(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 Dem's got my money too. Limbaugh you live in a glass house – don't throw stones.
"Remember the book, Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot. Enough said..."
Yes, I remember it, and it is an accurate portrayal of the most un-American person in this country, so what's the problem? Rush is a drug abusing, close-minded, intolerant idiot whose audience is exactly like him.
The drugster is a complete idiot who pounces on any statement to promote himself. My thought on this is, "why repeat his trash?"
@Taran:"To me, PPH with their abortion support, and this making insurance companies provide contraceptives (except for legitimate medical reasons) only encourages promiscuity. And what do you call girls that are promiscuous?(sp), the word Rush used. At least that is what we called them my whole life."
So, if I understand you correctly, you feel our society would be better off without PPH providing the services it does because it encourages promiscuity amongst women? What about us males? Do we not have a responsibility to control ourselves? Congratulations, you just placed your reasoning on the same level as the Taliban with regards to women.I guess you must read " The Scarlet Letter" for fun. Where does that put Rush on your social scale? Al Queda?
What does make all the men who get vasectomies and ED treatment through their health insurance?
@ Taran... are you assuming married couples never use contraceptives?
You do know that women take the same number of contraceptive pills a day (one) whether they have one or multiple partners, right?
Who are you to ask why this young lady takes contraceptives (or even if she does)? First post your entire medical history for all to judge, and then maybe talk about judging other people.
No man wants to hear about my heavy and painful periods because they find periods gross, so I don't talk about them, I take a pill instead.
If only there was a single concise word for Ignorant, Draft Dodging, Thrice divorced, Drug addict – it would make life so much easier
The bigger problem here is that people are taking Rush Limbaugh seriously. The man is a oxycontin taking highly paid radio host who had Elton John perform at his forth wedding. Not that there is anything wrong with Elton John, but illustrates the hypocrisy that is Rush Limbaugh.
Saying anything constructive to a loser like Rush is futile. It says it all that any package mailed to his home has to be bomb-checked. What a way to live. General Ann Romney might try doing it–she puts Mitt in line fast enough.
Its super to watch the cheap, self-serving hypocrisy of the so called "republican" women leaders, as they scurry back and forth, trying to keep their jobs while abandoning millions of women all over America.
Core republican values at work.
The slobbering drunk on the next bar stool last night had a few opinions, too. I give them about as much credence as I do those of Limbaugh & fellow travelers.
One of Rush's advertisers dropped him. Let's see if we can get more to do the same.
He's nothing but a hate-monger, and that's NOT what ths country needs.
Our talk show hosts are no better than "mullahs" of the Islamic countries and we will bash them for weeks together if you get a chance !
I can't believe people still listen to Rush ! All he does is shoot crap from his mouth, like he knows something. He doesn't. He is an idiot.
When Boehner has to be asked to address sleazy Rush, you know the GOP is totally embarrassed (as they should be). I don't know of any woman that could want any amount of luxury to be married to that animal.
Limbaugh fails as a man and as a citizen. Does anybody with more than an 8th grade education actually take his baseless rantings seriously? Actually, let's make that anybody with more than a 6th grade education.
Here is a hammer and chisle.
Keep chipping away republicans,
till you have destroyed your party.
Lets see, at last count you have alienated:
Have i left anybody out ?
One of his sponsers already pulled out and others are complaining loudly. Hopefully he'll keep ranting and raving himself off the airwaves.
I see how this story fits into the liberal slant that CNN covers so well.
My question is, where are the stories about the vulgar things that were said (yesterday) about Andrew Breibart by the ultra-liberal Matt Taibbi from Rolling Stone?? Crickets...
Call me crazy, but if a well-known liberal blogger were to suddenly die at a young age, and if Rush were to say "Good, I couldn't be happier that he's dead", (among other less printable things), it would be headline news (in the case of CNN, it would be a centerfold). People see through your bias, CNN. That's why we don't trust you.
Inappropriate!!??? Inappropriate!! Is that the best you can do Boehner??? Wow. Are you guys in for a shock next election!!!
I am really trying...but I can not believe there are actually "people" who support Limbaugh on this. He is attacking a young lady for not agreeing with his beliefs in a very unprofessional and demeaning way. Freedom of speech comes is not at question here...he is free to make statments, but he also must face the consequences of those statements including slander and his job. We as a society should ban together and help get people like Limbaugh (pill popping idiot) off the air...BOYCOTT HIS SPONSORS: Quicken Loans, Centruy 21 Real Estate, ProFlowers, eharmony, CARBONITE, Sleep Number Bed, Autozone, LegalZoom, Oreck Upright Vacuum Cleaners, Citrix Online, American Forces Network, Mission Pharmacal Company (Hmmm...interesting), Life Quotes, Inc...ALso, Clear Channel Radio for hosting his show.
Please, Rush is nothing but a talk show host, not even a newsman. Obama, Pelosi, Reid and Co. have worse to say about Republicans and Tea Partiers All the Time and they are supposed to be working for all citizens of the US not just their party and the ones they like!
His comments were inappropriate. But Obama passed ObamaCare. Why isn't she on her parents insurance? If Obama can mandate everyone buy his ObamaCare, why can't he mandate that all college women at Georgetown buy contraceptives? Where are these three thousand cheap skates who won't even buy a condom when given the opportunity to sleep with Fluke and her friends? Couldn't they at least pay half the cost of a condom? Why didn't Fluke call the Washington DC health department. She could have gotten all the contraceptives she wanted for free. But we all know the truth. This whole farce isn't even about contraception. It's a veiled attempt by Obama and his buddies in the main stream media to gin up a converstion about contraception to mask the real agenda is to get FREE ABORTIONS. So we can stop with all the phony outrage.
Bain pays Rush's salary–no wonder Ann Romney, making a fool out of herself in complaining at Fox and Friends against Bill Clinton's correct observation about Mitt's father didn't say a word about that radio dirt bag.
Gosh, That's not the only stupid thing Limpjaw ever said. She should sue the bum.
Rush has proven himself a complete ignorant fat jerk.