(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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I cannot fathom how this IDIOT still has so many followers that watch his bullying tactics , ridiculous comments and child like temper tantrums. What a MORON !
Rush Limbaugh, despite his millions, is nothing but a classless moron! And my opinion of Boehner isn't much higher. He should have spoken out himself against Limbaugh rather than sending his "mouthpiece" to do it. What a weasel! At least it explains why congress has such a low approval rating – when they're forced to make an apology for something, they have to bring up the fact that "those who launched fundraising efforts" were in the wrong as well! Not so. I immediately, after reading this article, sat down and sent checks to President Obama and Tim Kaine. Republicans can't see the forests for the trees and I can hardly wait to celebrate a Democratic victory in November. I assure you, with the 4 clowns that are still in the running for the republican nomination, there's not a chance for any other outcome!
What do expect from a hillbilly heroin addict? He's too high to be taken seriously,but the GOBP wingnuts hang on every word that he spews.
For those calling for a lawsuit you should think about something. It is not slander if it is the truth. And unless she is taking the pills for medical reasons and is not married and not wanting children right away, then Rush spoke the truth and their is no lawsuit.
The silence from the GOP side is deafening. It tells more of the story than anything else.
"This is really not about contraception, a private matter," Maldonado said. "Liberals are confusing the issue."
Actually, this is about women's rights. Conservatives are pursuing this under the pretext of religious freedom, just as they opposed civil rights on the grounds of states rights. Nice try but no one is fooled.
"inappropriate to raise money on the situation?" You guys are delusional! And, Doug who posted at 2:08 today - give it a rest, buddy - if this is expressive of your values, you are living in the wrong country –
Would someone please put a condom over Rush Limbaugh so that we can protect the world from this idiot procreating and spewing his chauvinistic ideals??!!!!!
Rush Limbaugh may have misogynistic anger management issues and a member.....ship in the Mike -and-Ike Club.
Rick Santorum may have anger management issues because he foolowed all the rules yet his wife has a past.
These are not problems the general population of the U.S. needs to hear about.
Keep it to yourselves!
"Stacie Ricci – A few givens: Fluke is promiscuous. Fluke wants someone else to take responsibility for her promiscuity. Fluke could have gone to a university that provides free contraceptives to its promiscuous students. She CHOSE to go to a Catholic college. Any questions?"
Yes, did you deliberately set out to be wrong about everything? I ask because Fluke never said anything about it being for her, she used an example of a friend who needed the pill to deal with ovarian cysts, but never mind hey?
"Doug – If you become a public figure then be ready for nasty hateful comments.Lib lib agrees when it comes to Joe the plummer, almost every dem talking about wanting him and his family harmed, now that the lib is getting back one one billionith what Joe got they scream foul."
Interesting, so what Liberal shock jock went on the air and publically called for Joe the plumber and his family to be harmed?
Women need to come together and call for Rush to be fired. Call the show sponsers and boycott there products.
I'm glad they're rasing money on this - we need more women to speak out about discriminatory injustices toward women in this country before the repub-Taliban (baggers) put everyone in Burkas and keep them pregnant to provide fighters for their wars. I'll give. How about you?
The issue is not about access to contraception......open access is very prevalent. The issue is that she wants someone else to be forced to pay for her choice of contraception. She found a way to be a law student....great. Now, if she wants to use contraception, let her find a way to pay for it. Obviously there are other ways that she spends her money that are of a higher priority to her than paying for her own contraception.
Boehner is in trouble. He has taken on the leader of the Republican Party.
It is all over the web that Limbaugh likes little boys.
He can't keep a wife.
Limbaugh is a woman hater and anything is says about any woman is totally meaningless.
Too bad somebody didn't provide Rush's mother with contraception.
The way to erase the loud mouhted Limbaugh is to boycott his sponsor's products and let them know thru letters and the internet why their products will no longer be puchased.Then let the local station that broadcasts his show know you will no longer support them or their sponsors either. It's amazing how much the loss of revenue will do to bring civility to the airwaves.
So sad that people who are willing to share their stories with congress are attacked so viciously by those who disagree with their stance on issues. I am very disappointed with women who will not stand up for other women who are being attacked for their viewpoint. they look like sheep following men who do not care about them.
This is what Republicans think of women. Rush is a leader of their party, and they were silent for days, as was CNN. Anyone else would ahve been removed from the airways, but not Rush because he is saying what all republicans think.
What do you expect from a man with multiple divorces, he is not a ladies man.
Rush. is an ignorat idiot . He just call his mother a slot.
Why don't we deny the right of insurance payments for Viagra and similar medications? Boy would that permiscuous moron change his tune? Why is it men who bounce from bed to bed are admired by other men, but women with the same habits are called crass names?
Gee, do the Repugs NEVER go out fund-raising based on any misstep the Dems make?
And why is every Repug apparently terrified of reprimanding the White Buddah Boy? Does he have them all by the short hairs?
Someone asked "who listens to this bozo.?" Sadly...angry, misinformed people like Stacie Ricci who posted earlier on this site..who let bozos like Limbaugh tell them how to think. Sandra Fluke speaks as a law student representing the rights of women. Thank you, Sandra,and thank you John DeGioia, the President of Georgetown University, for acting in an ethical manner and defending Sandra's right to speak. My only question is why we are not hearing from every woman in Congress defending the honor of the courageous and committed Miss Fluke. What a sad commentary on our country this is!
Mr. speaker, please save your time for better use. Rush is just a drug-abusing-overweight-uneducated white trash.