(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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So... we should make contraception unavailable for those who can't afford it, increasing the number of unwanted children who will end up supported by our taxes anyway? Substantially more expensive than the cost of a rubber, I would think. When will they realize we can't go back to 1950?
Limbaugh was just bieng funny. Some folks are too sensitive. Fluke most likely is was Limbaugh says she is. Wait till marriage lady.
Wasn't that big of him? How about telling everyone that Limbaugh is a egotistical scumbag who doesn't give a damn who he offends.
Limbaugh is a bully; nothing more, nothing less. Please take his mic.
Yep – Rush's comments were definitely inappropriate.
– "The speaker obviously believes the use of those words was inappropriate..."
Well, I guess that's something. But "inappropriate" really doesn't even begin to cover it. Hateful, malicious and slanderous is more accurate.
What a laugh. Boehner should say the truth. That Limbaugh is a scumbag who doesn't give a damn who he offends as he's done it so many times, and that he should publicly apologize for his filthy mouth.
I guess I should accept his remarks for what they appear to be, but I can't help but wonder if the Liberal media did not push Republicans into criticizing they mouth piece -
Wait for it....Boehner will be issuing an apology to Limbaugh in 3...2...1...
Actually, its not a day late dollar short here Mr. Speaker...its two days late. And BTW Mr. Speaker it is against my religion to have Mr. Limbaugh allowed to continue on the air waves as he is bearing false witness. It's in the big 10 Commandments. IF our countries laws are based on Judean/Christian principals then Mr. Limbaugh is in violation.
Inappropriate? Talk about understatement. Is that the best you can do, Boehner?
Why is it that so many right-wingers are like "the fonz"- simply can't say "I was wrong"?
That would require them (including Michelle) to "man up" and take the heat for their rush to pronouncement.
The obvious: Rush is way beyond managing any sort of civil conversation- he's the Republican Bile Duct. Sick.
Now that Limbaugh has gone onair telling the young lady that she must film herself having sex and post those films online so he can watch them, will Mr. Boehner comment on that?
That's one heckuva party spokesman you've got there in that oxycontin popping, Viagra thieving, lusting after young Dominican boys radio blowhard, GOP.
Thank you Mr. Boehner for finally telling the rest of the republican party that this kind of language is unacceptable. Now, if only you would have done this without democrats having to ask you to do so it would have carried even more weight. But, nonetheless, thank you for doing the right thing.
Inappropriate, John, really? That's it? Would you like that clown characterizing your daughter that way?
IF the shoe fits wear it she stands in front of a congressional commite and states shes having so much sex she cant afford to pay for her own birth control the tax payers should i hope her parents are proud of her
thank you mr. boehner. i am no fan of the republican party, but totally appreciate your calling slimeball out on his provocative comments. were i related to the young lady i would track slimeball down and knock him to the ground, happily high fiving inmates afterwards.
It's telling that he didn't condemn the comments until he was called upon to do so.
Well, heck! Why shouldn't anyone fundraise off that? It's not like it's some kind of tragedy; it's a jerk who's expressing the more extreme views espoused by his party. That's an excellent reason to fundraise!
It doesn't surprise me. Every since the first time I heard him on radio, which was the last time, I identified him as an Ill-informed, self-absorbed, blow hard.
What surprises me is that Republican's allow themselves to be associated with him and people like him.
And Mr. Boehner "inappropriate" is not a response; those comments are far more than disgusting!
good for Boehner.
el-Rushbo; Keep it up Rush, don't ever apologize. You will lead that angry 20 % to the dust bin of history . . .
I'm glad Boehner condemned the comment but let's face it, politics is politics. Money ahs been raised over natural disasters. They have no shame-either side.
Not good enough.
if it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck must be a duck right hope her parents are proud of her