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.

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

    So he hopes Obama fails to

    January 28, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. bessie

    gingrey went right to rush and begged for his forgiveness! the republicans can keep on fooling with the likes of rush ,sean,mark,tom, micheal,les and beck and see where they end up! everyday on the eibnetwork they spur up racism and hate ,this is not the yoo -who generation nor is it the pepsi generation,this is the vitaminwater generation and things have and will change CHANGE HAS COME TO AMERICA! get with it! republicans you cannot and will not win with only your racist base!

    January 28, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  3. Carmine Abbattiello

    People, show a little empathy here, its not easy being the thought-leaders of the party that in eight years brought the nation to ruin.

    January 28, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. Sheryl In San Diego

    Just when I thought someone would stand up to the bully pulpit of Limbaugh and Hannity. Of course that was asking too much.

    This is all about the GOP being in total disarray following the election of Obama, between the right-wing conservatives and the moderates. They need to sort things out.

    Do they let the conservative bullies continue on with their platform/agenda which has resonated just SO well with the American public lately, or do they try new ideas and strategies that threaten the Old Word Conservatives?

    Come on, GOP, give us a REASON to even consider your party to vote for. And, Phil Gingrey, get off your knees now, for God's sake. Grow a spine.

    January 28, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  5. W Spivey, Merritt Isdland, FL

    Gingrey is a gutless wonder and Limbaugh is back on his drugs. It's too bad that when they put them in a cage, they can't devoice them too.

    January 28, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  6. mjm

    So the Democrats are coming out in opposition to free speech.

    Good to know.

    Maybe they can appoint a Czar in charge of suppressing opposition and free speech.

    Rush was talking about Socialism. He wants Socialist to fail. As we all do.

    wow.... dems love power. A petition against Rush. What does that do for you?

    January 28, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  7. Roger from CA

    "You don’t have to try to do what’s best for your people and your party."

    NO...... First and foremost, your duty in Congress is to do what's best for the NATION!!!! And I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt that by "your people" you meant the constituents in your district, and not something like "white people."

    But you are a spineless weasel. No surprise from the representative from the land of dittoheads.....

    January 28, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. Thomas

    Craig, spend a few minutes reading the comments on here from the left, and then talk to me about divisive vitriol being a problem. Also, it is far more than just the right who are opposed to continuously throwing cash at failing companies. To challenge republican (and democrat) leaders on this is hardly divisive vitriol.

    January 28, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  9. lisette


    January 28, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  10. Franky

    You know, I'm gonna say what our good friend from Tennesse said...

    He actually knows people in his home state and he gives us lot of info regarding that state, particular. He did say that Conservatives are not accustomed to seeing our government being so involved. Pretty much he said they are paranoid and since they barely understand the situation, they hardly try to understand it. They are not used to and remember, some of these conservative districts don't even have as many as 2,000 people or less, they are not used to it. He did say to us that for the most part, if they are worried about our debt and that stuff, now is not the good time...

    He believes it can hurt the GOP's base and party if GOP leaders and officials feel like they are being pushed back by their district. He did say if they wanna talk, then they should talk quietly because for the most part, they won't win this match. He does say that they can't win this match, maybe a round but that's all. That's right I've said they are in a complex situation...

    January 28, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  11. MB

    What a ticket: Palin – Gingery '12
    (As long as they promise to make Limbaugh the Minister for Propaganda)

    January 28, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  12. Barbara

    Let me get this straight. Republican politiicians are apologizing to Rush Limbaugh and instead of working together with the Democrats and the President to form a comprehensive bill, they are pushing forward their own bill?

    We need men and women running the country, not children. Many of the 'leaders' in both the Republican and Democratic parties are behaving like mischevious children seeing how much they can get away with. And some Republicans seem to be taking their cues from Mr. Limbaugh. Since no one voted for him ,he should not be in charge of running our country in any way.

    We need men and women running the country not children, so grow up Politicians! Now is the time that your country really needs you to help in getting us out of this economic mess. Don't fail us for any reason, failure is not an option!

    January 28, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  13. Are you kidding?

    This guy sees eye to eye with creepy Rush...scary.
    How far off base can a group BE?

    January 28, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  14. Mike

    Sorry, but Limbaugh and Hannity are not conservatives. Limbaugh, when calm, has some inkling on conservatism in the form of limited government, but he ruins his arguments with heavy doses of ideology. Hannity is just a fascist. Plain and simple. He's an absolute embarrasment to conservatism and Republicanism.

    January 28, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  15. D O

    Those two guys Hannity & Limbaugh are IDIOT they Dont think for their country

    January 28, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  16. tim in carroll ia

    Finally, Rush Limbaugh is having his "Edward R. Murrow Moment".

    For those too young to remember, back in the 50's, a US Senator, Joe McCarthy started witch hunts to root out communists in America. Unfortunately, his tactics and total disregard for truth and personal freedom were finally called out by newsman Edward R. Murrow. It was the beginning of his end – just as Limbaugh's end is beginning to happen.

