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. jenn

    Well, if Rush Limbaugh is now pulling the strings of the Republican Party, as a Democrat I won't have to worry about the 2010 or 2012 elections! Limbaugh is woefully out of touch with most Americans, because nobody wants this country to fail. Heck, I would have been happy if George Bush had succeeded if it had meant better days for our nation. It's positively unpatriotic to wish failure on a President who is trying to save this country from the brink of economic disaster.

    There are so many well-intentioned philosophical conservatives out there that I cannot fathom why people listen to blowhards like Rush Limbaugh. Does he really share his listeners' conservative values, what with having been married a bunch of times and being a drug addict to boot? What has he ever done to make this country better? His "us versus them" attitude is not going to get the economy going, or bring about world peace. President Obama, by contrast, is sincerely trying to work with conservatives in Congress–why are people letting Rush Limbaugh interfere with that?

    January 28, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  2. Angie in Pa

    Republicans digging and diggin Theirselves futher and futher in the Ground like I said on my last post 2010 will be the Year Republicans become Extinct

    January 28, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. Steve L New Jersey

    Limbaugh and Hannity are why the repulicans are doomed. These guys make about as much sense as the KKK.

    January 28, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. Chuck

    Rush Limbaugh does not know and understand “Socialism” and “Communism”. He is and Illiterate, Talkative Rascal. Canada and UK have healthcare provided by Government, does it mean Canada and UK are Socialist countries? We have free education till the 12th grade, social security system, does not make USA a Communist country. Even Democratic States are “Welfare States”. Limbaugh is a Duffer who does not understand what a Welfare State is. He wants Obama to fail, just because Obama is trying to Regulate Banking, Finance and Taxation. Does Limbaugh know and understand that Unregulated Banking, Finance and Taxation can lead to Thuggery, Exploitation and Lawlessness? Limbaugh has the Freedom of Speech, but he should not speak Garbage and Bullcrap. He is a Misguided and a Disillusioned Goon.

    January 28, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. HAWK TEXAS

    If this is what the republican party is, then i say good riddance. may they never hld a majority ever again. america does not need people like this. when bush wanted a bail out the republicans wre for it. when Obama wants one the republicans are against it. may they just fade away.

    January 28, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. Dale

    I can't believe this guy is caving in to Sean Hannity & Rush Limbaugh!
    Two of the biggest wind bags on TV & Radio. Listening to people like Limbaugh and Hannity is what got the Republican party into the mess they are in now.

    I guess Gingrey has no spine to stand his ground and is more worried about what Limbaugh and Hannity think than he is about the American people. This guy is a real wimp!

    When are the Republicans going to wake up and realize that Limbaugh and Hannity don't speak for the majority of the country!!

    January 28, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. Amber

    This is like watching a zombie film....

    January 28, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  8. geff Moore

    Hey why dont you guys get off Rush's bacl! Here is a Great man , a man that speaks his mind and stand up to people like Reed, and Obama and Bush! You know when Rush says it he means it and it come right from the heart! I am about 25 million other people listen to Rush everyday and if u dont like him dont listen! He has a right to speak his mind and we all still have the right of freedom of speach last time i checked! so get used to Rush being around for a very long time!!

    January 28, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  9. Doc Steve

    You clearly have neglected to examine the platitude of lies expounded by Rush Limbaugh, and practically as many by Hannity, Mr. Gingrey. Values? Spreading hate, racism and extremism through misquotes and labeling is your trademark. You and your self indulging extremists. What values can you possibly convey when you and your kind have divided our nation and have supported the most vicarious administration in our nation's history?

    January 28, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  10. Joe Magaratz

    I live in OH and am a registered Democrat–GO OBAMA!–but if Representative Gingrey were my representative I WOULD VOTE FOR HIM! Somebody has to expose the "WIZARD OF OXYCONTIN!"

    January 28, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. H. Charles

    This is indicative of how divided this nation is. We might as well go back to the Union and the Confederacy. "I am one of you." Really?? And what exactly does that mean?? That you're offensive and pessimistic and that you have no answer to the nation's problems but to complain? What a great disservice you've done to your constituents.

    January 28, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  12. Jim

    As long as politicians will cow-tow to filth like them, this country will never be what it could be.

    January 28, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  13. Timothy

    Yes, Toto, the Republicans are different than you and me. But now we have da black man in da white house. Amen!

    January 28, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. patNY

    To actually go out of one's way to apologize to Rush and Hannity is even more rediculous than Rush and Hannity themselves! Please! There's no need to apologize...these guys are total LOSERS!!!!

    January 28, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  15. sandee in Portland

    If Gingrey and the other republicans wouldn't cower before tv and radio personalities, but rather stand on their own principals, the republicans would be in much better shape. This only goes to show they are worried about keeping their career jobs and those jobs were never meant to be careers.

    January 28, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  16. Jonathan

    For all of the "we need to support our President" rhetoric that was pitched by Republicans, they jump on the bandwagon with Dittoheads instead of following their own rule.

    Gingery, grow a pair. Rush, get off the dope. Hannity – we all miss Colmes.

    Why don't you just go all the way and pledge your support for Michael Savage?

    January 28, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  17. Tango Tango

    My Lord. The conservatives just got spanked and they still fear these guys. Scary stuff. Amazing that they can be THAT out of touch.

    January 28, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  18. S. Farmer

    These guys are on the fringes, they are irrelevant and need to realize that their way of thinking is what gave rise to the current administration. Why can't they take a deep look inward and see that they are no better than their fellow man and come up with some ideas that will actually make a difference in "all" of our lives, not just their own. We are supposed to care about the least of Gods children, the rich should willingly help the poor... You guys just don't get it !

    January 28, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  19. Paul Coate

    What does a Congressman have to apologize to a member of the media for???? Who has the real power in the Republican Party? The official elected by the people, or some mouth in the media who was hired by a CEO?

    This clearly shows that people like Limbaugh do only as much for America today as Tokyo Rose did for America 70 years ago!

    January 28, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  20. Sam

    Totally spineless, I agree with Christopher.

    January 28, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  21. Rodney Hopper II

    Looks like Congressman Gingrey suffers from a severe lack of intestinal fortitude.

    Let's look at the root of this apology:

    "Sorry guys... I didn't mean to imply that I have the ability to criticize those in my own party or that I am anything more than a partisan hack.

    Can I have my EIB mug now?"

    January 28, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  22. Jessica

    At least I know what part of Georgia to avoid.

    January 28, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  23. Tim from Eugene OR.

    Almost a backbone, wait, no it was a false alarm! I beg all Republicans to please keep supporting Rush, Hannity, Bill Oriley, Drudge, Mike Regan, etc. Also please send money to Palins camp. Please support her for 2012, PLEASE!

    We still need a couple of more senate seats to make you completely irrelevant!

    January 28, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  24. Drew

    I love Obama, he is my President, but he is not without rebuke or correction, especially in the U.S. Get used to it people, the give and take is what makes our country great. Democrats need to lighten up a bit! Residents of Berkley CA are not the only ones in the U.S. with a right to freedom of speech. Rush has a right to his opinions (as all Americans do), even though he has made mistakes (who hasn't?). If you don't like his program, turn if off and listen to something else. Whatever happened to freedom of speech?

    January 28, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  25. George Ennis, Toronto, Canada

    For the Democratic party the fact that the Republican party is drifting more towards its extremists base of supporters has to be welcome news.

    A congressman who feels he has to apologize to a man, who hopes President Obama fails; is spineless.

    January 28, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
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