That was the correct statement: The sad part is the the GOP, refuses to let members speak their own thoughts or even think. DeLay's nickname was "the hammer" which tells you what the GOP leadership thinks of independent thinking.

    Shame on those (expletive deleted) ditto-heads and those who feel they have to cave into the radical fringe to stay elected.

    Shame, shame, shame on the party who always puts the good of the party ahead of the good of the country:

    and Rush? He doesn't have to solve anything – just sits there laughing, mocking and throwing stones at those trying to accomplish anything.

    January 28, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  19. Ken in Gainesville

    This Congressman's shameful kowtow to the extremists Limbaugh and Hannity is another example of how far removed are Republicans from the 21st Century. He should be ashamed. Limbaugh and Hannity are NUTS,

    January 28, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  20. delighted democrat in jacksonville florida

    gingrey sees eye to eye with limbaugh.. then he must be a oxycotin junky too... good to know

    rush limbaugh is a drug addict.. once an addict, always an addict, and he would know that if he got the appropriate treatment for addiction.

    January 28, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  21. Desmond Sequeira

    As I said before, Recipe for Republican meltdown: ADD A RUSH OF LIMBAUGH!

    January 28, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  22. Brett - Milwaukee

    You Republicans need to enter the real world.

    Your diplomacy is horrible, if not criminal.

    Your financial grasp is atrocious, thanks for the recession.

    Oh yeah, great job with your latest attempt to relive WWII, bang-up job.

    January 28, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  23. JB

    It is a sad day when people actually have to apologize for disagreeing with hateful people like Rush and Sean. Those two men better be praying for grace and mercy everyday. And for Gingrey to have to tell people "I am one of you" just to make them feel better is really sad and very cowardly. You would rather hold a position than speak the truth.
    It is sad that "Conservatives" still don't understand what made them lose the election and what will continue to make them lose if they don't change their divisive ways.

    January 28, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  24. mb

    Georgia residents pay attention and remember this the next time gingrey is up for re-election. 'A mind is a terrible thing to waste'.

    January 28, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  25. Jake

    Bessie

    Congratulations on voting for the first time

    January 28, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
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