(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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The $5 one would pay at Walmart is the copay, which means the drug is covered. If it is not, the recipient pays the full amount.
Normally I don't agree with Rush, but the funny thing is, this time he's right. He just called it like it is. The only thing is he left out how the whole issue is about population control by the government, albeit with a little more subtlety than China is using.
Why in the hell does anyone give a hoot what Rush Limbaugh, a right wing gasbag has to say? Hate to say it, but he and his audience really don't mean much anymore. He is a classic Fox kinda guy, on cialis and oxycodone, bitter and off topic. He has not added to any debate. He is history.
Correct call on Boehner's part; people can quibble over the language but he did come down on the right side of the controversy.
Taking birth control out of the Universal Healthcare system would be a step backwards in time and logic, as surely as it would be to stop requiring owners of cars and trucks to stop carrying liability insurance. We would find ourselves paying for the healthcare of many un-wanted preganancies and putting many of their mother's on welfare. Also the abortion rates would sky-rocket, and I am not taling about just the safe abortions done in Drs. offices, the back-alley-abortion rates would ascend to the heavens as well as would the death rates during/after those unsterile and dangerous prcatices. Have a daughter, then think of her health and well being first, and worry about saving her soul latter...
Normally I don't agree with Rush, but the funny thing is, this time he's right. He just called it like it is. The only thing is, he left out how the whole issue is about population growth control, by the government, albeit with a little more subtlety than China is using.
I don't understand why anyone is surprised. Limbaugh has been irrelevant for a while, so he was due to say something shocking. His name is out there and he got all the free advertising he wanted.
If the shoe fits.....
You hit the nail on the head. Everything Rush says or does is all about Rush and ratings.
A shame that of the choices in the Palm Beach area, Davy Jones died and Limbaugh goes on...
CNN, if you are trying to have an open and fair debate on this subject, please stop pulling my posts every time I use the words 'condom', 'the pill', 'IUD', 'tubes tied'... Lets evolve past that form of P.C. sensorship, huh?
I really, really, don't understand why anybody listens to him! He really is not an intelligent man at all, and is paid to say whatever he wants, including just flat out lying if he doesn't have facts to back up his positions. Unfortunately there are so many people (men, right-wingers) who just take his word as the gospel without ever checking the facts. And even more unfortunate is the fact that they have made him filthy rich beyond what they'll earn in a lifetime.
That "Truth/nothing but the truth" dude is a troll. He gets off on seeing his word-cyphers on "the internets". He likes to say things in a way that get people angry, because he thinks it proves his genitals are bigger than troll-sized. Go back to your Schlitz, poor troll, your brain-bean has worked hard enough for today.
This woman is a law student at one of the finest schools in the nation. It really is time for you to change your screen name – how about ‘I Hate Everone’
This is coming from a junkie.
@roadwarrior: It's obvious from your comments that you didn't hear what Ms. Fluke was talking about at her appearance and only going by what Fox News and Limbaugh said. And I'm sure Ms. Fluke's parents ARE proud of her for her grace and poise. Such an assault on the poor Drugster by this Big Ole Scary Female. However, I find it difficul to believe Your parents would be proud of the things you're saying.
there is simply nothing in the republican party that is worthy of respect. the party of and for rich old white men has simply outlived its utility and all its adherents must be repudiated.
There must be a lawsuit in there. She should take him to the cleaners.
I hope Boehner and Limbaugh follow Briebart to the grave. They truly deserve it. One encourages the brutalization of Women while the other dismisses it by turning the tables of blame for anti-womanly behavior. We're not allowed to raise awareness and cash to fight this opression and evil behavior? This is not Republican values. This is Hate Values. Boehner just made a few more enemies today. I look forward to voting against my own party in November.
Ah Taran, excusing disgusting behavior by the Right, as usual. Disappointing.
@really – precisely why people should pay for their own healthcare; personal responsibility should help everyone make wiser lifestyle choices; taxpayers paying for others' healthcare only encourages irresponsibility.
I will admit to enjoying the destruction of the Republican party.
When i look at the comments from some of thier supporters
It blows my mind at the ignorance of the comments.
Its all about "them", and to heck with everybody else.
And then there are posters like "Truth the hole truth"
who runs around to any political story posting flat out lies
and bashing The President.
You cant talk with these people or even give them facts.
They are too far down the hate hole to care.
Republican party – 2012 – R.I.P.
What does it say about America that this man (Limbaugh) has such a large audience? I frankly find it not only astounding, but scary as hell. Makes me proud to be a Canadian.
Now Rush need to call Boehner what he represents, "druken speaker of the House, who belch constantly. It does not take a genious to figure out that Boeher is a drunk.
Truth and Nothing But the Truth
My health insurance is mine, not my employers. I earned it as part of my employment package in lieu of a full salary. If my employer does not want the insurance company that they contracted with to pay for my medical needs, then my employer can pay me in cash the portion of my salary that currently pays for my health coverage and I will purchase my own health insurance. Then there will be no issues concerning the employers religious beliefs and what medical insurance will cover and there will be nothing to apologize for or excuses for name calling. Problem solved.
YEAH! YEAH!! And you should IMMEDIATELY go to your employer and DEMAND this right NOW!! And then report back to us how you like it in the unemployment line. Honestly, what alternate universe are you from?!!
I work for the U.S. Government. This is not an issue for me and it shouldn't be an issue for ANY employee in this country. Employers should not be pushing THEIR religious beliefs on their employees and using health insurance to do it. It is a form of discrimination.