(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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It's not a suprise that Rush said this, what I find Interesting is that obviously Quicken Loans, Century 21, and a host of other sponsors must believe the same thing. I guess ratings are more important to these companies than the content of their sponsored host. I for one will remember these companies and what they support.
I'm sure Rush wants free Via gra (and other drugs as well). He just doens't want women to get free contraception.
How is this news worthy? It is just the Liberal Media making it look like this gal is a victim. What about the article in the Huffington Press last week that was degrading to Catholics the liberal media fails to report that but not this.
Unfortunately, many people who are free to listen to radio during the day are convinced by this lost on the Clear Channel network stations all around the country. In many locations he is the only one or the other dittohead commentators on radio. Stations have been taken over by rich agenda oriented owners.
Just another example of how the GOP/Tea Party and their mouthpieces do business. To say that they have no class would be a gross understatement but then again class isn't what they are selling and the type of language and statements they make appeal to their base, uneducated and clueless about everything except what the brainwashes them with.
I guess the GOP had to wait a few days to look at the polling data,then they decide Fat Boy Rush was out of line.
Unfortunately, many people who are free to listen to radio during the day are convinced by this lost on the Clear Channel network stations all around the country. In many locations he is the only one or the other Rush Limbaugh imitator commentators on radio. Stations have been taken over by rich agenda oriented owners.
@modvoice. Gratuitous blather. Really?
I thought that fatbastage OD'd.... Forget North Korea, we need to negotiate with the San Diego Zoo to take this beast of a moron back.
I love how not one of the objections/repudiations is actually an objection or repudiation. All of them backhand or sidestep.
1. Obama should get off his high horse, attacking Rush for telling the truth ... something Obama rarely does.
2. After the way the Democrats went after Sara Palin's daughter, they have no right to complain. Obama should just consider himself lucky the Republicans have too much class, to trash his two daughters in the same way.
3. I just got an email from Debbie Wasserman Schultz, which disingenuously claims that the Republicans are blocking women from healthcare ... what a bunch of B.S. ... we just want to pay for their birth control pills. If they insist on fooling around, let them pay for it themselves !!!
I'm submitting blue eyes for the Understatement of the year award.
I can't believe that people still acknowledge Rush Limbaugh's existence. The fact that he gets paid (probably pretty handsomely) to sit at a mic and spew this garbage on a daily basis is why the terrorists are going to win.
"Liberals are confusing the issue." Since when is Ruch Limbaugh a Liberal? He will, no doubt, be surprised.
Modvoice idiots like you is what will keep this country devided forever. except it and live with it because it cant be overturned.
As usual, the real truth about Ms. Fluker is emerging. As it turns out, she's not the naive 23 year old co-ed that the Democrats and the liberal media would have you believe. She is actually a 30 year old women's rights activist who purposefully enrolled at Georgetown in order to stir this up because she knew beforehand that Georgetown is a Jesuit college that is opposed to contraception and therefore does not provide it. I assume the crack journalists at CNN will be running a story on this at any moment, huh?
Can't believe morons still listen to Limbaugh. Still spewing exactly the same nonsense since he was on overnight radio 20 years ago. When you look up "one trick pony" in the dictionary, his picture is there.
This guy is one of the biggest pigs in American politics. To those who align with his bigoted hype, shame on you. He represents all that is wrong with America right now.
Limbaugh is America's most famous "john" and drug addict. Any of his ditto heads are a testament to his absurdity and to their lack of rational thought, and appear to be the result of long-term inbreeding and lack of quality control of their back wood stills.
He's being crass, and nasty. But the liberals totally missed the point on what he was trying to get across. They do that alot. Someone says something in a tacky way and they jump all over it instead of addressing the actual intended meaning on what was said. He's been married more then several times, which tells me there is something SERIOUSLY wrong with him in the gentlemanly, and manhood department. Still, he had a point.
We're the fools for caring what folks like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter spout from their pie-holes. I believe that Rush is one of the main factors in the bi-partisan politics we have. And, he's a nit-wit to boot – can't stand to have anyone disagree with him. When they do, he takes the path of the uneducated, uninformed and non-intellectual – he reverts to name calling.
Looks like the republicans have a new strategy to attract women voters. Might not work....but it is a strategy
Nobody has yet said it better than Al Franken: "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot"
How can anyone with a soul listen to this blowhard?
Sounds like Rush found a new Oxy supplier. Sad that people actually give credence to the hateful nonsense that pours from his mouth and that of Glen Beck.