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.


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soundoff (658 Responses)
  1. Bushwhacked in Eugene, OR

    Egads - and this [his district] is where I'm moving in April! Think I'll be able to keep my mouth shut?

    January 28, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. lola Planner, Houston, Texas

    It appears Gingrey is the one frightened of Limbaugh .

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

    Maybe Limbaugh promised to share some of his drugs with him.

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

    Wake up, supporters of these two "overgrown" adolescents!

    America can certainly come up with better talk show hosts than these!!

    (What about the little 10-year old boy I saw interview Vice President Biden the other night!! He is at least honest!)

    And that is what we need–honesty in our government representatives AND in our media personalities!

    January 28, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  5. Big Ed

    Free speech is protected by the Constiution of the United States. That appeared to be suspended during the Bush Administration when it was unpatriotic to say anything negative about Mr. Bush.

    Now that there is a Democrat in the White House, the Republicans are loosing their minds sceaming everything and "Free Speech!". Let's keep one thing in mind folks: with these rights come responsibilities – we should not abuse any of our rights. Be responsible in their use and remember, attitude reflects leadership – lead by example because there are young people watching you and they will be the ones who choose your nursing home!

    January 28, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  6. Jill-In

    So who cares what Rush Limbaugh thinks. Congressmen and Senators must apologize to him if they step out of line?

    January 28, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  7. Jake

    Are we still talking about this? Rush never agreed with Obama's policies and he has every right to voice them. If you do not agree with an idea, you obviously do not want that idea to succeed. As far as Gingrey, he was trying to be a hero and it just didnt pan out. If you say Limbaugh is an idiot, then you are the idiot because you are implying that you do not want him to have his freedom of speech. Anyway, you re boy the savior has already abandoned many of his talking points during the debates (which I would be happy to list), its going to be more of the same, the only difference is that Jay Z voted this time.

    January 28, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  8. M.S.

    Sad that the power of Limbaugh and Hannity reaches these proportions. Since when is their opinions any more important than your's or mine? I hope our other elected officials can think for themselves!

    January 28, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  9. sully

    they're all idiots.

    January 28, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  10. AnaB

    So let me get this straight. On the other article about dems calling out Limbaugh, repubs were freaking out saying it's called "freedom of speech" and that liberals only believe in freedom of speech when it's to their benefit.

    Hypocrites!

    January 28, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  11. baker

    Makes me wonder who said what to make him do a complete about face. Was it a threat or a bribe?

    January 28, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  12. Jan

    My problem with the Republican party is that their America consists of their party. Whenever they talk about doing what's best, it's never for the interest of the whole country but rather for their fellow Conservatives or their party. I think this will prevent them from gaining favor with non-Republican, non-Conservative Americans. It's such a turn off.

    January 28, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  13. john welsh

    too bad he ducked when chips were down. hannity and rush are pus-sores on the nation. big mouths making money from little people while risking nothing. do they run for office? no. no guts and backgrounds so shady no party could vet them. hope the republicans keep toeing rush and hannity line. it's sooo good for us.

    January 28, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  14. Are you kidding?

    This guy sees eye to eye with creepy Rush...scary.

    January 28, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  15. Michelina

    What a dolt......sees eye -to-eye with Rush?................Really? .......
    What rock has he been living under? The mindless ENTERTAINERS that have driven a the Reps off the cliff are who he sees eye-to-eye with????? Wow, ....take off the blinders fella! ....

    January 28, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  16. ran

    Hopefully the people of GA. will not reelect this guy. He is more concern with "Sacred Values" then doing what is best for the country. Ones values belongs in ones home not in our Gov. That has been one of the biggest problems in Gov.:people getting into Gov. to dictate their values to the rest of us. We can now see how that kind of governing has got us into 2 wars/worst economic situation since the depression. This guy was not against either and not against Bushes tax cuts for the most wealthy of us. Elected officials like him need to be voted out of office.

    January 28, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  17. Roger

    Gingrey is a WUSS who–let me say it Limbaugh & Hannity are both right wing wackos–who speak with a forked tongue the most negative words possible...the only people who listen to them are the extreme right wing republicans whose heads are buried in the sand...

    January 28, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  18. Dan

    Poor baby!!!!! He acted as a statesman and spoke truth to stupidity and now has to backtrack. When will these jerks realize that they need to represent the people and work for the good of the USA. They are not there to stroke the oversized egos and undersized brains of Limbaugh and Hnnity.

    January 28, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  19. Ryan

    This is just another example of how organized and fanatical the conservative movement is. They are terrorists that can hold someone hostage for speaking their mind. This guy has to give in to the demands of terrorists now otherwise he may not be reelected.

    January 28, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  20. Garry

    Pathetic.

    Elected officials in our government are actually apologizing to that egomaniacal, lying windbag because they're afraid of offending him?
    Limbaugh is just a talk show host–nothing more. He has such an inflated sense of his own importance that it's not even funny. But he never had the guts to actually run for office to see how down and dirty things can get when you confront those who oppose you.

    Limbaugh is genuinely evil, and an awful excuse for a human being. And any conservative who actually finds the nerve to tell him to shut up for once will win just a bit of my respect.

    But it doesn't look as though that will ever happen.

    January 28, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  21. KLK

    He's on a SHOOOORT leash!!

    January 28, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  22. Jackie

    So why doesn't he nominate Limbaugh to lead the Republicians?

    January 28, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  23. Lisa

    He is absolutely right. It is easy for radio talk show hosts or anyone to throw bricks around and then go home. Elected officials are there to serve, but it is a harder job than most would imagine.

    January 28, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  24. JIMBISCIELLO

    I WONDER WHAT DRUG OF CHOICE THAT LIMBAUGH WAS ON WHEN HE MADE HIS COMMENTS,
    LET US ALL BE REAL- THIS GUY IS A HATE SPEWING , DRUG ADDICTED OXY MORON....

    January 28, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  25. Jared

    Gingrey = chicken

    I challenge Rush to a cage match. Guarantee I'd stomp his head in before 1 minute elapsed on the clock...

    January 28, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
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