January 29th, 2009
09:17 AM ET
7 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. kshaw

    So I guess this guy is hoping our POTUS Obama fails too. Meaning he also wants America to fail. *notes his name for future reference*

    January 28, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. Changing Times

    OMG!!!! Can we all just GROW UP! Since when can't we express what is on our minds. I think Rush is an Idiot but he still has the right to voice his opinion as does Gingrey. Did we all forget that is what is America is all about. If we were all believed in the same exact things and thought alike there wouldn't be too many new ideas or ways of doing things! Let's all just grow up. Because someone talks doesn't mean we have to like it or agree with it ... just don't listen to it. In my opinion, and yeah, everyone gets one ... not just the republicans or the dems! What happen to People 1st, party 2nd. In my opinion, it was a very unpatriotic thing for Rush to say... that he wanted President Obama to fail. If he fails where will that leave the American people? We should be working together.... but again, that's just my opinion. I'm so tired of hearing in the news that someone made a statement and then retracted it because someone got offended. Too Bad.. your offended... deal with it!

    January 28, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. Chris from NY

    God forgive them for they know not what they do. They will all eat their words one day : the Republicans A renoun politician once said: "first fool no be fool, na second one na proper foolish". The Republicans will never learn until they have no representation left in the house and senate. If they keep going the way they are, they are bound to end up on that road.

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

    "I am one of you" – Does he mean a grossly overweight blowhard with a drug problem and a racist streak?

    January 28, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. Kiersnowski

    I believe that every time congress and senate lowers taxes for high income individuals their salaries should be lowered by corresponding amount to insure they don't increase their pay, which is easiest by lowering texes for themselves and driving the deficits higher.

    January 28, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. Steel Curtain

    Rob:

    You wrote: "How can any human being get in trouble for critizing Limbaugh who is without a doubt the biggest IDIOT currently talking about anything."

    The article is about Gingrey, NOT Obama or Pelosi.

    January 28, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. Kent

    Let's grab onto a brief reality check; while the crowd that hangs on every word from the likes of Limbaugh may be a very real body of constituents, I'm not sure I'd really try to throw myself over coals to pander to them. Drug addicts are a real demographic too, thankfully there aren't too many politicians who try to cater to whatever they want to hear. I really hope the evangelical zealots that complacently nod in somnambulant agreement to Limbaugh's diatribes aren't what the majority of GOP legislators are being influenced by, although looking from how quickly Gingrey begged for penance from Limbaugh, I'm quite concerned. Oh, and before anyone keeps jumping on the "protect freedom of speech" bandwagon, bear in mind that Gingrey's rebuttal to Limbaugh's comments is also protected speech, denouncing him to "protect freedom" is hypocrisy at its very definition.

    January 28, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. Diana Ewing NJ

    I am truely sorry you have decided to take back what you said.... Linbaugh and Hannity are hate mongers.. they brought down your party.

    January 28, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. mytabloids

    What has this country come to?

    To a time when an elected Representative of the people doesn't have the stones to stand up to a self-medicating, pompous DJ-cum-talk show host. I have puke in my mouth....

    January 28, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. Cathy Brandes

    That's why the GOP continues to have issues – why in the world would you care about what Limbaugh and or Hannity say.
    I had more respect for Gingrey BEFORE the cave-in!
    Again, the GOP should be following the approach of the Bobby Jindahl's and Tim Pawlenty's of their party.

    January 28, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. Dave

    Conservative GOP:
    Hurt our People.
    Hurt our Families.
    Hurt our Country.
    Now they want to hurt our country further by simply dismissing Obama
    They WANT our country to fail.
    Sounds pretty UN American 2 me, maybe even treasonous.

    January 28, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  12. M. Levy

    Let these religious right wing nuts keep on talking and acting like idiots. It will help to keep our great party (The Democrats) in power. Go Obama!!!

    January 28, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  13. umu ule

    Does this guy take speed too? Cos I wondering why he wants to keep maginalizing his base instead of expanding it. The world has completely changed and people like rush are in the minority and they will never smell their type of power again.

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

    This is the most rediculous thing I have ever heard. Giving these two morons the attention and clout that the reps and conservs are giving them.

    January 28, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. ULTRA CONSERVATIVE

    Oh so now my party can be accused of flip-flopping. Great. My party cannot take a stand and put an end to the divisiveness. I stopped listening to Rush Limbaugh years ago, there are more conservative talk show hosts on the radio who make a point without the slobbering bluster every day.

    January 28, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  16. Rick in WA

    Idealist, if you are a liberal, you don't need help from anybody to become emasculated.

    January 28, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  17. Tony DeBottis

    Anyone that agrees with Rusm Limbaugh should not be in Congress.

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

    I think it's sad that an ELECTED OFFICIAL has to apologize for saying something completely harmless to a pundit in defense of himself. He didn't even say something mean towards Limbaugh. All he said is that people who aren't in government don't know what he's doing or what he's up against. Which is completely true. That he should have to apologize for something so completely inocuous is just sad. The power of the punditry exceeds that of the people who actually do the job, and I find that troubling.

    January 28, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  19. DaFrog

    Limbaugh and Hannity are entertainers. Everything they say is focused on advertiser dollars. Gingrey should not have apologized to them, he had it right the first time. As long as the Republican brand is tarnished by the likes of Limbaugh they will become nothing more than the lunatic fringe.

    January 28, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  20. Dont blame me

    Too many Republicans have started to ACT like Democrats, and that is why they are in trouble today, they strayed from their roots and their base and fell in line with democrats and their big spending, big government ways. It is time to get the RINO's like McCain out of the party.

    January 28, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  21. JB

    Man come on!!!! Man-up and don't be afraid to take a position!!!! Rush is an idiot, over rated drug addict who is strictly about divisiveness and bigotry. It is amazing that someone(s) with these types of views calls themselves a conservative. I truly think that a so called conservative would be more tolerant and open to diversity, inclusiveness, etc. Now Gingrey states that he has actively opposed every rebate, every stimulus, etc. WOW and you so called conservatives wonder why you are an endangered species!!!!!

    January 28, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. R.M.

    I thought Senators and Representatives serve their constituents. Not their party. No matter Democrat, Republican or Independent. Once elected you serve the people not your party. You may get your values from the party but yo do not serve it.

    January 28, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. Amber

    So the Republicans are spineless little chickens who will bow down and kiss the feet of demagogues with a phone campaign but will ignore the will of the American people?

    Good thing he called his doctor and scheduled a spinal transplant for next Wednesday...

    January 28, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  24. Bill

    Why bother? The dems are giving him a whole lot of press.

    January 28, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  25. Sher

    Who's grabbing who's ankles now?! LOL When we have a Rep apologizing to Rush & Sean... it is OBVIOUS he is struggling for one last air bubble! So hillarious and pathetic at the same time!

    Good job America but WE MUST STAY AWAKE THIS TIME!

    January 28, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
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