RUSH: We’d like to welcome to the microphone Georgia congressman Phil Gingrey, who ended up being quoted yesterday by Jonathan Martin and somebody else at Politico.com. Congressman Gingrey asked to come on the program today to address that and we are happy to have him here. Congressman, welcome to the program, sir.
GINGREY: Rush, thank you so much. I thank you for the opportunity. Of course, it’s not exactly the way I wanted to come on, but I appreciate you giving me the opportunity. Mainly, I want to express to you and all your listeners my very sincere regret for those comments I made yesterday to Politico. Basically the intent of my words to them was to discuss the unique position of congressional Republicans and our leadership, particularly John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. I clearly ended up putting my foot in my mouth on some of those comments (laughs) and I just wanted to tell you, Rush, and — and all our conservative giants who help us so much to maintain our base and grow it and get back this majority that I regret those stupid comments.
RUSH: Well, look, I appreciate that. I have quite a lot of experience with people in the media, and believe me: They loved the little storm that they were able to create yesterday. And I thought this was one of the goals, when it was reported that the president told you guys not to listen to me last Friday at his White House meeting, I thought one of the objectives was to have some of the Republican conference, or caucus, come out and denounce me as well because he would like to co-opt you guys as on his team and distance you from conservatism, and so would the media. But it is what it is, and I’m glad that you called and I’ve read your explanation for this on the website. We all want to be on the same team here, Congressman.
RUSH: Our numbers are dwindling in Congress and there’s a reason for it, and we want to reverse on that, and —
GINGREY: Well, we’re down, as you say, Rush, we’re down to 178 in the House, and our House membership is looking more and more conservative, and we’re gonna work our tails off across the country trying to recruit additional Republicans that understand that, as you have so well said, that this economic bailout, rescue, stimulus package is nothing but growing the government. It is not growing private sector jobs. And our — and again, I was trying to defend John Boehner, who basically is leading — providing very good leadership on this issue. I can assure you, Rush, that on the House side, there will be very, very few Republicans voting for this.
RUSH: Look, I totally agree with you on that. I think a backbone is clearly visible here. And, look, I understand why you guys might be upset with me. I don’t have thin skin, and when I make the statement that it appears the president’s more concerned with me than he is with Mitch McConnell or John Boehner, I can understand how that would offend some people. But look at it this way. Look at me as taking the heat. Look at me as taking the fire, directing it away from you so that you guys can go stealthily and do what you’re doing here in building an opposition to this. I want to ask you a political question about the vote.
RUSH: I know that you don’t know how it’s all going to end up. But what is your thought? Let’s say not one Republican votes for this. See, I happen to think… It’s a leading question. I happen to think that would be perfect for the future and your reelection efforts. What’s your thought on that?
GINGREY: Rush, I agree with you completely. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen because, as you know, on the Senate side there are some rather moderate-leaning Senate Republicans —
RUSH: Oh, but I meant in the House.
GINGREY: — up for election in 2010, and you know their names and there are few in the House and they’re going to tend to go along with this, but it’s going to be a very, very small percentage. But I agree with you. It would be the best possible message for this country for every single Republican to vote against this.
RUSH: The way I look at this — by the way, we’re talking to Congressman Phil Gingrey from the 11th district in Georgia. I look at Obama presenting this as the end-all to all of our problems. This is gonna magically create jobs, magically reignite prosperity. It’s gonna eliminate all the bad memories that we had from the Bush years. If it’s that wonderful, if it’s that magical, why even care whether you have Republican votes? Why not have all Democrats? Because he doesn’t need one vote from you guys to pass this. He’s got enough votes in the House to get it done himself. Why not let the Democrats take all the credit for this magic?
GINGREY: Oh, because he wants — if it — if it fails, and I expect that he will, he wants to say that, well, hey, the Republicans voted for it, too, you know, it’s not just me.’
GINGREY: Don’t blame the Democrats. This was a bipartisan bill.
GINGREY: He wants cover.
RUSH: Exactly right. Well, you have… I know you hear from your constituents, but sometimes the Beltway can be a lonely place. You can end up being isolated up there, and I’d just like for you to know on behalf of at least the people I can speak for, most of my audience, that they have extremely high hopes, expectations or what have you that you guys can hold firm and represent an alternative ideological approach to what President Obama’s trying to do because, you know, we keep hearing about how the American people are scared — and they should be. Even Obama has said, if this thing passes, we’re going to have 10% unemployment even if he gets this. There’s a war on prosperity. People’s lives are at stake. They’re losing their jobs. Some of them didn’t vote for him, Congressman, and they don’t think his plan is the way to get this done. They think what you believe is their ultimate hope and the ultimate way that they’re going to be able to rebuild their lives and get their 401(k)s back up. There are a lot of people invested in you guys.
GINGREY: Well, Rush, congressional Republicans and our leadership need you and other conservative giants to galvanize the millions of Americans who don’t live in Washington. They may not even live in Republican districts. Maybe they’re in Democratic districts. But we’ve gotta have your support, and of course I know you reach millions of people across the country. I’m telling you, I heard from quite a few of them (laughs) since my foot-and-mouth disease yesterday, and I just thank you so much for what you’re doing, and we’re with you 100% — and we know that you’re with us a hundred percent, more importantly.
RUSH: Congressman Phil Gingrey, Georgia. Thank you so much for calling, sir. It’s great to have you here.
GINGREY: Thanks, Rush.
RUSH: You bet.