January 29th, 2009
09:17 AM ET
9 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.


Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (658 Responses)
  1. Bev

    How can anyone back down from criticizing anyone who hopes that our President and, therefore, our country and it's people fail?!!

    Shame on Limbaugh and his warped right wing thinking.

    His ego is actually bigger than his waistline!

    January 28, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  2. Brad

    Hey Gingrey, about your spine...............GROW ONE!!!!!

    January 28, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. Kevin Denver Colorado

    Limpbaugh is a useless dropout from a crappy college. I wouldn't let him mow my lawn. THIS IS THE ERA OF INTELLECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Idiots will be relegated to the service industry positions the are qualified for.

    January 28, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. nick

    Wimp

    January 28, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  5. Wake Up Please

    "Spineless" said a previous poster. That's true. But it's made worse by the fact that he knows he is right, speaks up about it, and the backs off so quickly. when pushed.

    Ultra Right Wing/ Talk Show America has been wrong for years, and has been proven to be completely wrong about just about everything now. They need to lower their voices just enough so they can hear (and see) the truths of the world around them. The Republican listeners need to demand new and better representation, not only in government, but on America's airwaves.

    January 28, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  6. Charles

    Absolutely pathetic for an elected official to cow-tow to a non-elected putz.

    January 28, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  7. Jeff

    Way to wimp out Sally.

    January 28, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  8. Dan from Philly

    Nobody's willing to stand behind anything they say. "It read harsher than it was intended..." Sure.

    Actually, what he said is a stone-cold fact, so why is he apologizing?

    And he's calling conservative values 'sacred' now? Geez these people are so holier than thou it's sickening.

    January 28, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  9. CAMEROON/WEST AFRICA

    RUSH SAYS " HE WISHES PRES.OBAMA FAILS"
    LET ME TELL YOU CONGRESSMAN THIS WHOLE THING IS NOT ABOUT THE PRESIDENT.IT IS ABOUT THE COUNTRY OK.
    I THOUGHT YOU CONSERVATIVES PUT THE COUNTRY FIRST.

    January 28, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  10. Liberal in Los Angeles, CA

    The new leaders of the GOP is in fact Limbaugh & Hannity.

    January 28, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  11. I Support Our President

    Looks like the Rushpublican party is in full whining mode.

    Please don't beat me Rush, please, I'll be a good rush-bot, but please don't hurt me.

    Bunch of sissies, those rushpublicans

    January 28, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  12. Paul Wolber

    Isn't a gaffe defined as when a politician accidently tells the truth?

    Truth is: Rush Limbaugh is a mean-spirited, drug-abusing idiot.

    January 28, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  13. Rev. George MacInnis

    I am a Roman Catholic Priest from Nova Scotia, Canada. If I had the ear of The 77 million ( or so ), American Roman Catholics, I would say to them that I strongly believe that all who listen, to talk -show host Rush Limbaugh, are in deep moral danger. He is filled with anger, biblically uneducated, and he fosters hatread and anti christian teachings. It is not prayers the Man needs, rather professional help. America, you can have him. Best of Luck Mr. President Obama, Canada loves you!!!!! A Men.

    Fr. George

    January 28, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  14. Thomas

    Look up gutless in the dictionary and you'll see a picture of Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia.

    January 28, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  15. Mike Grier

    Gingrey had it right the first time and owes nobody an apology. Period.

    Limbaugh and Hanity are free to speak their mind, but I'm intelligent enough to ignore their one-sided comments.

    January 28, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  16. FoCo

    The Republican party is being run by Radio Talk host and Co-hosts on TV shows, no wonder its in such shambles.

    January 28, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  17. Alan D.

    Mr. Limbaugh is a capable entertainer with a for-profit talk radio show. Why would Republican elected officials today allow entertainers to be self appointed spokespersons instead of responsible Republican leadership? Will Republican elected officials not stand up against Limbaugh's recent comment that a popular, duly elected US President fail – rather than apologize for critizing such a statement?

    January 28, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  18. Once you vote Black

    Jon hit the nail on the head. Rush and the Congressman have ddifferent roles. One needs laughs and the other needs do do something.

    January 28, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  19. Houa

    Let me as, how many of you Republicans who appose bailouts and rebate checks cashed your own rebate checks when it came in the mail?

    January 28, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  20. Angela TX

    Idiot!! No scrupples to stand up to Limbaugh

    January 28, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. Mac

    Who care's if ignorant "Dittoheads" won't vote for you? I've debated a few of them before and they have no original comebacks or facts to substantiate their claims, they only have Rush's soundbites to regurgitate. It's like shooting fish in a barrel.
    This story is another example of how 21st century America can't solve it's problems. Popularity will always trump principle in politics. Everyone always backpedals if they offend some fringe of their party. Dittoheads are sophomoric, simple minded, thin-skinned yokels. Why is this politician appeasing them?

    January 28, 2009 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  22. C. MacLean, Raleigh, NC

    Hannity and Limbaugh, et al, have no accountability and can say anything they want, and usually do.

    All the congressman said was – it's easy for them to criticize but they don't have to make the hard decisions.

    Why should he have to apologize for that? He wasn't making a comment about the content of their remarks, just that it's easy to make remarks.

    How did his constituents get that wrong?

    January 28, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  23. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia

    Spineless. Not surprised.

    January 28, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  24. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Nice Backbone, Phil. The first Republican who actually comes up with some solutions to our current problems and stands up forcefully to the Limbaugh/Hannity knuckledraggers will be a force to contend with in 2012. So far, just crickets chirping.

    January 28, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  25. Web Thomas

    C'mon Gingrey-stand your ground. This is pathetic.

    January 28, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
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