January 29th, 2009
09:17 AM ET
11 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. Bob

    Apologizing to the biggest windbag and sleazeball of them all, Rush Limbaugh? This guy Gingrey has absolutely no balls at all....Typical of a neo-con wanting to hold onto his political seat at any cost......

    January 28, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  2. Chelle in Fla

    What a punk! LOL

    January 28, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  3. Matt Procino

    What a disgrace that an elected official has to apologize for telling the truth. Rush, Hanity, all of the media- right or left- are not held accountable. They can say whatever they want, even wish our president fails, and there's not a thing we can do. An honest man speaks and these clowns bury him.

    January 28, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  4. donna

    Wow..the Republicans are full of spineless "politicians"..glad they are out of power........

    January 28, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  5. PeterB

    Walks like a Republican, talks like a chicken. These days GOP seems to stand for Grand Old Pussies.

    January 28, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. MBFLA

    Rush and Al-Qaeda and the Taliban all want the USA to fail. How is that acceptable?

    January 28, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. Rick

    It is good to see Gingrey have to back down from his liberal leaning comment. I also hope Obama fails miserably in his attempt drag this once great nation into socialism.

    January 28, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  8. John The Senator

    Dance, puppets, dance!!!

    January 28, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. Susan in Chicago

    What....was his life threatened or something if he didn't take it back?

    Rush is just a fat old, prescription drug addict, blow-hard who's only acting like a 10 year old throwing a tantrum! I swear the guy's going to pop a blood vessel, he's so upset he's not getting his way!

    What a wuss! I agree with Aaron in Charlottesville – "grow a spine!"

    January 28, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  10. Carmine Abbattiello

    The inmates are now firmly in control of the asylum.

    January 28, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  11. ps

    Gingrey, you're a gutless wonder for backing down on your comments.

    January 28, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  12. Lynne

    Oh my, my.... Limbaugh really has hijacked the conservatives hasn't he? Well that really is too bad. Hopefully someone will be able to step up and stand for the real values of the Republican party.

    The Republican party really has lost their way if a member of Congress has to apologize to a radio show host.

    January 28, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  13. AZ Senior

    Rush Llimbaugh is a virus on the Republican party – does anyone recall the way it was before these blithering idiots started spewing their venom?

    January 28, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  14. brad in austin

    Why apologize...you hit the nail on the head. Rush couldn't do the job, and if he could, why isn't he? If he has such a huge base, go out and get elected!

    January 28, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  15. joan

    I would not give a thought to anything the two bimbos Limbaugh and Hanneity talk about. They are ingnorant entertainers on the fringe of extrinction, that promote hate to keep up their ratings and keep their advertising dollars and paychecks coming in.
    They would both be better off silenced from being on any talk show,

    January 28, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  16. Chut Pata

    Now Limbaugh's claim that Obama is more afraid of him than our representatives, makes sense. Who would be afraid of these spineless creatures such as Gingrey. If anyone should be afraid of, they should be afraid of those morons who drive them e.g. Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly, Glenn Beck etc.

    January 28, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. ds

    Chicken

    January 28, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  18. Craig - Hastings, MN

    Pure ,unadulterated BOVINE MANURE. It's EXACTLY this kind of attitude that will doom the GOP to wander in the wilderness for years to come.

    January 28, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. ANAG LOS ANGELES, CA

    loser.

    January 28, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. JC

    There is no way in hell, conservatives have to fall in line and wish socialists well, or, success with WRECKING this great country.
    Rush is right on!!!!

    January 28, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. MD in VA

    Are conservatives supposed to be of "one mind" and think exactly alike on ALL things? That is a ridiculous statement to make or believe about ANY group of people. Hannity and Limbaugh get paid big bucks to stir up controversy (the blowhards) and his original statement is right. Hell, Hannity and Limbaugh don't agree on ALL things. The two "don’t have to try to do what’s best for your people and your party". I would add "...try to do what's best for your COUNTRY". He should have stuck with his original statement and let the "chips fall where they may".

    January 28, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  22. Pete C

    Despite being correct about his comments, guess Gingrey can't stand up for himself. Its very scary to see what power over Republicans (citizens included) these talk show hosts have. Thank goodness that most of the country is aware that these gloom & doom soothsayers on the radio are a joke.

    January 28, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. Steve

    Thatta boy! Keep on clinging to Limbaugh and Hannity, conservatives! Stay blind to what cost you the last two election cycles. Don't listen to anybody else, just keep on nuturing the cancer that's destroying the Republican party. That wasy America will stand a better chance of getting back on track, if you incompetent, superstitious nitwits stay out of power.

    January 28, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  24. Butch Dillon

    Does Gingrey keep a valet handy to wipe the drool off his chin as he sputters regular doses of nonsense? If not, he should!

    January 28, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  25. John The Senator

    Mary, this word fight is between Republicans, so talk to them.

    January 28, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
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