First on CNN: Boehner hits Limbaugh's comments as 'inappropriate'
March 2nd, 2012
10:59 AM ET
2 years ago

First on CNN: Boehner hits Limbaugh's comments as 'inappropriate'

(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.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

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.

Also see:

Seattle Times supports Romney as 'default choice' ahead of caucuses

Paul flier hits the other candidates

Gingrich robo call labels Santorum 'union bosses' pal'

Michigan results provoke accusations, ire


Filed under: Congress • Health care • House • John Boehner • Rush Limbaugh
soundoff (1,332 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    Rush Limbaugh has a sick mind. It is amazing that he has so many followers. But I guess if history is any measure there have been many such sicko's with followers over the years.

    March 2, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. Jerry

    Both sides of the aisle have their big mouth gas bags. One gas bag says something childish and the other side's gas bags talk about it for weeks. Oh how horrible.

    March 2, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  3. Pete/Ark

    A generation before me Limbaugh would have been tied to a fence rail and horse whipped...all I can do is offer to introduce her to a very competent attorney who would be delighted to buy his next mercedes with Limbaughs money

    March 2, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  4. paulm5545

    If I am going to pay for her contraceptives, she had better NEED them instead of WANT them. Big difference.

    March 2, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. Thinkstr8

    His comments were no mistake...

    March 2, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  6. alanjay1

    No, John Stewart doesn't say things like Rush did. Bill Maher might, but he's a jerk too.

    Rush gets farther and farther from sanity, and his loyal listeners refuse to actually THINK about the vileness that comes out of his mouth. Before you go cheering Rush in his denigration of this woman, remember who Jesus spent most of his ministry with. Hint: it wasn't the people who were walking around talking smack and judging people.

    March 2, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  7. Beadles

    I'll bet Rush thinks insurance should pay for "little blue pills."

    March 2, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. DumbasRocks [R]s

    Jim: there's a BIG difference between protection through contraception and the protection of your motorcycle helmet. Your motorcycle helmet doesn't protect anything vital.

    Including contraception in insurance doesn't cost anybody anything. It is cost effective, and revenue nuetral in the long run. You morons on the 'right' flap-at-the-yap with no basis in reality or cogently analysed facts. You are an embrassment to the human race.....and yet you people want to pick the next president? You guys need a series round of gene therapy to get some of your human traits back.

    March 2, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. justthesame

    repost: to good not to:
    I'd say change the name in this article to one Bill Maher and lets see if all you hypocritical liberals use the same language when you "denounce' anything that vile human being says.. He says vile stuff everyday, and why aren't those kind of stories on CNN.. no, instead CNN interviews the guy, throws him softball questions and sets him up to rip up any conservative... So i dont see how this is any different.. accept that rush is a conservative and liberals are full of nothing but hate.. ALL OF YOU.. cuz if you dont denounce what maher says, than you have NO LEG TO STAND ON..Every person here who has commented is nothing but a hypocrite.. EVERYONE OF YOU..

    March 2, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. marty in MA

    Why would anyone listen to that idiot anyway????????

    March 2, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. justthesame

    I'd say change the name in this article to one Bill Maher and lets see if all you hypocritical liberals use the same language when you "denounce' anything that vile human being says.. He says vile stuff everyday, and why aren't those kind of stories on CNN.. no, instead CNN interviews the guy, throws him softball questions and sets him up to rip up any conservative... So i dont see how this is any different.. accept that rush is a conservative and liberals are full of nothing but hate.. ALL OF YOU.. cuz if you dont denounce what maher says, than you have NO LEG TO STAND ON..Every person here who has commented is nothing but a hypocrite.. EVERYONE OF YOU..

    March 2, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. Paul

    To those of you defending Rush, he is not talking just about Fluke, he is talking about your mother, your sister, and your wife. This issue affects all of them.

    March 2, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  13. Neptune

    Bleeding heart liberals are all the same... just like fleas and ticks on a dogs back... only wanting to sponge off someone else... Hoping BumaCare has flea and tick powder as a free provision, cause we are going to need it...

    March 2, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  14. Thinkstr8

    Sicko's with followers? You mean like Hitler?

    March 2, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. Amazing Hypocrasy

    "Including contraception in insurance doesn't cost anybody anything"

    No????they how is it paid for???

    March 2, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  16. Sanity

    For the past two days liberals have been openly celebrating the death of Breitbart. Now suddenly they are offended by Limbaugh. What hypocrisy.

    March 2, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  17. cf

    A "spokesman" for Boehner, eh? Guess Boehner doesn't have the guts to stand up to Limbaugh's poison by himself. Betcha Boehner backtracks and apologizes to Rush by Monday.

    March 2, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  18. James K.

    Rush is poppin' the pills again. Once a druggie, always a druggie. Hope he goes the way of Houston.

    March 2, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  19. Rush Limball

    just stupid, what a crock of Limbaugh stuff

    My comments are being censored like I'm at Fox and saying something horribly bad like Obama is not greates president but not worst.

    March 2, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  20. scott

    Thanks Dave appreciate the support!!!!!!!

    March 2, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. yahmez the mad

    Rush Limbaugh is a hypocritical blowhard who should not be taken seriously. He should be in prison for prescription fraud, not polluting the airwaves with hate. Rush is (w)Rong.

    March 2, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. Dance This Mess Around

    brew987

    So I guess the idiots on the left somehow think Limbaugh is an elected official. You people are idiots.
    ------------------------------------------------
    Nope, we dont.
    But you idiots on the right love every word out of Palins mouth
    yet she holds no office.

    March 2, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. hmmm

    Well I bet Rush's insurance plan covered his Viagra..........

    March 2, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. Obama's Snake Oil on Sale - Git yur lies and deceit here!!

    Smoke, smoke, MORE SMOKE!!! Yeah, what about that Rush guy huh?! What a mean nasty guy. Yeah and that contraception, yeah, take us back the the 1950s. Yeah, those evil Republicans.

    Dang glad I don't have to talk about the economy, unemployment and gas prices! The Great Smoke Show on Earth rolls on!!

    You know I'm thinking of building a new Colloseum in DC to hold good old fashioned gladiator matches. I hear that was a great way to distract the unwashed masses too. Bloody GENIUS! (pun intended)

    March 2, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. Phypcriticus

    It's so cute that when a "progressive" on one of their political cartoon shows (ie, colbert etc.) says something personal that stinks, it's ok with that crowd; but when the stink goes the other way, they howl to high heaven.

    March 2, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54