(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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bc pills without insurance cost $15/month for what I take. geezzz... the cost of 2 beers at a bar... geezzz... what is she, a h88ker or something that needs condoms by the case?
i have listened to limbaugh for years. i find him to be a great comedian. he has been fooling the conservatives that listen to him (and take him seriously) for years. if you listen to him and expect comedy you will find him far less offensive.
I can't believe Rush Limbaugh still has sponsers....or fans for that matter.
To all you ditto-idiots. Only really backward thinking, irrational people could still believe Rush has anything credible or relevant to say. You really truly are fools to follow a man that preaches family values. A man that can not possibly know what it takes to raise a family since he has no children and has not been able to make three of his four marriages last. A man that preached about the evils of drug addiction and villified all drug addicts while he himself illegally obtained drugs to satisfy his own addiction. He is Evil and Hypocrisy incarnate. And anyone that supports him or the bile that he gurgles up from his fat belly is equally evil.
Rush is a drug addled punk who doesn't deserve a response from our President. He does deserve a physical response from the father of the woman he libeled. Rush is a coward and he's got one coming.
Hearsay has it that Boehner feels that he "obviously believes the use of those words was inappropriate". This is the usual emptiness characterizing Boehner. Forget "those words". What does he think about "those ideas"?
The only thing scarier than that fat loudmouth are the millions of people that listen to and agree with the feces that pours from that opening in his over-sized head. Too bad his mom wasn't overdosing on birthcontrol.
Once again the Boehner stands tall and firm!
We would all be better off if Mr. Limbaugh's parents would have had better access to birth control.
Rush was over the top. I'm a staunch conservative – but I think he was over the top with his comments. Was he anymore over the top than Bill Maher or Maxine Waters every day of the week – NO. Should he have said what he said – NO. Should the citizens of the United States be responsible for paying for contraception for everyone – NO. So lets move on. It's Rush Limbaughs thing to demonstrate the absurd by being absurd. Simple as that. Libs look for any opportunity to light thier hair on fire and be OUTRAGED. Get over it.
Nobody is asking for the government to provide them anything for free. They're asking that their medical benefits provided through an employer as part of their pay/benefit package include contraceptives. They've earned the benefit and should be afforded the right to choose. Men argue that they don't use the pill so they shouldn't have to pay for them. Well, women don't use ED meds so why should we have to pay for them? ED is usually the result of an unhealthy lifestyle. If you quit smoking, stopped eating junk food, peeled your backside off the sofa and ran it around the block a few times perhaps you wouldn't need those little blue pills.
Rush may be one of the sickest people in this country. Perhaps his doctor should change or increase the dosage of his anti-psychotic drugs. They don't seem to be working. What truly amazes me is that the networks have not cancelled his show. Perhaps they want to be sued for slander right along side him.
If women cannot afford The Pill as a means of birth control, perhaps they should try another means of birth control: Abstinence.Typical Democrat: Expecting everyone else to foot the bill for their choices.
Rush's parents should have used birth control. Nuf said!
Is this the woman who is on scholarship for a Georgetown law degree who "can't afford" contraceptives? She and others "have no choice" when insurance doesn't cover her copay? How about a condom or paying for it yourself? I bet her parents are proud.
Anything but the truth, medical marijuana should be offered to anyone who has a legitimate medical issue. As for giving it for "free"; no, it should be distributed at pharmacies right along with other prescription analgesics. Cocaine should be restricted to controlled medical environments and only used for anesthetic purposes, and only when less addictive alternatives aren't an option (if there should ever be such a case).
Additionally, medical marijuana should be covered by medical insurance.
Poor Johnny Boy. Had the opportunity to show leadership and FINALLY put limbaugh in his place....and he blew it! If women believe that their best interest lies with republicans, well, I hope they get all they looking for. Why there is a single, female, republican is beyond me. Ladies, you need to speak up for yourselves and let these losers know that you are not going to be "bare-footed and pregnant". Incredible that republicans and limbaugh still have sponsors. Incredible.
Wasn't Rush treated for Hoof-In-Mouth disease recently?
Looks like he's off his meds....
Just another Rush "speaking his mind" moment....he spews this stuff every day. No surprise...honestly.
The sad part is that his true audience thinks this way too and applauds his candor.
Telling! National Federation of Republican Women, National Black Republican Association, and Republican National Hispanic Assembly REFUSED to rebuke Limbaugh and his reprehensible statement. Telling indeed, as your silence gives consent.
It is no surprize to me that this egomaniac has put his foot in his mouth. It is just this kind of thing that tears at the fabric that holds the people of this nation together. If you are as old as Rush is, and you still resort to childish insults to make your point, (especially when you pick on someone younger than yourself) you are really only proving your own lack of finess.
roadwarr, you are as vile and disgusting as the foul mouth rush. may you and rush rot in ***
I am a Republican, and conservative on most issues. Having said that, I think Limbaugh's comments were IDIOTIC, INAPPROPRIATE, and just plain MISOGYNISTIC. Whatever microscopic shred of credibility he might have had with conservatives, he just lost. Every great and good woman in my life has taken contraceptives, and we're facking Catholic! I wish ogres like Rush would just die off already.
Republicans have become right wing extremists.
Their War on Women's Health Care has gone too far.
American women will remember in November who stood up for them....the Democratic Party.