    I've listened to Limbaugh whine and cry for the last year and a half now about the failings of conservative leadership. He has missed the point. His little conservative movement thing has fallen in around him. It was NEVER a majority of the American people.

    It was based on a small coalition of right wingers left over from the Reagan years, coupled with a bunch of religious fanatics, coupled with Gen Xers totally absorbed in their own self interest.

    Limbaugh was created by conservative fumdraiser Roger Ailes to extract money from these people. Don't kid yourself, ditto-heads, Limbaugh doesn't say anything on his show that isn't approved first by Ailes and Company. And he knows that if you'd stop and think for yourselves, you'd soon see through the tactics, lies and trickery being usedd on you.

    And what tactics has Limbaugh used? First you label people. That de-humanizes them. Then you can ridicule them. Then you can discount their views and opinions. Then you can demonize them. Then you twist the facts to suit your cause. Then you start gathering your followers and do their thinking for them.

    Guess what ditto-heads, Rush's line about "tieing half his brain behind his back just to be fair" isn't a slam at Liberals – it's because he knows that you're the kind of half wits too lazy to think for yourselves. And he runs to the bank with your money.

    Truth is, the conservatives couldn't come up with a candidate in 2008,and won't in the future. The American people don't want to be preached to, don't want to belittled and ridiculed, and don't want some know-it-all doing their thinking for them. (In fact, if you worked with someone like Limbaugh, you would have tossed is arrogant butt out the window long ago!)

    Truth is, America wants what it voted for – fair and decent leadership that respects our opinions, will listen and understands that we are a community of Americans who need to rely on one another, and that appeals to our better nature.

    Limbaugh and the conservative movement never has and never will. So, America, let's not use Limbaugh's tactic and call him names – let's just let him talk to his increasingly shrinking audience. Once they start thinking for themselves, they will be the ones who shut Limbaugh down.

    January 28, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  17. Patrick

    For Real: That's a good point. I despise Franken but at least he ran for something and is actively going to work towards the things he talks about. Hannity and Limbaugh hide behind their microphones.

    January 28, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  18. Left Coast Mike, Laguna Niguel, CA

    What a gutless coward this guy is, like most ultra-conservative phonies who have never lifted one of their fat little digits to help this country. If this guy had some moral courage, he would tell that fat little man behind the mic and his equally block-headed comrade at Fox that they represent what so-called neo-conservatives have become - totally irrelevant. Take the time to work in the best interest of your constituents, Sir. That is what they pay you for .... not to kiss up to pillow-bellied Rush and the old has-been club at Fox News.

    January 28, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  19. Jeff

    Gingrey has no guts!!!!

    January 28, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  20. Motov8n

    I always wondered what is an "Evangelical Christian"? When the ice melts all 3 of you will be coming out of the closet soon, along with your "Conservative Christian" leader Ted Haggard. You guys are not even Kool Aid, you're Colored water!!

    January 28, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  21. KenM

    Come on now.....Let's hear from all of you that were so, so very concerned about Rush's free speech in connection with the DCCC petition. Anybody concerned about this Representative's free speech? Any of you concerned that he feels the need to apologize when he speaks his mind, concerned that he feels he must go strictly by what Limbaugh and Hanity say? Looks like the people of his district voted for a puppet, a limp-wristed errand boy for the rightwing entertainment industry. Boy the stench of hypocrisy hanging over the rightwing of this country is putrid!

    January 28, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  22. K. Rogers

    I smell a pack full of rats. All this Limbaugh media. If you go on to adn.com you will see that at the federal election commission Sara Palin is registered as a candiate for President in 2012 and that is one reason for her Pac. When are you people going to wake up. what type of politicans are we giving support. I am afraid for my grandchildren. When you check the first paragraph at adn.com you click on to a site.where she is listed as a candiate in 2012. In the next paragraph when she talked to reporters for eight minutes, she denied running for pres. This whole bunch is full of lies

    January 28, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  23. Brett - Milwaukee

    And this...is why Republicans are a dying breed. Rush, what are you gonna do when half of your listeners die in the next 5 years?

    January 28, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  24. Glennis

    As a Republican, I'm happy to go on record as saying I can't stand Rush Limbaugh. I happen to find him obnoxious and irritating. While I know there are some who think his word is gospel, I think that most people who listen to him are intelligent enough to take it at face value. It's entertainment and his job is to stir the pot. You're not hearing from the majority of conservatives; you're hearing from extreme partisans. The left has them as well. That said, he has as much right to a forum as anyone else. Irritating though he be, he is no more stridently partisan and aggravating than those on the opposing side. I don't like any of it. However, if you are going to say you guarantee free speech, then you must do just that. We're already seeing the absurd, the obscene, the violent, the racist and the sacriligious being defended as free speech. Limbaugh and company are every bit as entitled to that definition as is those things. It's setting off down a slippery slope when government starts making noises about stifling voices they don't want to hear.

    January 28, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  25. d. a. barrertt


    January 28, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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