January 29th, 2009
09:17 AM ET
8 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.


Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (658 Responses)
  1. Shucks

    The conservatives are destroying this country. They have already stated that they will not work with President Obama, have caused an unrepairable divide in this country, and continue to bash liberals and Obama supporters, but actually have no plan whatsoever that will fix the economy other than tax breaks for the wealthy. It's sickening to listen and read their comments when they hold no credibility other than they hate Obama and anything or anyone considered liberal. I'm all for next election the country votes them all out of office, as that is where they are headed by this disgusting behavior. Keep it up. keep dividing, keep the economy and growth stagnant. Lets see what happens in 2010. It already looks bad for the republicans two years away.

    January 28, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. Laverne

    It is pretty sad and pathetic when repubs are apologizing for criticizing Limbaugh. It says a lot about where they are as a party and people. If Limbaugh is who they look up to and respect, then they should make him their party leader, hillarious!

    January 28, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  3. sam

    Yes, Mary and we pray it is the Democratic Party!

    January 28, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  4. Jerry

    wow what a tool

    January 28, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  5. john

    the few the proud the pigheaded

    January 28, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  6. davinder

    Spineless Wimp !!!! Glad this guy doesn't represent me.

    January 28, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  7. Matt Procino

    Gingrey was honest, but now he's just a coward. And somehow, Rush wins again.

    January 28, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  8. Thomas J

    Typical politician. Speaks his mind, gets backlash from his party and rather than going with his gut and how he really feels – and then sticking to it, he retreats for fear of losing votes. This is EXACTLY why Obama was the right choice. At least with a guy like Obama, we get a President that we can believe in. When he speaks, we believe in what he says. For Republicans to hope for Obama's failure (such as Limbaugh), is really to say they hope for America's failure. Its time for all of us in the middle to sway to the left and help choose a clear, defined path, regardless of the risk. If hard right wingers don't want to jump on board, too bad.

    January 28, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  9. Art Michaelson

    Go back and re-read Al FRANKIN's book "Rush LIMBOUGH SHUT YOUR BIG FAT (UGLY) MOUTH. The country is HURTING real bad now is not the time to hope BARAK OBAMA fails.

    January 28, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  10. PAUL W., TAMPA

    He see's eye-to-eye with Rush, even on hoping that Obama fails and the U.S. is excessively weakened, families lose employment, homes and suffer. These Republicans are the "real" Americans? Thank GOD they are in the minority.

    January 28, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  11. Bill

    Mr. Gingrey, you should not apologize for the truth or what is right. You should not apologize for expressing your opinion.
    He's right. That's all they do is sit back and throw bricks. Rush Limbaugh does nothing but divide this country. He sits and criticizes anything and everything that is Democratic and has been doing it for close to 20 years. If he doesn't like that this is a two party country he should do us all a huge favor and leave. The Dems and Repubs are trying to work together (which they are supposed to do) and once again, people somehow manange to get Rush Limbaugh involved. The man is a joke.

    This reminds me of when anyone spoke out against Bush going to war in Iraq. Anytime someone would stand up against it, they'd have to apologize and take back the criticsm the very next day.

    January 28, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  12. Amy

    These so-called 'conservatives' are nothing more than conservative extermists... aka America's Terrorists. If he's so afraid of nitwit TV and radio personalities then he has no right being in a political position because he obviously has no backbone. And it seems to me that doing what's right for his party is not the same thing as doing what's right for the people. HIs priorities seem a little out of sorts anyway.

    January 28, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  13. sam

    You are so spineless that you are back tracking because you might lose the next election. I got news for you; with a click of a send button, the Obama team will, righfully so, round up millions of dollars and a support of millions of youths (who by the way are too smart to listen to Rush) and get you out of the office. Times are changing Mr. Gingrey and siding with Limbaugh means siding with what is quickly becoming old fashioned and reckess. America has woken up and if you want a political future, you better wake up too!

    January 28, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  14. aTypicalProgressive

    There was no mea culpa. Republican Representative Phil Gingrey was right and said it best when he criticized Limbaugh and Hannity yesterday. He is to be applauded for his candor. The evident bigotry among Georgian voters has been noticed by the country through its history and lately by its trashing of Max Cleland and support of Saxby Chambliss and Sarah Palin. By criticizing Gingrey, Georgian voters have been heard loud and clear by the nation.

    January 28, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  15. horse

    Weak. Limbaugh and Hannity are hillbillies. Republican leadership shouldn't be afraid of them.

    January 28, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  16. Craig - Hastings, MN

    Mary- Free speech is one thing . Divisive vitriol is another. Learn the difference my friend.

    January 28, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  17. Jeff W.

    Why does anyone care what Limbaugh has to say? He's just so ridiculous. It's one thing to have political opinions, it's another to take the party line 100% of the time and never find fault with some of the decisions made by party members. Why is Gingrey apologizing? This only boosts Limbaugh's ego even more. Why does anyone give credence to anything Limbaugh says? You've got to hand it to Limbaugh, he's smart because his comments got him exactly what he wanted, free media attention.

    January 28, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  18. Mick in Mesa

    NEWS FLASH! NEWS FLASH!
    House and Senate Plantation Repuglicons make Rush Limbaugh the new head of the GOP!

    Many heard saying "The best divisive racist we could find! We just love grabbin' our ankles for this blovating, flame throwing talking head".

    Note to Repugs nationwide...In case you hadn't noticed, Limbaugh is your Rev. Wright. Let's ee how you deal with it – Ha Ha..

    January 28, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  19. Tyrone Brown

    Those "fans" of Limbaugh and conservatives in the Republican Party need to wake up and understand the real issue (or perception) at hand – wanting the President to fail means wanting America to fail. And un-American and un-patriotic is that?

    God Bless America and God Bless President Barack Obama,

    Tyrone Brown
    Seattle, Washington

    January 28, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  20. Thomas

    "I will continue to defend and fight for our sacred values". Hmmm...did anybody else notice that the Congressman failed to articulate just what those sacred values might be? Warrantless wiretaps? Waterboarding? Secret CIA prisons? Makes one wonder.

    January 28, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  21. RDW - TEXAS

    Rush and Hanity? How pathetic! Really, is that what being a conserative means, to believe like them and say whatever you want about people who don't agree with you?

    That Hanity guy tries to claim he is a Christian, but Christianity is nothing like either of them, at least that Rush guy doesn't even try to pretend to be one.

    January 28, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. Susan

    Well, I guess the Republians should get used to losing, because we are finally on to their damaging policies. The American people were not fooled in the last 2 elections. Limbaugh's days are numbered as far as his continuing influence on our American system.

    January 28, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  23. angie

    So you dont have a mind of yours anymore ?

    Values in deed , all liars . Stop hiding under conservative values cause only God knows those that worship Him in truth .

    Where did conservative values take us to in 8 years , you have a man with 5 kids killing himself , his wife and children because of our so called conservative values and u still want to keep talking conservative ?

    Does God say we have to look after our neighbours , tell me how this conservative values have looked after us in 8 Years .

    i am a christian but i dont enforce my values on people . God is a just God and by grace are we saved .
    take a break from this conservative values and ask yourselves if you will be able to defend them at the gates

    January 28, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  24. Rachael

    The fact that the leadership of the republican party worships these two numb skulls speaks volumes as to why the GOP lost so big.

    January 28, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  25. Alan

    Guess that answers the question about who's leading the Republican party.

    January 28, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
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