January 29th, 2009
09:17 AM ET
9 years ago

Gingrey apologizes for Limbaugh criticism

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/28/art.gingrey.gi.jpg caption="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. J.L.

    Wow... I guess those "aggrieved conservatives" must be those who worship at the Church of Limbaugh and Temple of Hannity. Amazes me that these two talking heads have so much clout...

    January 28, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. bernj

    It seems to me that Rep. Phil Gingrey needs to grow a pair.

    January 28, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  3. Justin

    "Those guys are some our biggest supporters, and we need them,"

    Are you serious?! I wish those 2 would stop talking! Especially when Limbaugh says ridiculous things like "I hope he fails" in reference to President Obama. The country doesn't need people like that.

    January 28, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  4. Barb

    Just get the fat pig limbaugh off the radio.

    January 28, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  5. For Real

    This is odd. I guess Hannity and Limbaugh are the leaders of the Republic Party.

    January 28, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. REG in Az

    There are not very many things in life where taking the extreme position is better and politics sure isn’t one of them, yet many of us readily get attached to an extreme political position. Right now there seems considerable legitimate pressure for an extreme liberal approach to allow us to rebound from the extreme conservative mentality that has recently governed and caused many of the drastic problems we now have. The pendulum simply swings back and forth changing popularity and, as long as it progresses to the extreme, it creates problems. Proof can be seen in the simple example of the ‘fair trade’ issue where contrary to extreme liberal philosophy, which could demand stringent controls and be unreasonably prohibitive, extreme conservative philosophy called for no controls and allowed run away greed, dishonesty and self-indulgence to contribute significantly to the problems now at hand. Another clear example is the exaggerated checking of government spending on infrastructure under extreme conservative thinking, which allowed for excessive decay, and now demands drastic liberal spending to correct the problems there. Another example is in the Bush-Cheney concentration on benefit solely for Special Interests and a select few (the gross dishonesty and self-indulgence not withstanding as they benefited from returned overt and covert support, contributions and even promised after office ‘kickback’ compensation) and then gave only apathy, the costs and an abundance of subterfuge to the average American, which now requires very significant adjustments to (hopefully) right the economy. It isn’t just a matter of ‘fairness’ or even of appropriate ideology but rather of the reality that extremes don’t work and quickly produce extreme problems. The likes of Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, Sarah Palin, Bush-Cheney, others and definitely their Democratic counter parts, with both sides advocating extremes to excite and manipulate public opinion for there own advantage, are all really doing this country a drastic disservice. It doesn’t matter on what issue – immigration, family values, healthcare reform, education, foreign policy, ,, – if the voter fails to be objective, rational and above all moderate and instead allows themselves to be emotionally manipulated to align with an extreme that benefits the few, then the problems will just continue to be extreme. What this country needs, if possible, is a vast majority of rationally moderately aligned (moderately conservative, moderately liberal or moderately centrist) voters who can’t be easily manipulated. Then we would have a chance of getting it right.

    January 28, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. cpk

    Waht is wrong with this picture.
    A person criticizes Limbaugh for saying something totally below the belt and now he apologzies for it?
    Do the Republicans thing Limbaugh is Jesus reincarnated?
    It is a little unsettling to see them grovel at the feet of Limbaugh.
    He doesn't deserve that much respect or consideration. He has, over the years said many,many,many unkind, uncalled for, and downright awful things about people. He never apologizes.

    January 28, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  8. Rob

    How can any human being get in trouble for critizing Limbaugh who is without a doubt the biggest IDIOT currently talking about anything.

    January 28, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  9. TexRex96

    This demonstrates what an increasingly irrelevant cult the GOP is becoming. One of their own utters a sensible, centrist comment and is forced to profusely apologize for it the next day. The indication that Gingrey might work with the new president is seen as a weakness that must be quickly silenced. I thought the GOP lost the election, that the last eight years under their rule was rejected soundly by the voters? Why on earth is anyone still listening to them?

    January 28, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  10. Dennis Lee Hoffman, citizen of the world

    wishy washy flip floppin politcian trying to avoid unemployemnt like 'the common folk'

    adouche abag

    January 28, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  11. Rich

    You should work hard to not just defend your values, but AMERICAN values as well. Meaning, put America first and support our success, not our defeat as Rush would advocate for the sake of his own political party. Country first, party second.

    January 28, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  12. Oreol

    Limbaugh is a pig and Hannity a rattle snake

    January 28, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  13. Aaron G in Charlottesville

    "And on so many of these things, I see eye-to-eye with Rush Limbaugh."

    Really? He is asking to be ridiculed. My word Gingrey, grow a spine and question the windbags who are driving your party into the ground.

    January 28, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  14. Jeff of Peoria

    What a coward. This would have been a great time to STAND UP for the majority of Republicans who CARE LESS of what Limbaugh and Hanity have to say.

    At some point these politicians have to understand that the LOUDEST MOUTH in the house is not the Majority.

    January 28, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  15. brad

    I don't know Gingrey. But he shouldn't apologize. He is right. All they do is spit out non-sense. I don't even enjoy it when they do it on the left side. At least Al Franken has the will to run and act on his beliefs. Talk is cheap. Action is gold. Rush and the others are cheap. Make me sick.

    January 28, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. pete

    Rep. Gingrey, show some backbone! Are you a Limbaugh lap-dog or do you think for yourself? It's unfortunate that an entertainer like Rush Limbaugh has so many brainwashed followers that they could influence your actions.

    January 28, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  17. Nicole

    One day this great country will come together and realize that we will never be able to accomplish anything until we learn to respect each other. You don't have to agree with me but at least respect me as a person. I am for free speech but the only thing that Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News do is divide this country. Grow up!

    January 28, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  18. Rob

    OH yea, Limbaugh is a Republican which in and of itself shows he is not to smart. I know it's hard for them to think back a while BUT remember what the debt was and where the economy was BEFORE the Republicans took over? YEA, we need more of the Republicans running things. Then maybe China will bail us out.

    January 28, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  19. Mike Dallas

    "As long as I am in the Congress, I will continue to fight for and defend our sacred values"

    Well at least it is out in the open now that the Repubs want America to fail as advocated by the official spokesman, Lush, and now affirmed by the redneck factor who is apologizing for his apology.

    Surely, they all hope the South will rise again!

    January 28, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  20. Toby in Illinois

    The nerve of Gingrey, trying to think for himself! How un-GOP! Well, now he's safely back in the un-Democratic party.

    January 28, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  21. henry adams

    hannity is on tv with no college degree ,has a radio shoe no college degree.
    didnt fight for his country no college degree. And he is the voice of
    conservatives. rush linbaugh is a joke , that leave you dick morris
    ann coulture.

    January 28, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  22. Kathleen

    First conservatives lost their ethics, now they've misplaced their courage. Very sad to see a public official bowing down to a man who wants the President to fail.

    January 28, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  23. Venkat

    Careful there Mr. Gingery, don't wet your pants.

    This episode more than anything else shows what's exactly wrong with the GOP. They have been hijacked and held hostage by lunatics like Hannity & Limbaugh.

    Unless you can stand up to them, you cannot dream of standing up to Obama or the Dems.

    January 28, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. Christopher


    January 28, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. For Real

    Perhaps Hannity and Limbaugh should consider running for elected office. If their opinions and ideas are so respected amongst the conservative community, each should be a shoe in.

    January 28, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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