January 29th, 2009
09:17 AM ET
8 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. Steve

    What a wimp. Far be it to show any diversity of views in the GOP. Must stay in lock-step with extremists like Hannity and Limbaugh, whose message is, without change, "We good, others bad."

    January 28, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  2. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I'm not sure that I would really want to cozy up to these guys since they can be derisive and derogatory towards many people. I would have said something along the lines that "I am a Republican and I have certain values that Hanity and Limbaugh also have." He should have a loyalty to this country and make sure that he represents all his constituents well in the House. I wonder if he could really do that being nice to talking heads that rarely have to stick their neck out on the line and do something.

    January 28, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. mark richard

    Reminds me of the "confessions" extracted during the great show trials in the Mao and Stalin eras of China and Russia. "Forgive me. I have been duped. I have been an agent of the West and worked against The People." That, sadly, is what American conservatism has become: a sclerotic, tyrannical, ideology demanding utter and unflinching adherence to its Great Leaders, rather than a living, creative, flexible, principle from which its followers can proceed with real strength.

    January 28, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  4. Carson New York

    Seriously. Yes, Georgia! Re-elect this man! He is not afraid to tell people the truth and stand up to idealogues like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh. He must a terrible disgrace to the Republican party! By the way, what EXACTLY does qualify those two idiots to spout off about politics and policy? Have they ever been elected to any office? Have they ever worked in anything other than the entertainment industry? I'm an actor in New York: does this mean I get my own TV and radio show so I can tell people what to think? Any Republican with any integrity has started to, or will start soon, to step away from the conservative movement because it's wells have been poisoned with the likes of Hannity & Limbaugh as well as the rest of the religious right. In these times, moderate thinking, unity and RESPECT is what we need!

    January 28, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  5. Idealist

    Maybe Rep. Gingrey needs to 'grow a set' and stand by his original criticism....

    I, personally, cannot imagine allowing the likes of Limbaugh & Hannity to effectively emasculate me!!!

    January 28, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. Paul in Rio Rancho NM

    Anyone who would see "eye-to-eye" with Rush is dumber than dishwater. Rush spent a grand total of 2 semesters and one summer in college and flunked every course he took, including "Ballroom Dancing" (You have to be pretty dumb to flunk Ballroom Dancing"

    January 28, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  7. rhoward

    This guy is just like almost everyone else in politics. Elect them to an office and they promptly lose their backbones. No wonder this country is in so much trouble.

    January 28, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  8. Independent Voter

    Q: who is this punk idiot
    A: nobody, just like limbaugh and hannity

    God Bless President Obama, VP Biden and the First Families

    January 28, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  9. Rosa Birmingham, AL

    What a wuss, his first statement was correct, he shoudl do what is best for his people. He then comes back with I see eye to eye with Rush. How pathetic. I guess it is more important to do what Rush says than what is right for the people.

    January 28, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  10. Don in MN

    Republicans first... American second.

    January 28, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  11. George

    Rush Limbaugh and Hannity are nothing more than entertainers, which makes this all the more disturbing.

    January 28, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  12. Brook Mantia

    STOP FEEDING THE TROLLS!

    January 28, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. indevotepa

    Good Grief what an identity crisis...These republicans sound like schizophrenics. go see a doctor and get started on a Bailout for taxpayers. Just cut off the banks expense account. That's all you people need to do in Congress. PERIOD.

    January 28, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  14. Hussein in the Membrane

    Wow, way to be a wimp, Gingrey! Maybe the nuanced, give-and-take nature of politics and actual leadership are too complicated for you- Have you ever considered the Marines? You'd make an excellent follower.

    January 28, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  15. Bob in VA

    Gingrey AKA Chip Diller: Thank you sir, may I have another?

    WHAP!

    Thank you sir, may I have another?

    WHAP!

    Thank you sir, may I have another?

    WHAP

    January 28, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  16. Gail

    Gingrey is speaking loud and clear. HE HOPES AMERICA FAILS.

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

    Sounds like someone got a threat to lose his funding the next time he runs for office.

    January 28, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  18. CK

    This just shows how spineless the Republicans have become. Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and others like them are the reason that Republicans lost. They refused to admit that the party was heading in the wrong direction with Bush. Americans were wise enough to see the damage the division was causing the country. Too bad the majority of conservatives are to afraid of Limbaugh and his looney followers to change the course. They are making it easy for the Democrats to win again in 2010 and 2012.

    January 28, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  19. Doug

    What does it say about a person who shows so much hatrid towards a man who simply tells the truth?

    Why do you libs hate the truth so much? If your beliefs are right then why would you even need to censor Limabugh as you are trying to do right now?

    Those in Germany during the late 1920's and early 1930's sure wish they had a Limbaugh to call out their national Socialist nightmare. Those of us who know our history see what Obama is doing and thank patriots like Limabugh who are putting thier lives on the line to speak out against an administrtion that want to destroy our nation and our way of life. I think that you libs don't understand socialism since CNN and MSDNC haven't trained you to think it is evil. Read about socialism and what it has done to people, wake up libs!!!

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

    These Republicans are a joke. This guy is actually apologizing to Rush Limbaugh. This is why these morons are a minority party. If this guy had a pair he would have stuck to his guns while stating his record. Having to kneel down to Limbaugh vividly illustrates who and what the Republican party is.

    January 28, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  21. M.R.

    There is something wrong when an elected official cares more about what Rush and Sean Hannity thinks then he does speaking his mind. There in lies the problem in the Republican party... maybe Rush should run for chairman of the GOP!!

    January 28, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  22. Barton Brown

    If anybody on the planet thinks they have to apologize to Rush Limbaugh (or Hannity, Coulter, ad nauseam) they should start looking for a new life, and they certainly SHOULDN'T be in politics.

    January 28, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  23. eddieblue

    this is about the future destruction of our freedom of speech.

    they are calling it the "fairness doctrine" –
    fairness has nothing to do with this – --

    pathetic that the dems can't allow two independent voices have their say without bringing out the big guns.

    did I say guns?
    well, they will be taken from us next.

    and then Obama will bring out his army of citizens – he has said during his campaign that this what he wants to do.
    why?
    so they can spy on those of us who don't agree with him.

    I lived in a country once where children were encouraged to turn in their parents if they said something against the dictator.

    watch out – this guy is heading that way.
    he is adored and annoited by the media.

    no checks and balances left.
    except for Rush and Hannity.

    .
    .

    January 28, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  24. KJ

    What a coward.... It just shows what the Right wing radio bullies can do to members of Congress. Boehner and the others are knee jerk obstructionists who would oppose any view other than their own without any listening, reasoning or research....Guess what? The American people want something different. So either lead, follow or get out of the way.

    January 28, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  25. Anil Sharma

    Next world is going to say sorry to Bush for the mess he created in 8 years. Rush, Sean ... are proud of last years.

    January 28, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
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