January 29th, 2009
09:17 AM ET
11 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. Jim J

    Uh-oh! A Republican politician almost had a momentary lapse of decency and found his testicles, before coming to his senses and realizing he has to bow and shuffle before Rush and the rest of the toothless, uneducated bigots who seem to own the party. What a relief that the lowest common denominator still rules the GOP!

    January 28, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  2. Matt

    Eunuch.

    January 28, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  3. Jim, Burlington NC

    Limbugh and Hannity have been marginalized and know it.

    Their brand of conservatism is all about their bankroll.

    If they ever had half the backbone or patriotism the brag about they would be in Congress or some other National office trying to change things, but no, they badmouth from the sidelines like allways, raking in money from the weakminded that think they are mental giants.

    Souless money grubbers, that's all they are and all they ever will be...

    January 28, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  4. Obama Victim

    anyone who trashes a demorat has my support....................Rock on Rush

    January 28, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  5. Brina

    I'm speechless.....he's weak as he##

    January 28, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. D.A. BARRETT

    FOR GODS SAKE GROW UP. YOU WERE OUT VOTED AND NOT LIKE GORE OR KERRY. CRY BABY CRY ,YOUR OLD ENOUGHT TO KNOW BETTER ....SO CRT BABY CRY....WHINNERS

    January 28, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. Harry in LA

    It's good to see Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia finally growing a backbone.

    January 28, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. Jessie S.C.

    I currently live in the state of Georgia and I'm not appall by those comments. No man or I should say Republican should bow down to Lame brick and Hunnity like this idiot. Good he's not in my district so now I see where not to move.

    January 28, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. S Perales

    Limbaugh, Hannity or whoever. Everyone has an opinion, ready to criticize. Real solutions are what's needed. With all these lawmakers in office you'd think they could come up with a real solution. Seniority really makes no difference if the jobs not getting done. How effective are these people anyway. The President"s been in office barely a week. Give the man a chance. We"ve waited this long. As for the talking heads, give it a rest. Instead of being on the sidelines you should get in the game. Anyone can throw stones.

    January 28, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. Jim in Savannah

    Sounds like the "Good Ol' Boy" network got to you, Mr. Gingrey. Poor guy...you actually sounded a little scared in your retraction. It sounded like at one point you were going to swear an oath of allegiance to Rush Limbaugh.
    "I am one of you!" You're a Georgian, Mr. Gingrey!

    Maybe it would help if I reminded you of your oath of office:

    "I, (name of Member), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."

    Nowhere in this oath is the name "Rush Limbaugh" mentioned.

    January 28, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. John

    pathetic.

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

    CNN Stick a fork in them the GOP's are done

    Yes we have free speech in American – even if you want to disparage your country and hope for it's failure. Albeit that is absolutely unAmerican.

    ... "You don’t have to try to do what’s best for your people and your party." ....... but of course not what's best for your COUNTRY. These people are UnAmerican. Do we need more examples until we're done with the GOP?

    January 28, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. John

    It's too bad Phil thinks he can't have an original thought or disagree with Rush Limbaugh and we wonder why we're in such deep trouble. John R.

    January 28, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  14. Larry Houston TX

    @ Aaron in Charlottesville & J.L. AND "JULIA" you said the TRUTH !!

    January 28, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. Akinola - Houston

    The chicken caves to the pig!

    January 28, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  16. just sad

    that this congressman is bowing to these hate mongers Hannity and Rush

    These two are very responsible for the political climate we have found ourselves in the last 10 years and we would be a healthier country if they would stop

    January 28, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  17. WhoCares?

    Wow...What a sad state the Republican party is when the person that holds the most power is a radio talk show host.

    Lets see :

    Democrats Leader : President Obama

    Republican Leader : Rush Limbaugh

    I think that says all there is to say about the respective parties.

    January 28, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  18. Sarah

    A tower of jello!

    January 28, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. Mark Nelson

    umm...and why are we apologizing to talk radio hosts? Why do we care what a bunch of blowhards think? Seriously. I also love how Hannity and Limbaugh always talk about "ideologues," when in fact they are the bleeping ideologues who do not understand the meaning of the term "compromise."

    January 28, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. Cat

    Funny he didn't follow those values during Bush's terms.

    January 28, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  21. Jake

    Jefferson- Keep whining, thats the liberal way

    January 28, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  22. JJ in NY

    Guess it depends on what the meaning of "is" is...............

    January 28, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  23. Jon

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

    If anyone was looking for one reason why the Republican party is out of touch and in the wilderness, this is a perfect example. These guys don't care about policies and principles, they care about ratings and sound bites.

    January 28, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  24. dem

    what a bunch of self serving hypocrites! I wonder how many of these wonderful Georgia conservatives mailed back their stimulus rebate checks last year?

    January 28, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  25. Gil

    Limbaugh, is such a worthless person with out dated values and confused republican mind set.

    January 28, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
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