(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 heard that Rush Limbaugh got his start by selling himself behind a train station and that he still likes to go back to doing that from time to time.
After reading through 24 pages of comments,
it has become very clear that MOST – NOT ALL
But MOST Republicans desperatly need an education.
With little or no knowledge of how healthcare works..........
without even watching Flukes testimoney.........
Most have come on here to support Rush's line about Fluke being a s/lut......
about dem libs.....
about free contraception/Birth control........
And so far, all that you have proven is how uneducated you are.
I wouldnt want my mother, my wife, or my sister anywhere near you neanderthals.
Now for a political plug.
Thank god for Democrats.
I just called the only Limbaugh sponsor whose products and services I have used and asked to be removed from their customer list because I cannot support someone who sponsors him. I had to wait on hold for a few minutes to get through, and the call taker said they are being deluged with calls like mine.
El Duce is sitting back andlaughing at all of the crap going back and forth because of his comments. He's laughing at the liberals who get all fired up whenever he utters some king of outrageous crap. He laughs just as hard at his conservative listeners who get all fired up when he comes up with this bs. Meanwhile, he takes the money he makes from his sponsors and takes it to the bank, laughing all the way.
ok John nice going, so how long is it going to take for you to go back crawling to Rush for forgiveness like the rest of your GOP buddies do?
Boehner can't just condemn Limbaugh's horrible comments. Oh, no, he has to try and deflect the legitimate criticism with a "but .....". What idiots!
Anyone who takes Limbaugh seriously is either a coward or utter fool. The coward characterization applies to Republican office holders who tremble at the thought they might offend him. The utter fool classification applies to the rest of the American public.
That having been said he must know about contraception for he is on his 4th wife and has no known children (thank the Lord). He remains a useful indicator re intellectual poverty7 in the good ole USA.
Let's get a pool going on how long it takes for Boehner to walk back his comments and weepingly apologize to Rush. I'm guessing less than 24 hours.
Rush must be back on the dope.
It's amazing how the Republicans will go out of their way to avoid saying anything bad about this hypocritical blowhard. He's talking about moral values at the same time as he's sending his housekeeper to purchase Oxycontin illegally for him.
The church needs to step aside, and let the Govnerment modify the Church doctrine as it sees fits!
When are the decent voices going to rise up and put this clown out of business. This man does not have a decent bone in his body. Let him hide behind his right to "Freedom of Speech" But let's use our power by boycotting his sponcers. This clown has caused more carnage and distruction in everyday dialogue with others.
Mr Boehner, those remarks are much more than inappropiate, they are VILE. Maybe if the republican candidates for President along with you and they rest of the republican Congressional leadership had come out early condeming Rush nobody would be fundraising of it.
I guess Republicans don't invite women to hearings about women's health so that the public doesn't hear the GOP's stance on women.
How come insurance pays for mens vasectomies???? Isn't that birth control!!!!!
What a sensationalist pig. The only really usefull thing Limbaugh can do at this point is follow in Brietbart's shoes.
Dance This Mess Around SAYS: "Keep chipping away republicans, till you have destroyed your party.
Lets see, at last count you have alienated: Democrats. Independants. Moderate Republicans. Woman. Gays. The Elderly. Blacks. Hispanics. Protestants. The poor. Have i left anybody out ?"
As matter of fact you have: Socialists, Communists, Fascists, Progressives, Liberals, Femi-Nazis, Nazis, Racists, and everyone else who agrees with you agenda!
I like my agenda.
Equality and freedom and "fairness" for all Americans.
Socialism : we all pay taxes, and with those taxes, roads are built, and schools
and fire departments, and schools.
But you think socialism is bad.
Sorry, i am a liberal Democrat, i do not support Communism, fascism, Nazi'ism, or racism.
What is a femi-nazi ?
Progressives – people who want to move our society forward through science and education ?
Works for me.
Liberals – The dictionary version of liberals is people who want to move forward,
Conservatives want things to stay the same. Maybe you can get the whole world to stop changing
so it doesnt upset your views on life, good luck with that.
By the way....Its "your" agenda
not "you" agenda.
I will stick with mine.
Rush just handed President Obama the rest of the womens vote. Keep talking Rush, you vile, foul mouth man.
Also, just calling one women those horrible names will get your sponsors to leave you faster than Beck sponsors
left him. You are done Rush.
Rush Limbaugh is evil. Period. All he does is rally hartid he never accomplishes anything but trying to get people angry..why does anyone listen to his man? He has some serious mental issues and needs to be committed..
As for Limbaugh's comments, he should be sued for slander. To think that saying "chink" got someone at ESPN fired – this is like saying "chink" and pulling up the corners of your eyes and making a mocking voice, and going "no tickee no shirtie"...
it used to be you would say things in private but now you just let it go, not caring who your hurt. well this time rush hurt his own party. every time they attack women, Obama wins
Rush has hit a sore spot and that is why should others pay to prevent someone else from getting pregnant.
Anyway, there was / is no reason for this woman to even appear before congress.
The race is on to see who affiliated with the Republican party can stoop the lowest. Hmmmmm. let's see is it Rick, Newt, Mitt, Rush. Only time will tell. How low can they go. Let the race to the bottom begin.
Elbert, I don't think those people will vote for you either. Can you just not read?
The FCC has to fine this? I mean they fine for lesser offenses....