January 29th, 2009
09:17 AM ET
10 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. Robert

    Gingrey and his ilk seem determined to follow Limbaugh, Hannity and other buffoons as they lead the GOP.... right off a cliff, blindfolds firmly in place. Apparently they learned absolutely nothing from the November election results = America wants CHANGE.

    January 28, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. SAGG

    Wow. Drop an eyebrow in the GOP, and you're in BIG trouble. Just what I'd love to see in a party I belong to. (Rolls eyes)

    January 28, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  3. Beth

    Typical Republican back peddling. I almost feel sorry for Gingrey. He said what he thought, got slapped on the wrist by his party, and now has to put his tail between his legs.

    Thank GOD I'm not a Republican!!

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

    these are the same people who thought the pitfull with lipstick was so rightous.

    The Republican party is going to be as relevant as the KKK in a couple years.

    January 28, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. Ken in Dallas

    Well, I guess we know who the Republican Congressman's afraid of, don't we?

    Gingrey told the truth about seeing eye-to-eye with Limbogue, but only under a looser definition of "eye" than is common in polite conversation. I would find it more dignified to be on my knees in front of a toilet than in front of Rush, though.

    January 28, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  6. TexAnnie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    That disappoints me in Gingrey. He should have stuck to his guns.

    Hannity & Limbaugh (and others like Ann Coulter) are bigoted racist idiots. I can't believe anybody follows them. They should be ashamed of the hatred they spew.

    It has always confounded me that Fox News holds themselves up to be the keeper of conservative family values.... then the Fox Network turns around and runs some of the most trashy disgusting shows on all of TV.

    January 28, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  7. Annie in Georgia

    This is sad. Finally a conservative politician who steps up and is honest about the Spewer of Hate windbag only to have his spine (and reelection chances) disappear within hours. Beg Limbaugh for forgiveness and perhaps all will be well. When will this all end? We finally have a leader who is intelligent, honest and actually gives a hoot about someone other than himself. Why in the name of common sense would you wish for the failure of the President and ultimately that of this country. It's the only country we have folks, we'd better learn to treat it a lot better.

    January 28, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  8. Tomo

    I'll be waiting to hear Limbaugh and Hanititty come out and say that Gingrey is afraid of them.

    It just goes to prove the Rule of the Jungle when things get bad.... They eat their own young!

    January 28, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  9. Richard Moore

    Now we know who the leader of the GOP is after Bush has left. It's Rush. I could not be happier.

    January 28, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  10. Nothing to fear?

    Grow the spine to speak your mind – or – get out of the game.

    January 28, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  11. nerakami

    What a wimp....

    You sound like one of those parents who sticks up for his kid who thoroughly misbehaved. It's wrong for Rush to wish worse turmoil on the American people, no matter who is President. These sentiments show that you are all selfish with only your personal gains in mind. You all don't give one hoot about the thousands of Americans losing their homes and jobs.

    It is absolutely disgraceful.

    January 28, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  12. chute53

    The conservatives Limbaugh and Hannity are entitled, in this country, to "free speech". That said, I don't think they're gaining any support for the Republican Party, but indeed alienating many Americans who have, finally, a little hope for the future. The would be better off to defer to the thoughts of General Powell right now.

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

    Gingrey, you scare me!!!!

    January 28, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  14. Republicans - another failed attempt

    Notice how the right wing shills lash out. They feel the ship turning in the right direction and are flailing in their despiration.

    You failed. Live with the consequences of your failure.

    January 28, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  15. pdx mcgee

    what a wimp! the gop is disinegrating day by day – and they are STILL holding up Hannity and Limbaugh as the gop gurus? they seem confused and directionless. and if you listen to their complaints about the stimulus package, have you noticed it is NOTHING BUT COMPLAINTS with no alternative ideas attached? they are so afraid to go out on a limb that they are completely inneffective at this point.

    January 28, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  16. jo

    How dare he talk about Rush that way! He should drop down on his hands and knees and kiss Rush's feet! Rush is the embodiment of everything that is good in America!..everything we stand for! I just hope I have the honor one day of voting for Rush for president, he'd really straighten things out!

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

    I'm sorry, let me apologize. By all means, make Rush Limbaugh the official standard-bearer for the Republican Party. Please.

    January 28, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  18. jalehnouhi@yahoo.com

    This is what Rush wants he is just out of touch with american people
    see what happen if Obama go down all of us go down

    It was described as one of the most grisly scenes Los Angeles police had ever encountered: the bodies of five small children and their parents, all shot to death, in two upstairs rooms of the family's home.

    January 28, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  19. Steph I.

    LOL this is too funny
    It sounds like a hillbilly shotgun wedding but instead of a shot gun a watergun full of hot p! z z is used instead.
    It is funny how a far right winger bows down to a fat incompetent arrogant, racist that still thinks george wallace should be president .
    But then again limbarf is living the dream he gets paid at radio because he cannot do anything else on the other hand you have a guy getting paid with TAX dollars no less to like kiss this fat guys arse?
    okay somewhere this side of the rainbow the RNC needs new slippers

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

    Too bad the man didn't have the courage to back up his apparent initial convictions. This country needs many more Republicans who do have the courage to demand that their party contribute to the governance of this nation with well thought alternatives to Democratic plans , contributions that are presented in a spirit of a "loyal Opposition" rather than a mindless, disruptive, idiological pandering to the basest elements in their party.

    The future of the Republican party may very well depend upon the leadership of an honest, centrist-conservative movement in the party to insure that the party can be attractive to independants and grow rather than being beaten back into a minor party that represents the latent neo-fascism that runs rampant in the extreme neo-conservative movement.

    January 28, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  21. Deb

    It is impossible to listen to Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh with any merit. Their views are so narrow. It is as if they see the world with blinders and very few guests. Another irritant is Dick Morris. With his half crooked mouth, all he can do is to continue to promote his book "Fleeced" and bad mouth our President. Well guys he is and will continue to be our president for the next four years so get used to calling him President Obama not Barack Obama. Show him the respect he deserves as leader of our free nation.

    January 28, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  22. Will

    As usual, the Republicans have a constituency of five: Limbaugh, Drudge, Hannity, Kristol, and Norqvist. Everybody else is irrelevant.

    January 28, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  23. BKrause

    Who's afraid of whom?

    January 28, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  24. Larry C Wilson

    Just another wimp politician.

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

    ""Gingrey said in the statement. "And on so many of these things, I see eye-to-eye with Rush Limbaugh.""

    How sad, a blow hard running one of our political parties. Calling followers of Rush and Hannity "ditto heads" is giving them way too much credit to think in any human form.

    January 28, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
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