(CNN) – A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner on Friday said the top Republican condemns a controversial comment made by conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh but also disagrees with those who launched fundraising efforts over the remark.
"The speaker obviously believes the use of those words was inappropriate, as is trying to raise money off the situation," Michael Steel, Boehner's spokesman, told CNN.
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His response comes after House Democrats called on Boehner to repudiate Limbaugh's remark, in which the talk show host called a young woman who appeared before a congressional panel a 'slut' and a 'prostitute.'
The woman, Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke, testified in the House last week, advocating for women to have access to contraceptives.
On Wednesday, the radio host disparaged Fluke, saying the law student wants '"taxpayers to pay her to have sex."
"What does it say about the college co-ed [Sandra] Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says she must be paid to have sex?" Limbaugh asked. "What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex."
House Democrats, led by New York Rep. Louise Slaughter, had rallied Thursday in response to Limbaugh's remarks and sent a letter to Boehner urging him to condemn the comments. As of Friday afternoon, the letter had 80 signatures.
Democrats, however, pointed out that the House's Republican campaign arm also fundraised–not off Limbaugh, but off the issue of "religious liberty" surrounding the recent contraception controversy.
On her part, Fluke said in an interview with CNN that she felt "upset and outraged" when she first read online that Limbaugh had personally attacked her.
"I felt probably the way many women do when they are called those types of names," Fluke said. "Initially hurt and then very quickly upset and outraged because somebody is trying to silence you."
On Friday, President Barack Obama called Fluke to offer his support to the law student, according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
"The president was expressing his support for her and his disappointment in the kind of attacks that have been leveled at her and to her and his appreciation for her willingness to stand tall and express her opinion," Carney said at the White House press briefing.
Also coming to her defense, Georgetown's president John J. DeGioia described Limbaugh's behavior as "misogynistic, vitriolic and a misrepresentation" of Fluke's position at the Congressional hearing.
"She was respectful, sincere, and spoke with conviction," DeGioia said in a statement. "This expression of conscience was in the tradition of the deepest values we share as a people. One need not agree with her substantive position to support her right to respectful free expression."
Georgetown is a Jesuit university that does not cover contraceptives in its health insurance plans.
Republican presidential candidate and devout Catholic Rick Santorum criticized Limbaugh on Friday, calling the talk show host's comments "absurd."
"He's being absurd, but that's you know, an entertainer can be absurd," Santorum told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Friday. "He's in a very different business than I am."
On the campaign trail, Mitt Romney initially walked by without comment when asked about the controversy by CNN at a campaign event in Washington state. He briefly addressed the issue with reporters at an event later on Friday, saying the words were “not the language I would have used.”
Another high profile Republican, Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, also faulted Limbaugh over his use of words.
"Rush Limbaugh's comments are reprehensible," Brown, who's up for re-election this year, tweeted on Friday. "He should apologize."
Some Republican groups, meanwhile, have also responded to Limbaugh's comments.
Rae Chornenky, president of the National Federation of Republican Women, told CNN the controversy has become "a sideshow, turning attention from the main issue."
Asked if she would repudiate the talk show host's remarks, Chornenky said: "I don't want to discuss that. We are working hard on keeping our Constitutional rights protected."
Frances Rice, chairwoman of the National Black Republican Association, also declined to comment directly on Limbaugh when contacted by CNN.
The chairwoman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, Alci Maldonado, argued the issue was about freedom of religion from government interference.
"This is really not about contraception, a private matter," Maldonado said. "Liberals are confusing the issue."
CNN also contacted the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, but did not receive a response.
– CNN's Dana Bash, Deirdre Walsh, Paul Courson and Ashley Killough contributed to this report.
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What family values or Christian values do these Republicans reflect? Who really believes that they are Pro-Life? Wake up, America
Another example of why Boehner is the only true invertabrate in history to be Speaker. What a useless, pathetic response from a useless, pathetic leader. Limbaugh is an " entertainer", to coin his pet phrase, a " harmless little fuzzball": either the GOP aknowledges what the rest of us know to be true, that he runs tha damn thing, or put his sorry, drug-addicted, thrice married a$$ in its proper place, which id outside of the discussion when adults are in the room. Grow up, GOP: with any luck, he'll follow his pal Breitbart and do us all a favor.
