(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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leave it to the left for their S&B method of reasoning. Rush Limbaugh should be thrown off the air for his comments but Bill Maher provides insightful and humorous commentary. A womans body is her own business but everyone should pay for her contraceptives.
It is time for Limbaugh to go. His right wing thugs will never do the decent thing and call out this very indecent man. The only thing that can stop him is YOU. If you have ever bought one of the products advertised on Limbaugh's show, or if you have become so disgusted by the way Limbaugh has personally attacked this young student, then use your voice to remove him from the airwaves. Call or email Clearwater and state your decision to never buy any product advertised on his show, and voice your demand that he be removed from the air. He is not sorry for this, as he has made plain–it is plain any apology now would be empty. How many people must he run over before we stop him? Everyone has an inherent right to hate, but nobody has the right to assault a weaker, vulnerable person that has no giant microphone to answer back without consequences.
Leader of the anti-women, anti-gay, anti-black, anti-latino, anti-intelligent, anti-poor, anti-working class, anti-science party. What losers. They have very few left to vote for them. lol
Limbaugh stands for the white wing racist and women basher crowd. He's the head of the Republican Party
It says a lot when one of the few things that has bipartisan support is disapproval of Rush Limbaugh!
CNN – Please quit giving Rush Limbaugh and his latest b.s. legs by covering it. He does this kind of stuff to get the free media attention. He needs it to feel relevant. He needs it to feed his ego. Cover the fact that he has put his foot in his mouth again and his advertisers are bailing – nothing wrong with that. In fact, the more people get on that band wagon, the better. No advertisers, no radio show, no Rush Limbaugh. But by covering this story by playing clips of his comments over and over and over and over and over and over, you are just encouraging him to continue his pathetic attention seeking behavior.
Looks like people on both sides of the aisle are getting their facts wrong : The issue he is to have INSURANCE COMPANIES not the taxpayers continue to offer birth control in their plans to women no matter what the religion is. And from that point, let's let the WOMEN make their own choice on whether they want to get them or not. Republicans don't want that to happen, talk about discrimination....Oh Limbaugh is as ignorant as they come, but as long as there are idiots validating him, he will continue to feed them crap over the airwaves.
There is a point at which "well he's an entertainer, and..." as an excuse for not repudiating Limbaugh's remarks runs thin. Rush is the self-appointed (and tacitly endorsed) spokesman for what the Republican party has become, and ANYONE who positions themselves to be a political leader of 'the party' who does not loudly and clearly as a clarion condemn this sort of virtroil is endorsing them.
It is fair to disagree with the position (contraceptives being available) without resorting to name calling and unjustified character assassination, no matter what the supposed cover you hide behind. Limbaugh keeps going further and further, and the sheep that hang on his every word eat it up. When will true leadership emerge to "put a sock in it" as often said by another well-known (though fictional) reactionary bigot.
Rush Limbaugh does not have an ounce of class. He is a vile human being in every way, shape, and form. This is merely the latest example.
What gets me is all the people on here claiming that "they" would be paying for it. How exactly are you paying for her contraceptives if its her health insurance plan that needs to cover them, not your tax dollars? And before you give me the argument of "My premiums will go up because of it" consider the cost of the monthly pills vs having to pay for surgery for ovarian cysts, which can (and often do) eventually turn to ovarian cancer? Which would you rather impact your premiums?
Look, nothing is going to come of this latest detestable display by Limbaugh. Someone asked, why isn't the Republican extablishment doing or saying anything. Well you know what, Limbuagh is the Republican establishment. If the sponsors who advertise their products on this sorry excuse of a radio talk show continue to do so, then it's up to the American people to not buy what these people are selling.
remarkable what makes news these days, just remarkable
repubs idealogy is a threat to this country....i dont know why they have gone out of the way to be so abusive, bias and innappropriate, but im glad im a liberal, im glad im voting for Obama, i am so glad that I was not taught that idealogy...this was completely disrespectful...i said this in another comment on another CNN forum...im gonna repeat it....OBAMA IF YOU READ THIS....PLEASE, PLEASEEEEE WIPE THE FLOOR WITH THESE REPUBS....the odacity...uggghhh disgusting....OBAMA you have my vote always....OBAMA 2012 :)
What a moron Limbaugh is.... Since he could never reproduce, he probably doesn't even know what contraception is...He singlehandedly has caused me to have no respect for republicans... holier than all extremists....
This creep is an impotent coward in every respect.
What an $ss Limbaugh is.... Since he could never reproduce, he probably doesn't even know what contraception is...He singlehandedly has caused me to have no respect for republicans... holier than all extremists....
Each and every senator should either denounce Limbaugh for his vicious comments or get together with a resolution doing so. What is Romney doing passing up an opportunity to speak about it, and why is Santorum calling it "absurd" entertainment. Their silence and that of every member of the Senate speaks volumes about what those men think of women's health and family planning issues. Even John Boehner sent his mouthpiece to say it was "inappropriate". Get to the polls next November ladies.Don't forget the collective, silent slap in the face. Find out what your Senator and Congressman say.l
Brown, at least, didn't mince words - he called it reprehensible.
ProFlowers and Quicken Lans. This is the start of your downfall for being ignorant.
The other advertisers awoke and noticed that they were feeding a known drug addict.
Hope you wake up and get out of the drug house
Limbaugh reminds me of Jaba the Hut, remarkable resemblence both in appearance, smell and speech.
Rush says what other republicans think. Women are property to republicans.
i listened to limbaugh's talk show once. thats all it took to understand that he is a tool. i feel sorry the masses that buy into his spew of negativity and hypocrisy.
Rush Limbaugh: Four wives, no children. Is that not obvious enough?
Thats helluva comment comming from a drug addict
What a mf Limbaugh is.... Since he could never reproduce, he probably doesn't even know what contraception is...He singlehandedly has caused me to have no respect for republicans... holier than all extremists....