(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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While I do not like Santorum or his message at least HE had the nerve to call what Limbaugh said "Absurd". When Romney was asked about what Limbaugh said he answered "No comment". Boehner is just like Romney, a coward. Limbaugh is beyond all rational thought and has decended into insanity if he thinks the AMOUNT of $ex is tied to the amount of needed birth control. Except for condoms this idea is ludicrous. Just goes to show how little Limbaugh understands about a womans body, guess that explains the 4 marriages and no children. Although you cannot blaim his wives, who would want that whale to mount them!
Sounds to me like Rush might be hitting the Oxycontin again. Addiction brings out the worst in people. I wonder if he ever kicked the habit?
No Republican will condemn Rush for what he said because they are absolutely terrified of him. In the GOP It is worse now than it was in the days of Joe McCarthy.
There is not one person who has left a negative comment about this subject that has not said something inappropriate behind closed doors or in the open. It's amazing how quickly people can pass judgement on somebody else when they are just as filthy as that person. Jesus didn't say "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" for nothing. In other words unless you are perfect which no one who has left a nasty comment on here is, then shut up.
Your hypocrisy is overwhelming and you only make yourself to look like a fool. I'm not defending Rush Limbaugh's remarks because the remarks were inappropriate, but I'm not going to judge him either. My name ain't Jesus and last that I checked, yours ain't either.
I don't know if Ms. Fluke is what Rush Limbaugh says she is, certainly not for the reasons he cited. But it is a fact that this allegation came from a two time adulterer and drug addict. That's been confirmed.
P.S. It is obvious from that photo that Boehner had been crying again.
Thank you, Mr. Limbaugh. You have just given more votes to the Democratic Party than Warren Buffet did, by alienating every female voter in the country. You are a true genius. Thank you for being such a loyal Democrat and coming up with this brilliant idea. You should be the National Democratic Chairman. A true genius for our party.
Rush, seek help buddy.
Not surprising. This is bread and butter for Limbaugh. Every time he finds a way to be over the top and outrageous, he gets a little more publicity, which is what it is really all about. I think it's safe to say that, by now, everyone pretty much knows he's a conservative populist nutcake who has an appeal for a very narrow slice of the American political underbelly. Everyone slows down to ogle a car crash. Sooner or later, it's all going to catch up with him.
Left and Right wing talking heads are actively destroying public discourse in this country to line their pockets with hundreds of millions of dollars. I'm sorry, but in my book, someone who would aim to get rich at the expense of the fabric of our nation is not an American. They are not expressing an opinion, they are trafficking in hate. It is not enough to disagree with the other side, you have to hate them, see them as dangerous an threatening. Rush won't apologize, because in his sick and twisted mind, apology equals weakness. Someone needs to teach him what being a real man is all about.
Medications paid for, in part, by insurance companies are not free – – the person who is insured PAYS for that insurance & often must shell out a co-pay. I haven't heard anyone say that the insurance companies get PAID to provide service to those who are insured. Also – contraceptive medications are used for a wide range of medical conditions that do not necessarily relate to contraception at all. Should these uses of the hormonal preparations also be cut off from women? Clearly this discussion has left many cogent facts out. Will the insurance companies also be forbidden to provide Viagra & all of its "ilk" to men who "need" to have an erection? If contraception is a personal choice, surely the desire to have an erection is a personal choice, as well. Please clarify this for all to hear.
Is Limbaugh a closet Democrat? He has really done wonders for the Democrats!
Lumbaugh's comments go beyond free speech on the airways and are slanderous. I think there is ample evidence for a lawsuit at Rush, the network, and the sponsors. It's time somebody stood up to that buffoon.
Our side is bad but your's is, too. God I'm sick of that meme. Limbaugh is sickening. The Democrats trying to raise money during campaign season doesn't even come close.
as usual, cnn not giving all the facts...23yr old college student...ha ha...doesn't even look remotely 23...and u libs just suck it all up!!! She is a 30yr old political activist, who purposely enrolled in georgetown , just for this purpose!!! As usual, u libs were led to believe something totally different. can't u for once, get ur heads out of ur butts and a realize that u were played by barry and his pet rat pelosi.
So Prey Tell, Where is Palin while all this is happening? Oh, that's right, be quiet on women's issues sweetie if you wanna be an RNC candidate!
That's a way to stand up for the ladies GRIZZLY MOMMA!
Sounds like He's fresh back in town from a trip to South America! LMAO!
I think Palin QUIT on the LADIES too.
This guy doesn't like anybody. So he's a great RNC spokesperson. Sums up the whole party.
Limbaugh is an idiot, one that is full of himself and constantly seeks attention but none the less no more than an idiot. The right or wrong of contraception / abortion is not really the issue here; that really is something individuals need to seriously contemplate for themselves. What is the issue, that definitely represents something very wrong, that should never be tolerated, is allowing the sliding of religion into government. Religion should not dictate to government, to then have government dictate religion to the people – that is what you see in Iran and it is totally wrong and oppressive. You also see it in Saudi Arabia, other mideast countries and historically in England and throughout europe, which is what America correctly escaped. And it should be understood that one religion, be it Christianity or any other, won’t ever make it right. Not being religious or being religious, including the option of which religion, should always be strictly protected as an American’s individual choice. There are those now trying to have religious dictates be adopted and mandated by government and they really have to be firmly rejected by the people to assure America doesn’t have its basic freedoms deceptively undermined. As can be clearly seen, the consequences are drastic.
Rush is simply an uneducated, overweight, ugly racist who represents a dying party
Rush Limbaugh is getting exactly what he wanted. Free publicity. Much Like Ann Coulter, his female spin off in right wing hate mongering, if too much time goes by without them being in the news, they just have to say something outrageous and inappropriate and bingo, right back in the news. Why anyone listens to this guy is beyond me. Makes me wonder about the intelligence of the people who do.
Limbaugh is a loser.
Don't you people realize that Rush only does things like this for the attention? He's like a child who will do whatever it takes to get attention, be it positive or negative. Wanna know how to stop it? Stop giving him attention.
It's the same as when Trump announces he will run for president, and then never does. The gullible (mostly media outlets) fall for it every time.
Limbaugh is a disgusting pig and the Republican party should be ashamed to have such an idiot on their side! I hope he gets sued and is pushed off the radio. Surely there's no place for a person like this at the pearly gates as he has too much hate in his heart!!! I am SICK of the Repbulican party using women to advance their ignorance in office. It is demeaning, it is uncalled for, and I'm sure if you asked any of them to explain how a woman's reproductive system worked, you'd get a blank stare. So cut off their insurance funding to Viagra and vasectomies, and how about deny coverage to them for kidney stones so they can almost feel what its like to be in LABOR!!!