Too bad Rush wasn't the conservative radio host that just died......please God take him next!!!
Of course, if you listen to his entire show he made a real good point: why don't they guys she was with pay for the birth control instead of requiring the insurance company to pay for it (which means the rest of us pay for it)?
This is the sort of excuse for a human being many conservatives are now supporting with a near-religious fervor. So many that Clear Channel is paying him $400 million over 8 years. Says more about them than Rush.
And Romney wants to give this guy another tax break. Ironic, since he's alienating independent and moderate voters faster than republicans can woo them. The guy is even stupider than I thought.
It was decent of Speaker Boehner to denounce Rush's hateful statement, he should try doing the right thing more often, it might grow on him.
I can't believe nobody seems to have a problem with the gall of a student demanding someone subsidize her promiscuity.
Rush has done more to destroy this country than anyone, even Murdoch and Cheney. Pure poison.
Just curious - how does he view insurance companies covering the cost of Viagra for men?
I believe that physical violence would be a proper, fair, just and appropriate form of retaliation against Mr. Limbaugh for offering such a profoundly insulting and feral remark about to the witness before the committee.
I don't care what your party is if your defending rush in this fight, I think you need to take a long hard look in the mirror at yourself.
The problem is not Rush. He just says things he knows are crazy and doesnt even believe half of what he says and then cashes the checks as a result. The problem is his listeners who cannot see through this and take him at gospel word. This comment? Rush hasnt been in the news for awhile and he wanted his name out there, so here we go. It was so absurd there is no way it could have been serious.
Why do you have to pay for someone else's birth control? Why do I have to pay for Bush's Iraq invasion? Sometimes we gotta pay for things we don't believe in. That's how it goes.
The six year old moron is back.
Truth and Nothing But the Truth
Enough John! Stop letting the looney left make you dance to their stupid tune
What do you yourom expect from a druged out liar like Limbaugh
CNN missed the most offensive part. He stated that since they are (in his sick mind) being paid to have s*x, they need to provide something in return. He suggested they post videos of the s*x act online. It does not matter what your politics are, this is indefensible.
How does this pervert figure he's paying for people's contraception? Isn't Viagara covered by insurance? Do these morons know many women use contraception for medical reasons beyond birth control? The GOP is seriously deranged. The good news is Democrats are uniting against this disgusting War on Women. Look out in 2012, GOPosaurs. You will lose.
I'm I the only one not to concerned with what a pill junkie says?
This idiot just says things for shock to keep attention to his dirty fat mouth. Anyone that listen to this fat blow hard needs to be examined. I am conservative but do have the sense to know this guy is an idiot.
Wonder what his young wife thinks about all of this
The Repugnican and tea party mouthpiece is really good at stating who he really is. It is clear to me he also speaks the same language as most repugnicans and tea party members, he is just more willing to say it in public.
You all are a disgusting group of Americans. So sad to have you have neighbors.
If his mother were alive, she'd pop him upside the head for this one. The guy never had kids so he has no idea how offensive this is to women and their parents. A real man would call him out on this and stand up for their wives and daughters, but no one on the right has the guts to take on the HEAD PIG of the Republican party. What a pitiful bunch of sheep.
Rusk knows the truth. Women are here to serve first. The top 1% rule and that the way it should be or your just living the american dream and should move.
Jason stated" Too bad Rush wasn't the conservative radio host that just died......please God take him next!!!
March 2, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
Wow, Jason you are very hateful evil person and a mindless hypocrite – typical liberal.
Rush is just like Jello, Did you every poke jello , try it you will understand what I mean. He is a shameful man. One thing for sure, ;he is the one who has to pay for s-x. I hope this young lady sues him and the radio station. I will help pay for it.