(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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I hear gas is $5.00 a gallon in San Francisco. Thanks uhbama!
Want to be sure I have this right, Druggie Rush is arrested on prescription drug fraud charges and cops a plea. Since he didn't reimburse Florida for the law enforcement needed to arrest and prosecute and since he would not want his prescription drug privileges revoked, you could say he "wants you and me, the taxpayers, to pay" him to be a druggie. Nice Rush... remind everyone again how you're saving the soul of America.
If rush really wants to see videos of naked women he should consider what he looks like on video tape. Rush put a cork in it.
Medicare will not pay in full for my insulin. They want the government. to pay for their contraceptives.'
If there's a pill for STUPID, I beg the government to provide it to you at no cost. She's not on medicare. Few women on "medicare" would be needing bcp.... And on top of everything its NOT about the government paying for contraception.... cmon man .... stupid stupid stupid.... what is with you people?
I'm not surprised to hear that... It's Republicans, they don care
Limpballs has married four women and never had a child. How come? It must be true that he has no testicles and that is why he hates women. All because his mother hated him and now he takes it out on other women. LImpballs would never have the guts to stand before this young woman's father and mother and call her those filthy names because he is a Class A Coward, just like the Republikkklans in Congress, too cowardly and too afraid to ever cross this immoral, filthy pig.
Hopefully Boehner is thrown out on his funky tan ass in the next election. He is a useless human being as well as a useless politician
obama was losing the women vote this was all staged by the media, and the obama people. To take a way the record of the worst pres. in the history of this great nation.
How bad was Rush's comment? Even the REPUBLICANS are backing off of this one!
Nowhere in Canada would that person keep their job.
Pick on someone your size Limbaugh. Shame on you!
Americans ought to use this opportunity to kill and barbecue Limbaugh while he still carries a good amount of fatback. You could feed all of Florida for a month. But be careful of the oxycodone in the organ meats.
Way to go GOTea – you have effectively alienated the women voters, the hispanic voters, the black voters, the gay voters, the union voters. That leaves you with the radical right wing which is about 30% on a good day. There was a time when I was a fiscal conservative before I saw the party going the way of the patriarchal jihadists Baptist rattlesnake wavers. I would rather be aligned with the empathetic versus the pathetic.
Did Boehnner ever have a spine? He looks like he just came off of a three day bender, bloodshot eyes and orange skin. No moral courage to tell Limpballs to go to hell, no backbone to speak up for that young lady who did nothing wrong, and no longer relevant in any way. The worse House Speaker we've ever seen. I wish a nice big group of bikers could get a hold of Limpballs flabby body and take him for a long ride along the Grand Canyon and drop him off. All the way off. Limpball is a pusfilled eyesore on the American continent and a disgraceful bigot in the eyes of the civilized world. The Republikkklan filled Congress have lost their minds and the only people supporting them are racists and illiterates. There is no Godliness or a scintilla of decency in that party anymore. Not that there ever was much before the teabagging hyenas invaded it.
Quite a statement from a pill popping far right over weight junkie.
We expect the man who coined the term "feminazi" to apply to any woman who wasn't submissive, barefoot, and in the kitchen to say anything different?
Typical democratic response. Incite women, minorities, and fringe believers of liberal BS that the republicans hate them, want to take things from them, or don't value them as citizens. It's a smoke screen to take our eyes off the failings of the worst president in American history.
Nazi's march in Skokie.
Rush goose steps on the radio.
Not much difference.
Funny, I've never found Rush Limbaugh to be an entertainer.....but then I've never found bigots to be amusing. It never ceases to amaze me that the people who protest about a woman's right to contraception tend to be male....I guess that the worship of their sperm count comes before all else.
And why is Viagra a tax deduction? Oh right, a man's need to "get it up" takes precedence.
I have to rip Rush on that comment. Personally my wife and I feel that contraceptives shouole be covered under all types of medical insurance plans regardless of the company affiliation, (without ANY bias). The bottom line, its going to be up to the individual person as to whether or not they choose to use these products or not. But honestly, its not just the female of the species who needs to be made RESPONSIBLE. It takes two to tango, and the little boys who commented here share equal RESPONSIBILITY in the matter. That responsibility is not just placed on your girlfriends gents. It does not take anything to "Suit Your Man" before the party.
Just another example of the "Fat Man" blowing gas and expressing his twisted misogynistic view about women. Conservatives are soooo full of love and compassion. You betcha! It amazes me that anybody pays attention to anything this tub-o-guts says.
I really don't think he's the guy pass judgment on what kind of pills anyone else takes. I'm pretty sure he got caught illegally obtaining all sorts of pills, which by the way, are probably contributing to his "husky" build. Hydracodone is constipating. I bet he has 200 pounds of undigested steak sitting in his intestines.
...and Don Imus was fired over an offensive joke. Apparently the lesson here is, if you're going to spew venom just make sure you're being completely serious.
It will require a truly spartan of a champion to beat obama in november, and there is nothing close. romney is a wet dish rag, and that's the best they've got. please donate the millions about to be wasted to the deficit that bush created.
Rush L. is not worried about needing contraception because he just has to reach into his desk drawer and pull out a finger cot. It's cheap for his little winkie!