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. Tino

    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.

    January 28, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  2. Michael

    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.

    January 28, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  3. Not4MoreYears

    For God's sake, grow a pair.

    Weasel.

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

    But it IS easy to stand back and throw bricks.

    That's all the conservative hate-radio jocks ever do.

    January 28, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  5. JA/TN

    the FCC explore at shutting Rush down, at a time like this, America can rebound, not with irrational, hate filled ideologies

    January 28, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. Peace.....

    "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"

    January 28, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. fearful for my country

    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.

    January 28, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  8. pjartco

    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.

    January 28, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. Jason

    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.

    "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."

    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.

    January 28, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  10. Joe

    Sacred Values? Here we go again.

    In America, we are ALL American.

    January 28, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  11. Sollberger for obama

    Limbaugh is ignorant why is he in the headline

    January 28, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. Joanna

    And make sure to lace up those Jack Boots really tight; you got to make that goose-step PINCH!

    January 28, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  13. Merman Hunster

    What a groveling coward.

    January 28, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. Frank Shirley

    It's truly amazing that one of the leader's of our country speaks the truth. Then has to redact it and apologize.

    January 28, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  15. One word

    Coward

    January 28, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. Tom

    Limbaugh needs some criticism! He's one of the countries biggest dividers of people, he's not a uniter.

    January 28, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  17. Dawn

    Let's see, Rush Limbaugh....Reveren Wright......who's worse.

    January 28, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  18. Marv...

    Punk!!!!!!

    January 28, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  19. flush rush

    For "one word"....ditto

    January 28, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  20. Rache from Bowie

    Spineless, gutless, carbon based unit. You made the statement now live by your words. I certainly see nothing to apologize about.

    January 28, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  21. Dave

    Limbaugh recently said that Obama is afraid of him. Sounds to me like Republicans are far more afraid of Limbaugh than anyone else.

    -Dave
    Madison, WI

    January 28, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  22. Aaron

    Loser. He should have stuck to his guns.

    January 28, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  23. Nate

    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.

    Thank you.

    January 28, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  24. dn

    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

    January 28, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  25. Change

    So, the Republicans are afraid of a LOSER HATE-RADIO HOST.

    GOP = Goofs on Parade

    January 28, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
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