(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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OK RUsh...she wants contaception (a pill or other method). YOU are a freaking dug addict by our own logic...does oxycodone ring a bell? you blathering hypocrite
Now i know why Limbaugh, MOTHER, Hates him so much/////////////
Rush is an ignorant tyrant !
Common Rush! We don't call people like Sandra Fluke Slots! They are just public servants. They just provide service to all collage attendants in surrounding area and nearby states.
Its amazing to me that Republicans, especially the mainstream ones, are too timid to come out and take a hard stance against a comment that was just blatantly out of line. Yes, no doubt, it was for ratings, but it does not in any way serve as justification. Calling the comment "absurd", and "inappropriate" is about as brave as calling a rapist, "troubled". Why is it that Republicans can't muster up enough bravery to say, "You know what, that comment was completely out of line and it should not, in any way, serve as a viewpoint represented by all Republicans." It's truly pathetic to see that people that are running to represent our country can't even represent themselves if it involves taking a stand against their own country.
Party, not country.
Rush Limbaugh is representative of the right-wing stupidity that is overwhelming this country's sense of decency. We are a country still plagued by a preponderance of ignorant people who follow people like Rush blindly and unknowingly. That's why Republicans always beat down social programs, because if poor and disadvantaged people are uplifted through the help of the government, the population will get more intelligent over time and those poor and disadvantaged who previously thought they were being helped by Republicans will see that they've always been royally screwed up the ass and Republicans will find it extremely difficult to get elected.
Limbaugh can say any slanderous thing he wants to and his robot listeners will just laugh and say "Oh, he's an entertainer!" He is not an entertainer. His followers take his word as gospel and take him 100% seriously. if he told them to cut off their own right hands, they'd do it. If he told them to disown their families if their families didn't agree with him, they'd do it. He feeds their prejudices and hatreds and they love him for it.
This will roll off his back and be forgotten as well. He's untouchable.
Limbaugh must be loving this. He's finally in the news again. Why is the media giving him so much coverage? That's exactly what he wants with his lame "outrageous" routine.
Time to boycott Bill O'Raily also. He made more disgusting remarks about Sandra Fluke.
The only thing I find strange is why did they have a college student as one of their speakers? I'm pretty sure they could have easily found a woman more knowledgeable and who had passed the bar already.
When will the public see through Limbaugh's duplicity? Obviously, some of the most conservative Republicans, who would condemn the average drug user to years in prison, hypocritically overlook Limbaugh's drug use and other foolishness.
Limbaugh's is simply expressing his "First Amendment Rights", but snickering all the way to the bank because we don't have enough sense to ignore him.
The GOP has sacrificed the woman's vote and Boss Hogg Limbaugh just continued to flap his jaws and increase the damage. The Ghastly Old Party belongs in 1900 not 2012.
I pay attention to Rush Limbaugh so I can do and vote the opposite of everything he says. I realize he's an actor playing a role, pretending to know what he's talking about. But he's still a disgusting pig.
I support all women in their quest for access to birth control. That's where my support stops. I have a greta idea. If women want birth control pills – – BUY THEM!
We should ship this Illitrate Limbaugh in the NASA space craft out to Mars. This guy does not have one aota of Respect for women, he thinks he's above the law, that he can say whatever he likes to please hIs listeners, what a joke, he should be fired.
The report says it all. Partisan rubbish, with no respect for this young woman. Limbaugh and Boehner both should be ashamed of themselves.
This is the window of opportunity we need to be rid of this clown once and for all! Let's find out who his sponsors are, post them on the web, and start a campaign to boycott and shame them into dumping him. We can do this. He is a dangerous, angry, hateful, man that needs to be taken off the airwaves. Start the research and let's get it done.
First of all... why is anyone surprised that Limbaugh would say such a thing? Knowing Limbaugh as we do... we should expect it! He is not the most high-minded, ethical guy around. Actually, he may be the least! No... can't say his comments surprised me at all.
What do you expect from rusty limberger?
Instead of constructive output, the GOP can only spew negativity. Is this what politics has come to?
Which of them is the bigger loser... Rush Limbaugh or John Boehner? As much as I can't stand Rush Limbaugh, he's just an 'entertainer'. John Boehner is the Speaker of the House. He must be the bigger loser. But then again, Rush Limbaugh has never been anything but a second rate radio mouthpiece. So maybe he is the bigger loser? I just can't decide...
This is not surprising. Look, how many women out there representing the GOP...none. And look, 99.9% GOP elected representatives are white male. The women of America should stand up against these white trash and cowards. Everyone should write to RL show's sponsors for boycott.
Is it November 6th yet??? Can't wait.
I find it hilarious that the repubs can't even realize how scattered, arrogant, and out of touch they really have become. But the real fallacy is how and why they let that arrogant blowhard Limbaugh become their spokesperson. Never will forget years ago, first time I watched his since cancelled TV show, looking at his audience and wondering why there was basically nothing but a bunch of ultra white, white shirt wearing pencil necked geeks in it. And all of them acted really wacked. I have repub friends who are nice decent people, but most of them really do appear to be out of touch.
Limbaugh is a disgusting pig. His listeners are pigs. Those who support him are pigs. End of debate.