(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.
Rush is irrelevant, so he has to say controversial things like this to keep people listening to his drivel. It's pathetic, actually.... and people who actively listen and form their opinions based on Rush or any of the other talking heads (conservative or liberal) should be pitied. This senator is spineless, pathetic, and a puppet for cowarding to these people.
When I first heard of the congressman's remarks, I thought, "Good for him." It was refreshing to hear someone stand up to these talking thugs on radio. Now it seems that this gentleman is just another sheep.
For God's sake, grow a pair.
But it IS easy to stand back and throw bricks.
That's all the conservative hate-radio jocks ever do.
the FCC explore at shutting Rush down, at a time like this, America can rebound, not with irrational, hate filled ideologies
"You don’t have to try to do what’s best for your people and your party."
What world is this guy living in? "your people" "your party"
If it wasn't for Rush, Limbaugh and hannity...the Republins would be getting crushed beneath the steamrollers of the crooked Democratic party. I'm a "former" dem who resents the behavior and tactics that my former party has resorted to and all I see is the republicans bowing down to political "correctness". We need some balance in this country and I wish more viable leaders would step forward as an independent so that the rest of us former democrats and republicans can find some "real" direction to follow.
Gingrey had it right the first time. Then he backtracked like a girly-man. The biggest problem with America today is politicians, both Republican and Democrat, who will appease their party at the expense of the American people. On the bright side, as a Democrat, I am glad that Hannity and Limbaugh are the face of the Republican party. As long as they continue in this roll, the Republican party is in deep trouble.
Will someone please point out the negative in the following statement. I've read it 3 times, and I keep seeing the same thing. It's easy to criticize when it isn't your responsibility to take care of the people from your district.
Are we all that sensitive? Everyone, democrat or republican, like to twist words around, cry wolf, and run home to mommy for hugs. The most powerful country in the nation and we act like children. No wonder it's all falling apart.
Sacred Values? Here we go again.
In America, we are ALL American.
Limbaugh is ignorant why is he in the headline
And make sure to lace up those Jack Boots really tight; you got to make that goose-step PINCH!
What a groveling coward.
It's truly amazing that one of the leader's of our country speaks the truth. Then has to redact it and apologize.
Limbaugh needs some criticism! He's one of the countries biggest dividers of people, he's not a uniter.
Let's see, Rush Limbaugh....Reveren Wright......who's worse.
For "one word"....ditto
Spineless, gutless, carbon based unit. You made the statement now live by your words. I certainly see nothing to apologize about.
Limbaugh recently said that Obama is afraid of him. Sounds to me like Republicans are far more afraid of Limbaugh than anyone else.
Loser. He should have stuck to his guns.
Rush Limbaugh, in my opinion, is the rudest, richest, meanist and most spiteful political radio host this country has ever known. He alone has caused more hurt and political division that any other of his ilk, with the exception of Hannity, Savage, etc. I know we don't have to listen to Rush but those that do have been poisoned by his biased savagery. He calls himself a Christian but I'll be darned if I can see anything Christian about him at all. He's pushed his mouth too far many times and I believe that if there is anything we can legally do to get him removed forever from the airwaves this nation will be much better without him and his sort.
How can you be a US congressman and have to apologize to radio talk host. You just minimized the office that you've been elected to and the people that you represent. You are a DISGACE
So, the Republicans are afraid of a LOSER HATE-RADIO HOST.
GOP = Goofs on Parade