(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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@Tom Paine, I happen to feel the same way about males that are so promiscuous. In fact my son did not like it when one day I overheard him talking to his buddies about going out just to find a one night stand. I called him the same word Rush used. He got all offended, until I asked him what he calls a girl that is so "easy." He said the word, and I asked him what is the difference between him and her. That got him thinking.
Interesting how Republican women refuse to take on Rush Limbaugh. These are supposed to be some of the strongest women in America, yet they turn tail (won't discuss the matter) when up against that pompous windbag.
Just goes to show you that Republicans don't stand up for women, they cower and hide and cover it all up by calling it "religious persecution".
I still don't understand how you can be an intelligent woman and call yourself a Republican.
"Rae Chornenky, president of the National Federation of Republican Women, told CNN the controversy has become "a sideshow, turning attention from the main issue."
Sorry dear, it's your entire conservative party that is the sideshow! That includes Rush and Beck and all the other bloated talking heads that conservative media professes are "conservative leaders"....if these people are who are leading this so-called "conservative movement" it's no wonder I find conservatism to be a dangerous and delusional ideology.
Where were all of you when Pelosi was calling people Un-American. She was speaker of the House. Rush is nothing but a shock jock. Who cares what he says. It used to be a free country.
What a circus. From the congress dog and pony show to serve there own purposes..............to the fantasy extrapulation that rights are being violated. If you want your contraception.....go buy it. This isn't even good entertainment. Understand that the media makes its money by stirring stuff up. It doesn't have to be true....it just has to improve ratings. What a joke, waste of time and waste of money. And oh...by the way...the cost of affordable Obamacare just went up another $111 Billion.....no cause for alarm, no higher costs are forecasted. Why would they forcast more higher costs.....they did not want you to know about this $111 Billion.
@christine,,,,typical liberal, try learning to read with comprehension. Your response to me mad absolutely no sense.
This is the GOP. Wake up, America.
Bet limbaugh needs viagra
I find it interesting that not one of the Republican women referenced in the article would have the courage to hold Limbaugh accountable for his disgusting remarks. Further proof, that Republicans lack the political and moral courage to hold their own to the same standard they demand of everyone else. But, it is the liberal media that is detroying this country. How many little Republicans have just learned that it is ok to hurl insults when you don't have an intelligent retort to an opposing view?
Why does someone not look into Rush's personal life, I bet you can run a radio show out of it while showing him what he really is.
Get after this idiot and he will make a mistake to end up in a prison. He is close to doing it but not dares to try this idiot head on !
It is high time sane people stop overlooking people like these who are abusing all the rights for all the wrong reasons !
BOYCOTT ALL RUSH'S SPONSORS ! I AM NOT BUYING ANYTHING FROM THEM FOR SURE !
Rush is my hero! :)
He is an idiot! It not ok for women to get birthcontrol, but men can get viagra under medi-care plan D. None of that makes any sense. If I remember right he took or still needs to take that little blue pill.
"Can anyone explain WHY we should pay for someone else's health care period?" We covered this in 5th grade, I think. If everyone gives a penny and we pool the money, it's billions of dollars. Most people aren't sick or injured, so only a small number will need that penny's worth or more. Same as the penny you pay for paved roads or the penny you pay for police protection or the penny you paid for schools. It's a trick called "Civilization" that we learned thousands of years ago. That way your kid doesn't die of gangrene while you save up for the broken leg, you don't shove a gun in some doctor's face, and everybody's happy.
I wonder what Rush was like in Junior High. Oh yeah, that's right... exactly the same as he is now.
@MalcmXcrement: The difference is that the Breibart thing did not involve (current) congressional panel proceedings or the Speaker of the House commenting on the situation. Breibart and the Rolling Stone guy rightfully fall lower on the news scale than comments by the Speaker or proceedings in a congressional panel. Duh.
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.
The weeper looks like he has been drinking in the picture.
Did anyone expect anything less from Rush? Anyone?
A simple concise word would be knuckle dragger. Since Rush is into name calling, how about draft dodger, drug addict, drop out. Oh. All true. And pathetic that the Republican party does not have the guts to stand up and condemn this huckster for what he his. The Republicans have become the party of knuckledraggers.
Limbaugh is absolute garbage..why would anybody waste their time listening to him. all he does is spew self promoting hatred towards others.. he is a pathetic slug that should be squashed.... period
Dance This Mess Around,
only people left are like Rush and they think they made this country great ! What a shame !!
Any one who Rush promotes for this election should not get any vote but theirs ! This will really show how many of these really are !
If they are less I would say we are lucky else we are doomed !
I understand that many (if not most?) Republican voters don't agree with everything Rush says, but the way the Republicans in congress placate to this guy is unbelievable. If they had any brains they'd distance themselves heavily from Limbaugh. He only hurts their cause and misrepresents the "average" Republican's ideals.
@ MalcmXcrement: Your screen name says it all. Andrew Breitbart made the lives of liberals like Shirley Sherrod a living hell . He desecrated the name of Senator Kennedy (RIP) who had just passed away. I showed about 10 minutes of sympathy before I found out that while he believes what he says, he was actually a very nice person in real life. I found this out on Lawrence O'Donnell. Mr. O'Donnell had a panel on to discuss Mr. Breitbart's passing. They stated that Mr. Breitbart and Shirley reconciled and actually became friends. My sorrow ended there. His whole purpose was to get ratings, bend the truth, use debunked facts to backup all arguments and furthermore see how far he could go w/out getting into trouble. He was a two-faced jerk, nothing more, nothing less. The world is a better place w/out this guy spewing his venomous bile. The same will be said for Rush Limbaugh when he meets his timely demise.
Don Imus from CBS was fired over his racial slurs in 2009. Rush Limbaugh should be as well his lack of respect to any woman the terms he used is equally as insulting. I am finding this so hard to beleive that we still argu these issues what year are we in 1950?
Limbaugh is a bully, plain and simple. He's inarticulate and has to stoop to bullying to make his point. And it's the Republicans who gain from his words that provide him with his power base. Whatever comes out of his mouth should be attributed directly to every Republican who does not openly condemn it. This is not about Liberals "confusing the issue" as Moldonado suggests, but rather a matter of descent behavior in public... which Republicans do not seem to value.
How are "taxpayers" paying for insurance companies to provide contraceptives? Does that idiot Rush even understand the system? The way insurance works is everyone pays into it, and people use it for various reasons. Maybe some need it for birth control. Others need it for the *MASSIVE* costs of having babies and children. Some use it to help with cancer. It costs far far less to provide birth control than to pay for the costs of having a baby. Also..many women use drugs that are considered contraceptives to fight other diseases. They help fight cysts and cancerous growths and cells. These Repugnicant's make me sick, personally. Turning women's health issues into a religious and political ploy. More treasonous actions by that party.