January 29th, 2009
09:17 AM ET
6 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. Texas Mama

    So the Republicans march to the manipulated reality of Limbaugh and Hannity – how terrible this guy was caught trying to "do what’s best for your people and your party."

    January 28, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  2. MARY

    WHAT HAPPENED TO FREEDOM OF SPEECH? WAKE UP AMERICA
    EACH PERSON HAS THE RIGHT TO SAY WHAT HE WANTS TO SAY.
    ARE WE HEADED FOR A ONE PARTY SYSTEM TO TELL US WHAT TO SAY AND WHAT NOT TO SAY?

    January 28, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  3. Cindy

    Well, seems like Conservatives are defending Hannity and Limbaugh just like Obama originally defended Rev Wright. While I can understand fondness for them, they are too divisive to be effective. Lack of ability to cut ties with these devisive characters (and yes, they are simply characters, not actually important people) shows weakness, not strength.

    January 28, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  4. Bud

    Gingrey was right the first time. These chickenhawk idiots say anything they want but aren't required to back up what they say. You didn't see them sending family to a war on Bush's word and you didn't see them attempt to join the military when they were eligible. They were critical of McCain when that criticism may have created the difference in the election. Now they're attacking everyone in the Repub Party and our new President....because they can. Apologizing was a mistake Mr. Gingrey!

    January 28, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  5. Nancy - Kansas

    These far right Republicans are out of ideas. Their answer to any situation or problem is cut taxes. That was the path followed for the past administration and look where we are now.

    January 28, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  6. Matt

    It says a lot about the influence that conservative talk radio wields in the South that a guy who won the last election with 70% of the feels the need to apologize. It also says a lot about conservatism that states in the South are at the bottom of national rankings in education and at the top of national rankings in poverty.

    January 28, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  7. Julia

    Wow. this guy sounds like a dope. He sees "eye to eye" with Lambaugh? His first comments were dead on. He was correct. He's the one that has to make the hard decisions. Those guys are TELEVISION and RADIO personalities. They're armchair quarterbacks. This is the kind of story that makes it painfully aware that Democrats will be holding government for many, many years to come because the GOP cannot stand up for themselves, nor can they organize their own thoughts without FOX News pundits firing warning shots across their bows. The fact that this US Congressman would back a comment hopeful that this president FAILS is indicative of the extreme fracture of the Republican Party and its complete separation of itself and the ideals of the US Constitution.

    January 28, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. James

    What 'Sacred Values' is he talking about? Republicans have destroyed our economy, our standing in the world, they even promoted a woman with a child pregnant out of wedlock as the VP. Are these the values he is speaking of?

    January 28, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  9. Tim

    I wonder if he's learned the 10 commandments yet

    January 28, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  10. B

    I miss President Bush

    January 28, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  11. VIVA Viagra!

    Too bad this guy seems to think that the impotent drug addict has any power.

    Perhaps if Mr. Gingrey were to get up out of the mud, he wouldn't see "eye to eye" with the draft dodger.

    January 28, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  12. Kevin

    It is so hilarious to watch the unraveling of the republicans. They can't figure out if the sky is up or down as they keep running down that road to self destruction.

    January 28, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  13. rr

    that's a coward

    January 28, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. rbs

    What a coward.

    January 28, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  15. Patrick

    Gingrey needs a backbone.

    January 28, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  16. karen-Phoenix

    He was right the first time! NO MORE RUSH OR HANNITY! And I'm a registered republican!!! These men are offensive to educated people!!!
    I DO NOT want to be angry and I want republicans to go along with President Obama!!! So far in 1 week he has done more to improve the moral in the US than Bush did in 8 years!!!

    January 28, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  17. tee

    BOW DOWN TO RUSH AND HANNITY. WHAT A JOKE.
    REPUGS CATCH A CLUE BUY A VOWEL.

    January 28, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  18. Dexter in Houston TX

    What exactly are these "sacred values" only belonging to Republicans?

    January 28, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  19. Wow

    How terribly gutless.

    January 28, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  20. nani

    What a wuss. He is so afraid of the attack dogs going after him next that he's lost what little spine he showed in his original comment. If this is what Republicans have sunk to, they will be out of power a very long time.

    January 28, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  21. HouseDiva

    Neo-Cons are just diggin their own graves..I hope they all choke on their hatred.

    January 28, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  22. carlo

    Maybe Limbaugh IS the leader of the Republican Party. Boy, are they desperate for leadership. Way to lose in 2012.

    January 28, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  23. katie

    Instead of "dittoheads", his followers should call themselves :dopeheads.
    I think Rush should be locked up in a room with Ann coulter and bill o'reilly –with a combined intelligence of 100 , they could bore each other to death -and the world would be a better place.

    January 28, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  24. Dante in Madison, WI

    This man lacks both integrity and honesty.

    He spoke up and said what he felt, now to save face with his party and some drug addled right-wing radical talk show host, he's back paddling on his comments.

    Grow a spine and hold firm to what you believe without having to retroactively apologize.

    January 28, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  25. Uhhhh.

    Grow a spine. Rush is a traitor to the nation as far as I'm concerned and should be treated as such for inciting such resentment and conflict..

    January 28, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
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