(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.
To all those people who are disappointed should know that conservative movement is Rush Limbaugh and without him, there would not have been a republican victory in 1994, 2000, 2002, and 2004. No one is stopping radio talk show hosts in the democratic party to go on air and talk about their principles. Sorry, I forgot that, they ran bankrupt(remember Air America).
(GASP!) How dare anyone attempt to form their own opinions and disagree with the highly exalted, omnipotent, and most honourable Limbaugh and his only begotten son, Sean Hannity, for they shall be brought before the court and brutally executed, just as Sadaam Hussein would've done!
The power that Rush Limbaugh exerts over Republicans is astounding, and frightening. Even Senators apparently dance to his tune.
Limbaugh and his ilk are not conservatives. Conservatives value prudence, small but effective government, and both fiscal and political responsibility. Ronald Reagan must be spinning in his grave.
This only proves that Gingrey is a turd of smaller stature than Limbaugh. That's right, because Rush is the most racist, slimey, hate-filled piece of crap to walk this Earth. Next time, Rush, do us all a favor and take enough of those lovely pills that they can't bring you back.
Why on earth would anyone apologize to Limbaugh and/or Hannity? They'd never apologize to anyone about anything.
Give your seat to Hannity and Limbaugh since they have more effectiveness than you.
Limbaugh is speaking the truth America.
Too bad about 60% of you are so stupid you won't listen.
This guy is in dire need of a spine donor..!!
Plenty of call for Rush and Sean to run for office. There's only one problem – you can shovel lies and garbage on the air, but when you actually have to provide undeniable proof of what you're talking about, it's hard to pull that from you-know-where!!!
One more coward in Congress - afraid to speak his mind and say what many people already feel. Limbaugh is an idiot, and (almost) everyone knows it. He has no more credibility with the average American than a left-wing wacko like Al Sharpton. It's too bad that Gingrey feels beholding to toe the line with a (failed) GOP leadership.
4 years ago if anyone said what Limbaugh said, they would not be on the air and looked at as anti-american.
Hannity and Limbaugh need rating and keep their 7 or 8 figure income, and they have to say something outrageous to keep their audiance. They are very smart. GOP pretty much will be flushed out by next generation if they think these two represent their voice.
My grandfather was a Republican. My father was a Republican. I am an independent voter who doesn't care much for Democrats or Republicans. What I can't understand is why anyone listens to Rush Limbaugh – he's a DJ on AM radio and known for making off the wall statements to get people to listen to his show. He's like Howard Stern, but with Oxycontin instead of strippers. These politicians need to start doing their jobs and stop criticizing each other.
Its sad that a politician who is trying to do what he thinks is best for his country and his political party is being bullied by the fan base of extreme right wing talk show hosts for speaking the truth. The problem in politics is that the voters need to open up their eyes and minds and become educated voters rather than just blind followers.
He apologized for his moment of integrity? Bless his heart...
What a wimp! First you stand-up and act like a United States Congressman and then you wimp out because of a backlash for offending Rush and mentioning Sean. You got 70% of vote in your re-election bid. What do you care what Rush and Sean think or say!
Your a United States Congressman – act like it !
Now the conservatives are fighting amongst themselves. After wrecking the economy the last 8 years, the good ole boys are trying to look like they hold the key to "values". Yep, the same values that gave protection to the corporations who would rather make a dishonest buck and send American jobs overseas than settle for moderate riches and preserve the American way of life. These guys make me sick!!! You are the dogs of our country and do not deserve citizenship.
Their party is dying.
Too bad. Limbaugh, Hannity and company are destroying this country. People are so caught up in divisive politics this day and it's becoming the norm. I believe the right have more respect for pundits than they do for it's leadership...or even God. It's coming to the point where it's almost time to take the Name "United" out of the "United States", thanks to these pundits who are making millions with their behavior.
Just when we thought one so-called conservatives got the message in November, it turns out that Gingrey lost his spine and conviction in favor of un-american partisanship. It will be interesting to find out what these wing-nut radio flacks have on these guys.
Lesson: Don't offend the REAL shot callers of the GOP.
Enough space should be reserved in Guantanamo to house Limbaugh. Thanks for telling us about his latest drivel, I thought he disappeared years ago. Maybe it was his relevance that disappeared.
America will be a scary place if these type of republicans ever come to power....
I am not a Democrat nor am I a Republican. I can proudly say that I am an independent voter, one of those middle of the road voters that these politicians try so hard to convince to vote for them. I can profoundly state that as an American voter I am completely disgusted to see that an elected official in this country feels he has to grovel to a radio talk show host. I can respect Mr. Gringey's statement of not wanting to upset his fellow republicans however, a better response would have been to call out Rush Limbaugh to run for public office. As an unbiased observer, these are truly sad times for those Republicans when their elected officials have less power than a guy that talks on the radio.