(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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We shouldn't just call for a boycott of this pig, but his firing! Why does he still have his job when a sports writer was fired for his racist headline. Seems to me it shows the lack of value placed on women continues. This thug needs to go and NOW!
Who does Rush think he is? Bill Maher?
Honestly, some people should be ashamed, in particular Truth and Nothing But the Truth.
As PT Barnum said, you can fool some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time. Rush is the Jerry Springer of politics radio. Get the mud flying, and people listen to see what will happen next. Some people believe everything Rush says is true. Of course, these same people probably believe wrestling on TV is real, too.
Somehow, I don't think Abe Lincoln would approve of any of this.
Rush, you need help. Just take an oxycodone and stick it between your ears..
So sensitive until the left opens their mouth..then the media turns their heads. Lol..glad I don't live their lives
Rush Limbaugh is a sub-human pig who represents the Republican neo-conservatives. The Republicans have an incredible strategy – they have insulted , damaged and alienated all of the middle-class, the working poor, the blacks, the Latinos, and now all the women – only rich old prejudiced white men will vote for them. This November should see a Democratic sweep for the presidency, the Senate and the House, and they did it to themselves through arrogance, prejudice and stupidity. I am an Ex-Republican, and am ashamed of how low the party has fallen, below even human decency.
Didn't Imus from Imus in the morning got fired for calling the Rutgers women's basketball team "some nappy headed ho's"???
I don't see a difference here...Someone should take this SOB to court for defamation!!!!
Boehner needs to be a little braver and ream this guy out. The governing body for broadcasting also needs to step up and punish this Limpbaugh jerk. Then Rush will have a chance to read about what "The Pill" is used for in addition to birth control. Slander is not an acceptable thing in a democracy. Perhaps it is all those drugs dancing in his head that make him such a jerk. .
Why were we forced to pay for Rush's drug rehab and his viagra?
Limbaugh is a sloppy pig who uses hatred as a means to his fortune. He is like the school bully who says and does things to belittle others for his own amusement. The fact that their are people that still listen to his trash proves one point. Bullies are still alive and well in the U S A. Shame on us. Ignore this pig and let him roll in his own bile.
and how about the word "FemiNazi!?" what a PIG!
M O R O N A L E R T !!!
Reading is your friend.
Try reading before posting garbage.
I agree with Rush. This woman should be ashamed that she's asking the government to subsidize her promiscuity. Let's call a Spade a Spade.
Larda$$is just upset because he is so fat he hasn't seen mr. johnson in many moons. This is beyond inappropriate, but just puts another nail in the uber conservative coffin. I'm sure he has no problem with any insurance paying for viagra,which I'm sure he needs all the time. He's the guy who can't get a "date" witout rohypnol, check his hard drive for anything illegal.
You can tell Limbaugh has no children: if he had a daughter, he never would have said that.
Obama has already apologized, just like he does to Afgan when they kill our soldiers..ridiculous little man and girl
"Looney Left," ....very funny,,,and it fits! Especially reading what the left says that people not on the left think and feel, along with their hypocrisy in demeaning people not on the left for doing something the left has already done. Wonderful and entertaining reading.
Rush is like the school yard kid who like to start fights between two people and then sit back and watch. He has no respect for no body or no thing except money. He'd sale his mother for two bits. Amazing that he is still on the air and being paid the ungodly amounts of money his employer gives him. Shame on all the radio stations around the country that continues to allow this PIG to spit his venom. Racist, angry white man who wanted President Obama to fail.
He's like a petulant child. Saying outrageous things to get anyone's attention.
Free speech is hard to take sometimes, but it's what makes American great. However, if that young girl was my daughter, I'd sue him for slander so fast his fat head would spin.
I believe she attends on scholarships. Are the women that have s*x with you and use BC promiscuous too?
Rush must have been referring to his wife. Because she only married him for the pay.
I can't imagine how bad one's life is to take moral advice from an obese drug addict.
Inappropriate? Rush is a disgusting human being and the speakers response to this hate speech is inappropriate. I guess he does not want to offend any of his other disgusting supporters.
Rush is one of the most vile, disgusting human beings to have ever walked the planet. A moron of unspeakable depths–who the heck is he to call another human being anything? He should look in the mirror and then in his own closet for skeletons...