(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.
Wow..Phil..anybody that sees eye-to-eye with Rush is a fellow crackpot, not necessarily a conservative.
We are all American 1st and foremost... Why would any american want for american leaders to fail? If our government fail we all fail..
Apparently he doesn't have any cajones or independent thought after all. Just another party line lemming.
As a Southerner and a Democrat, I have to apologize to the rest of the nation for the likes of Gingrey and all the rest of Republicans from the South. I am truly horrified by the message they send to the nation, that we are all backwards and racist religious fanatics. While it is true that most whites in the South fit that description, there are many of us who abhor what they stand for and work hard to combat their ideology.
Talk about bending to the whims of "Polls" or criticism instead of saying what you believe in. i thought our backs were made of bones not rubber.
Why is Limbaugh getting so much coverage. He's a drug abuser and we know that's creates brain damage. He's the epitomy of dicipline as evidenced by his waistline. He acts like a mad dog suffering from impotence. He supports hatred and intolerance. We, the American people mandated change: Limbough could be cast as the Grand Pupaw of all idiots in the film, "American Shame"
Those Republicans are still stuck in that exclusionary club world of "us against them" mentality while the rest of the country has seen the need to put party politics aside and get this country fixed and moving again.
Only three words came to mind when I read that this guy cowered down to the likes of Hannity and Limbaugh.......
"And Jesus wept".
Rush must go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Rash Limbo, chowder headed, drug addicted fool. He is a prime example of what is wrong with this country.
Rush Limbaugh is a freakin' idiot. I can't believe people actually care what this drug addict has to say. He's dumb and fat.
WOW. Whata ineffective elected official whose decisions are supported by talk radio entertainers. What's wrong with this picture.
Not just a coward – a two-time coward on the same issue. These Repubthugcans never change.
I had more respect for Gingrey before he apologized. Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh are entertainers – they don't govern, set policy, make decisions. They entertain. If Rush was so patriotic, he would give up some of his $100M annual take from Clear Channel and have the 1500 Clear Channel employees who just lost their jobs stay employed. I prefer to watch Law and Order – that's entertainment – even Dancing with the Stars.....the same rule applies to the entertainers on the left like Mr. Olbermann – who I find to be intersting but I don't consider it news.
I think they should all call themselves what they are – political disk jockey's and WE should all start reading 2 or 3 newspapers a day.
Guess we can add this guy in with the other two windbags.
Really, I can't beleive this guy apologized- I would try to stand as far away from those two as possible. I hope the voters of his home state are smart enough to see now what a wimp he is, and send him home.
How typically Southern, kissing the feet of an oxycontin addict!
I'd like to apolgoize to Rush as well: I'm sorry you always dwell in a stink hole and that you've managed to draw the once-respectable GOP to the same place.
You can't give Rush or Sean a real job in the party let alone in state or federal government. Their job is to stir the pot and make millions doing it. Snake oil salesmen who sell you the joy juice then slide out of town.
Phil Gingrey needs to be reminded that the good people of his district in Georgia did not elect Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity or Newt Gingrich to be their representative.... They elected Phil Gingrey!!
And perhaps more importantly, Mr. Gingrey's constituents back home also need to be reminded of the same thing! Those constituents elected Mr. Gingrey to do *THEIR* bidding and represent *THEM*... NOT to do be the lap dog of Limbaugh, Hannity, or Gingrich!!
Phil Gingrey's initial comments were precisely correct! It *IS* easy to criticize when you are outside of the system and have *NO* responsibility for *ANYTHING*! It is precisely our *ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES* of Congress who must do the real work of representing their own people back home and make the hard decisions that are needed to get this country back on track.
If those are your "biggest supporters," its time to quit the game.
Who cares what Beavis & Buthead say.
Just think, we have a lot more just like him in congress from Georgia.
Where are all the neo-hypocrits now, who were complaining earlier about Rush's free-speech rights in the light of the DCCC petition (which by the way, did not limit Rush's free speech at all)? Nowhere to be found. Are they not worried about one of their own Reps. who feels he has no right to think on his own, without asking permission from Hannity and Limbaugh. Looks like the people of GA elected to office a limp-wristed puppet of the rightwing entertainment industry! What hypocrisy!
True conservative Republicans pursuing a conservative agenda and a return to political power certainly make a big mistake hitching their wagons to the likes of Limbaugh and Hannity. Both have become millionaires many times over preaching their negativity to all those who can't think for themselves and need to daily lectures on what to think. It truly amazes me that so many continue to follow and listen to them, when all they accomplish by doing so is enriching the program sponsors and Limbaugh and Hannity. This isn't the 80's any longer and living in the past with Ronald Regan is not going to solve this mess we are in, which in no small part has been brought about by so called conservatives in Congress and the White House and their free spending contra conservative behavior. As an independent I am here to tell you that Republicans will never again earn my vote, and I have voted for Republican presidents in the past, by cow towing to Limbaugh, Hannity and their ilk.
It says a lot that the Republican party feels it "needs" Limbaugh and Hannity, and yes, even Palin . Did they learn nothing in November?