Michael S. Steele
The critique, Saturday: "Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Rush Limbaugh, his -- his -- his whole thing is entertainment. Yes, it's incendiary. Yes, it's ugly," Steele told D.L. Hughley on CNN.
Limbaugh's reaction, Monday: "You know who needs a little leadership? Michael Steele and those at the RNC. . . . I hope the RNC chairman will realize he's not a talking-head pundit, that he is supposed to be working on the grass roots and rebuilding it and maybe doing something about our open primary system and fixing it so that Democrats don't nominate our candidates. It's time, Mr. Steele, for you to go behind the scenes and start doing the work that you were elected to do instead of trying to be some talking-head media star, which you're having a tough time pulling off."
The walk-back, Monday: "My intent was not to go after Rush -- I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh," Steele told Politico. "I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. . . . There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership."
Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.)
The critique, Jan. 27: "It's easy if you're Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks. You don't have to try to do what's best for your people and your party. You know you're just on these talk shows and you're living well, and plus you stir up a bit of controversy and gin the base and that sort of thing. But when it comes to true leadership -- not that these people couldn't be or wouldn't be good leaders -- they're not in that position of John Boehner or Mitch McConnell," Gingrey told Politico.
The apology, Part 1, Jan. 28: "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. "Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Newt Gingrich, and other conservative giants are the voices of the conservative movement's conscience. Everyday, millions and millions of Americans -- myself included -- turn on their radios and televisions to listen to what they have to say, and we are inspired by their words and by their determination."
The apology, Part 2, Jan. 28: "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. . . . I clearly ended up putting my foot in my mouth on some of those comments and I just wanted to tell you, Rush . . . that I regret those stupid comments," Gingrey said in a call to Limbaugh's radio show.
-- Garance Franke-Ruta