January 29th, 2009
09:17 AM ET
7 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. joe troise

    Who in his right mind would listen to one word that lying drug addicted hate-monger Rush Blowhard would have to say about anything? He's an irrational, badly-informed lunatic filled with rage, and leading one of the most inauthentic and destructive lives imaginable. America should put him in jail for hate crimes.

    January 28, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  2. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Alright, if Gingrey's supporters are mad at him maybe next election we can get another Democrat on the GA team.
    In my opinion no one should apologize for saying anything critical (read BAD) about Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reily, or any of that ilk. These people do not represent everyday Americans, nor do they represent the average Republican.

    January 28, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  3. RPGR

    My problem isn't with "Rush" so much as it is with ANYBODY who would believe EVERYTHING he (or ANYONE) would say.

    Rush essentially IS "mainstream media" for 25% to 30% of the country (ditto-heads) & the PRIMARY "news" source (scary) for many of them (lol). For him to still cast himself as the "outsider" (not part of the "mainstream media" elite blah blah) at THIS stage is laughable.

    He's an entertainer (RNC apologist) who tells the ditto-head kool-aid drinkers what they want to hear.

    January 28, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  4. When will you learn

    Yes...you see eye to eye with Rush the idiot Limbaugh...do you also agree that Obama needs to fail in fixing this economy. So which is it...hurt the country in the effort to cast a shadow on the democrats? How about doing what is best to fix this country. You want to win back your seats? Lets work together to fix this country. Maybe if you conservatives work with the both parties something can be done. Then when you are up for re-election you can tout how you were able to help this country and if re-elected you can continue to do so.

    January 28, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  5. Minnesotan

    Mr. Gingrey proves that he's just another party tool by pandering to the rabid, simple-minded folk who think that hate-mongers like Rush & Sean have any relevance in our society. Too bad. We really need some free-thinking Republicans who can put country first and partisan manure second. Oh, wait, I just said "free-thinking Republicans" ..... silly me....

    January 28, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  6. A7K8A69

    Two more years and the final republican will be out on street and never be able to legislate another law to destroy this country. The word republican will be a thing of the past, just like rush and hannity. Patience will be the best remedy for the next 2 years. Since rush is the new republican spokesperson is he eligable for federal money?

    January 28, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  7. Jody

    I have to agree with Linda in Mississippi. As a Kentuckian and a Democrat, I have to appologize for Mitch McConnell and Jim (senile)Bunning, Kentucky's puppet Repug senators. Both have consistently voted for policies that are harmful to the average Kentuckian. Yet, we (not me) keep electing thes stooges. I do not understand it at all. Why do people vote against what is best for them?

    January 28, 2009 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  8. Bob from Virginia

    What a coward. Limbaugh is anti-American, through and through, and this "Representative" should be working for America, not worrying about the clowns who are only interested in themselves.

    January 28, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  9. Lisbon

    When did Obama stop using cocaine ?

    January 28, 2009 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  10. David

    I am a conservative Republican, and I don't need Rush Limbaugh to speak for me. Ever since his whole drug habit and denial became public, I have wondered why people continue to put so much stock in this windbag. Learn to think for yourselves, people!

    January 28, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  11. Ula Nejad Sacramento, Ca

    From $825 to $819billion shows Rush does have some clout and Gingrey did right to apologise. Not enough but the shift sends a strong message as to who calls the shot when it comes to a democrat president. Making it tougher but the smart ones come out of it alive or badly wounded. Gingrey learned very fast from angry response from his party members.

    January 28, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  12. richard ciuffa

    What a sad commentary on the state of our nation! Sad that a grown man–a politician no less–feels pressure to apologize to the doofus of dogma–Rush Limbaugh. Then again, hasn't recent history taught us that many Republicans adhere to the rants of an irrelevant windbag!

    January 28, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  13. BILL

    I thank it is a shame that the shape the countery is in , that rush Limbaugh is allowed to get on t-v * raido and talk about our president Obama ,the way he has, all the problems Gw bush brought on the us . he should be removed from the air & tv I thank it is a disgrace to us citizen of this country To have to listen To.
    Bii of Tn.

    January 28, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  14. shawn nashville tn

    this is hilarious for someone who governs being told what to do by a radio host

    January 28, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  15. Thomas

    Sounds like Rush Limbaugh puts more fear in those of his own party then he dose our President .
    Old Limbaugh sure like's to emulate the politics of fear, similar to that of pre Nazi Germany , " Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler ".
    Unfortunately for Rush he looks and acts more like a drug addicted , " Hermann Göring " !

    Sad old LIMBAUGH !

    January 28, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  16. Sally

    Limburger should be taken off the air. He's no better than Don Imus. Freedom of speech? Give me a break. His outrageous comments are destructive and irresponsible. While you're at it, throw Coulter onto the same trash heap. Sad that these evil forces are brainwashing 20 million.

    January 28, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  17. Christie

    America used to be smart. How sad to see a dear old friend losing their marbles.

    January 28, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  18. Bea

    so Sean and Hannity are the party's voice? wow. what a shame....

    January 28, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  19. Bea

    I meant to say Sean and Rush

    January 28, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  20. Gracie

    Hey Rep. Gingrey.. I've got some boots that need licking.

    January 28, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  21. Guy from CA

    Wow. So Gingrey is apologizing for DISAGREEING with Limbaugh? Has it really come to that Republicans? You are not even free to disagree anymore? Maybe if individual Republican politicians had the guts to admit when they disagree with each other instead of letting a college dropout with a microphone call the shots they could have some proper political discourse and do some good for their country AND win elections.
    This way of thinking will keep Republicans out of power for about a decade at least. Kudos to you Ginrey for proving you are a statesman standing on his own two feet.

    January 28, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  22. Alicia

    We must thank this guy. He is confirming the CD that the Repubs had out with all the racist comments. The REPUBLICAN Party is a party of racist White men like Rush, Newt, Sean Hannity, O'Reilly, and now this racist cracka!

    January 28, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  23. Ray - Newman, Ca

    Are you kidding me? Don't all these politicians espouse doing what is right for their country? This moron started to and then he backed off. Yet another republican who can't think for himself. I have not met one personally who doesn't think Rush is "God" and who won't listen to the windbag whenever possible.

    January 28, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  24. doro

    Rush, as a fascist reactionary tool, obviously doesn't have any very clear understanding of how things are supposed to work in a constitutional democracy. That's no surprise, and no big deal. As an entertainer, he serves his country by keeping his listeners off the streets for a few hours a day, and that's good for us all. It is a little discouraging, though, when a member of Congress is so clueless that he believes he owes greater fealty to the fat man and his lynch mob than to any principle of honor or courage.

    January 28, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  25. Dan

    I agree with the junior senator from Minnesota: "Rush Limbaugh is a Big , Fat Idiot."

    January 28, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
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