(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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If you are skrewwing over as many people as Obama, you may need the government to pay for birth control.
Rush Limbaugh? Seriously? I can't recall when the last time I considered anything that Rush has said to have any meaning. This is a guy that feeds on controversy and strives to be absurd to make his points seemingly valid.
Rush hasn't been known, as we all know, to give compliments to folks, but rather picks at folks to ridicule with his self thought 'well spoken' attacks. Listening to this guy is like watching a plotless bad Saturday morning cartoon or an original SCIFY movie. It just is not worth the dissapointment.
So just a note to all...If Rush attacks you then you are probably doing something that benefits the rest of us. With that said though....who really listens to Rush..or rather...who really wants to? Quiet Rush...your intelligence is showing...and it makes the rest of look real good!
I stopped listening to this idiot 10 years ago.
What Rush said was wrong but the bigger question is WHY IS IT THE GOVT'S JOB TO PROVIDE CONTRACEPTION TO WOMEN FOR FREE? What is next on the "BUY THE VOTE AGENDA"?
Lets mandate that viagra should be provided for free
Lets mandate that prozac should be provided for free
Lets mandate that lipator should be provided for free
Contraception is a private issue and your responsiblity. Pay for it yourself and be responsible for your actions.
one day Limbaugh is going to open his mouth once too often and that will be the end of him
mark my words
I guess this is fun for Limbo sitting in his little studio, but I’d dare him to say that face-to-face to any man about his sister, mother, girlfriend, wife, or daughter who happens to use contraceptives. Limbo’s such a pathetic coward.
MaryM, for your ignorance, the health plans can EASILY specify hormones be covered for actual medical conditions – PCOS or endometriosis – while still NOT paying for them for contraceptive use.
@brian in dc
Because the Palin women ARE are every name in the book.
Mr. or Ms. Journalist, instead of calling Rick Santorum a "devout Catholic," you should write "devout 16th Century Catholic." Or earlier. His views actually hark back to the days of Christendom and the Holy Roman Empire. He sure ain't my kind of Catholic.
I am a nice married republican who takes BC because after 3 heartbeats and 3 miscarriages I find it morally objectionable to continue to get pregnant knowing it will end badly. People need to mind their own business, women need to do what they do for their own reasons that we don't need to understand and we certainly don't want to label. Name calling is a sign of very poor sportsmanship.
a good sclacking
How is it that people on TV can be suspended or fired for saying virtually nothing, but Limburger can say hatefull things like this and he is still on the radio? Where is the FCC? I will personally find out who the sponsors are on the Limbaugh show and boycott them!! I advise everyone to do this who think this is the end...this is too much. He cannot get away with this.BOYCOTT the sponsors of Rush Limbaugh!!!! DO IT NOW!!
Hey fellow Libs. Let it be. Let Limbaugh continue his comments. Remember, in the coming election, each side gets 40% as a given and the race is decided by whoever can swing the independents – the middle 20%. Limbaugh, Santorum and their team continue to alienate the all-important moderates, particularly women, with their statements. The election is ours. On Sunday, George Will will make the rounds of the news shows and admit that the presidency is lost – the best they can hope for is control of the Senate. Stay the course and take the high road.
I wish Limbaugh would volunteer to be on the first spaceship Gingrich sends to outerspace!
I wonder if he is secretly a democratic operative, you know one of those disinformation guys. He sure goes out of his was to say really dumb stuff t help who? lol
So, Fluke just wants "access" to contraceptives? That's no problem. The media made it sound like she wanted FREE contraceptives.
Rush belongs right in there with his "ditto heads", the hill billies.
Really? Is this the same group of Republicans who went on a fund raising spree when the congressman called the president of the U.S. A liar in front of the nation in open chambers? Boehner should lay off the booze....Every woman voter should take notice of the Republican party.
Mr. Boehner is incorrect when he said the DCCC "launched" a money-making effort from Limbaugh's statement. It started when the House didn't allow Ms. Fluke to speak 2 weeks ago (at least).
this guy still has a show? OMG
Druggie Limpballs needs to get his facts straight.
The woman PAYS for her school's health insurance and would simply like to NOT be DISCRIMINATED against because she's a woman.
Men on the insurance have no problems getting Viagra covered, which is completely NOT medically necessary, but women have to pay for the full price for a medically necessary and physician perscribed medication.
Ugman.... there is a difference here, though obviously you don't understand the difference. Fluke is completely innocence of ANY wrong doing....where as Palin was constantly out there making her own snide little remarks aimed at others. So, in Palin's situation, it's if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen....Fluke did nothing but testify on behalf of college women.....there in lies the difference.
He should be fined and then removed from the air for good
"Inappropriate" ....is that the most Bonehead can say?