(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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Limbaugh didn't just become an AH for the current loudmouth remarks- he's was THAT as a teenager to this present hour. Can anyone think of any person MORE repulsive ????? Gingrich.....maybe.
So she has a right to contaceptives – I have a right to bear arms – does that mean I should get them (and ammo) for free. I object to my rates going to pay for her choices. Everyone has a made up study to prove what they want – nothong is free and my rates are going up already. Stop this "free" insanity.
Rush is the spokesman for the republican and tea parties. He is making Obama's reelection much easier than it was looking to be.
If he was commenting on women that have abortions for abortions sake then I'm 100% in agreement.
Birth control pills are not a "right"
Both Target and Walmart have Birth Control pills on their 9 dollar a month generic Rx list. This "women going broke" over having to pay for their BCPs is horse hockey.
Rush is an obese drug addict with nothing intelligent to say; the best thing to do with him is ignore him.
Comes a time when just talking to someone and trying to reason with them doesn't work. limbaughs time has been up. Wish that girl would whip him
" FLUSH RUSH " PLEASE !! He makes megabucks with this kind of commentary. He does this not out of opinion but out of greed so it will put him in the limelight and the money keeps rolling in and the idiots who listen to him cannot think for themselves so..... as he stated: DITTOHEADS !!!!!!
Republicans get their marching orders from the Rush/O'Reilly/Becks/Faux Newz. It's almost like Rush is the head of the RNC. So when one of these slugs says something so disgusting it looks bad on the Republican Party.
I wonder if this little man's health insurance pays for his Viagara.
I refuse to stoop to Lush Plumprumps level. Or for that matter, any republicans level. As long as this cretin is broadcasting his brand of hate, he, along with the rest of the republican party can go straight to hell.
You are terrific examples for free speech aren't you? Limbaugh cannot call a name but a large number of Democrats and their supporters sure do. Do you recall Bill M. (million dollar contributor to Mr. Obama? What names has he used for Sarah Palin as well as others? I tried to give CNN another chance by listening to your news programs, but that is it. No more for you. You seem to give first amendment rights to only those that follow your opinion as a "news" group. My mistake for referring to yours as news. It is truly opinion. (This is not just over this one issue. Please go back to Journalism 101.)
Sandra Fluke was no fluke. She was president of the Georgetown chapter of "Law Students for Reproductive Justice" – a national organization bent on free birth control. Also has a BS in "Feminist, Gender, & S3xuality Studies" in addition to her "Policy Analysis & Management." The little law student who needs her free birth control is a policy analyst and feminist, who knows gearing up for a career in politics, no wonder she was tapped for this very contrived role she played.
We should all thank Rush for making, by comparrison to him, the rest our individual mistakes and bad habits look like minor memory lapses of good judgement.
Sandra Fluke was no fluke. She was president of the Georgetown chapter of "Law Students for Reproductive Justice" – a national organization bent on free birth control. Also has a BS in "Feminist, Gender, & S3xuality Studies" in addition to her "Policy Analysis & Management." The little law student is a policy analyst and feminist gearing up for a career in politics, no wonder she was tapped for this very contrived role.
Most of us know Rush Lum is just a puppet on a rope ( a string isn't strong enough). A loud mouth radical racist. He's being paid to make these comment. If it were a republican, nothing would be said. Personally, I'm shocked he's still on the radio, he would be better on stage where people can throw rotten eggs at. Im good at pitching and I'd aim for his mouth.
I hope the women of America realize that Rush's comments basically sum up the conservative Republican platform, which if you scratch the surface is unbelievably chauvinist. Notice that Limbaugh suggests that the woman should simply be abstinent rather than use birth control. However, I'd like to know how the men of America would feel if their women started saying 'honey, I can't, I'm practicing abstinence!' A low-income married woman with 4 kids and a husband who still has 'needs' would be left with no choice but to have even more kids she can't support, or risk losing her husband to adultery (which the so- called 'Christian right', oddly enough, never seems to include in their list of social evils to condemn). Conservative Republicans don't seem to realize that loss of coverage for birth control would eventually result in exponential population growth among the poor who can't afford to pay for it, leading to an increasingly heavy burden on social aid programs (and taxpayers). Yet Republicans also want to eliminate these social aid programs, while increasing the number of people who rely on them to live. This would quickly result in economic disaster (or alternatively, a human rights disaster that the rest of the world would surely condemn, with large numbers of starving poor and no social safety net to help them).
@ReallY!!? Viagra is already covered. That's part of the problem. Women get to be told what they can and cannot have. But the bigger issue here is that we are consuming so much oxygen about contraception. I can think of 10 other things that Congress should be focusing on, contraception is not one of the ten.
Ms. Fluk says she needs $3,000 in free contraception. Is this a specific degree program she's attending that requires 15,000 condoms to complete (about $.20/ea)? I'm betting their syllabus makes the Kama Sutra in comparison look like the See Spot Run book. Sorry, think she can buy her own condoms. That's less than a pack of Ramen Noodles!
Stupid is as stupid does!
Please explain the medical needs that owning a gun provides.
I would love a show ON CABLE with Rush, Howard Stern, Imus, Glen Beck. A weekly HBO Show to counter that communist Mahur.
Does Obamacare pay for Viagra? Health ins. companies were paying for Viagra before paying for "the pill" and I'm willing to bet that Rush NEEDS Viagra.
Lush Rimbaugh is just bating his lunatic audience. They feel better when disparaging those that are clearly superior to them in every way.
How anyone could take this fat b astard seriously is beyond comprehension!
So when Ron Paul is elected and legalizes marijuana and cocaine, will the government provide that free to everybody too as part of the Obamacare plan? After all we cannot deny people their RIGHT to pursue happiness as they see fit.
And what about free abortions? After all it is a legal medical procedure. That WILL be next. Mark my words. Federally paid for abortions.