(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 think it's funny that republicans can fund raise on all kinds of stupid statements but when someone else does it it's inappropriate.
I believe Boehner only if he cries.
Can't afford birth contro!l? LMAO!!
Where do I send a donation, this girl obviously doesn't need children..
@I fear for this country's future - Can anyone explain why I have to pay for your kids health problems?
Rush doesn't understand the concept of insurance. She's not saying she should be paid for the contraceptives, she's saying her premium paid should cover it. I'm going to call my health insurance company right now and see if they will amend my policy to cover my out-of-pocket and legal costs to go kick Limbaugh in the teeth. He would probably ask his dental insurance to cover the necessary dental work, so he obviously wants to be paid to be an idiot.
Isn't it funny that the liberals and Democrats are always COMPLAINING about the right intruding into people lives and bedrooms yet they DEMAND that we PAY to facilitate what happens in there! Yeah, just one more example of the leftists "Party on dude, I'll send YOU the bill." entitlement program.
I don't think Mr. Limbaugh even quoted part of her speech. She was specifically talking about a student who was denied contraceptive meds she needed for control of an ovarian cyst. I agree with someone above who mentioned poor people having babies because of the cost of birth control, and that is certainly true. Raising these children on food stamps, lunch programs at schools, welfare...all cost more than a prescription of birth control pills.
It also seems that only men are the ones who side with Mr. Limbaugh. Why is that? What would happen if women decided to make the use of Viagra and Cialis the subject of congressional hearings? And as far as I know, these drugs are only enhancers for sexual activity, with no known health benefits, unlike contraceptive drugs which help woman with hormonal issues, etc.
As always, this is a case of the government's intervention in an area in which it has no business.
I guess noone really listens to Rush on this blog. His use of hyperbole is part of his show. He had right wingers foaming at the mouth when he said he had a major announcement. He annouced he was Pro Choice! After a time of mad callers he explained he is pro choice, and chooses Life!
So let me get this straight.....an admitted "pill head" feels he's in a position to question the moral compass of someone else? As my Grandfather use to say, "it's best not to speak of the lumps in someone else's potatoes until you get the lumps out of your own. Rush, you are a narcissist and a blow hard. Worry about your own yard.
And conservatives wonder why the rest of us see them a dimwitted.
We can afford to give rich white guys (Romney) nice tax breaks, but not support contraception. Another reason why, for the first time, I will be voting the straight Democratic ticket.
Contraceptives are not only used as a method of birth control. They can also be used to help regulate the menstrual cycle and ease the discomforts of such. Something you obviously know nothing about! Women who use birth control are not sluts Mr. Limbaugh! Why should men have their Viagra medicine covered by health insurance and women not have their birth control medicine covered?
I strongly recommend that the people who believe Limbaugh look into the facts. The birth control was for a medical condition relating to cysts in a friends ovaries. Her friend couldn't afford the medication and thus the condition worsened.
Why don't you people try living with cysts in your testes (balls) without treatment? Hurts more than you can imagine and I bet you'd change your mind very quickly!
Sorry to appear uninformed, but I did not see the testimony before the committee. Who exacly is Rush Limbaugh, and was his testimony before or after the student mentioned in the article? If it was before, there may be facts in evidence to support his conclusion, but when testifying before a Congressional committee, one would think one would use more appropriate language. If it was after, possibly it was based on facts presented during the student's testimony. We need more information here.
All these people saying, we shouldn't have to pay for someone else's birth control, you do realize that is NOT what this is about. Its about insurance companies covering BC without a copay. This is a WIN for the insurance companies because a few dollars a month for pills is nothing compared to what they have to pay for baby and mother healthcare! Covering preventative services and BC will end up SAVING taxpayers money, and ultimately, if the insurance companies are honest, will reduce our premiums!!!
"The number one cause for reductions in Abortions in America? Birth Control. That, my friends, is a stone cold fact."
Whle that is true, that's not the opint of what these people want. It's simple math, really. In their minds:
Prohibiting abortion + prohibiting contraception = more white people/more catholics (depends on which crowd we're takling about).
Of course, that too is crazy talk, because white is being out-reproduced by brown on a grand scale and the country is going "brown" whether the racists like it or not. As for the catholic church and its obsession with trying to increase membership...meh...they're getting beaten silly by the reproduction rate in countries with muslim, hindu and other populations.
"Limpbaugh" has the same attitude towards women as most Republicans. He believes Sandra is nothing more than a chattel and deserves no personal rights or respect. Ms Fluke, get your study group busy putting together a defamation of character suit. Let Mr. Limbaugh put his money where his demeaning mouth is.
If you're in the practice of 'unleashing your dogs of war', that's cool..just know that your own dogs will bit you sometimes...
Rush is a dancing bear. Ignore him (deprive him of oxygen) and he'll disappear. Ratings. Let's discuss someone relevent!
I agree with Rush. This woman should be ashamed that she's asking the government to subsidize her promiscuity. Let's call a Spade a Spade.
Can anyone think of a single reason for rush limbaugh? A reason why anyone would listen to anything he says. A reason for his existence?
As a white female I had no idea what really goes on in the Republican mind/heart/political pary. After hearing what the Republican candidates have to say over the last few months reading about the conservative judges childish and racists email, and now the Limbaugh remarks towards a femail law student I almost can't believe it. Obviously I have been living in a different world.
Republicans need to realize very soon that this issue of birth control is a big loser for them in the general election. Is the platform going to be: only rich people can have sex?? If the medieval-conservatives get to hold the microphone for the next few months, the election is lost to Obama.
The actions and words of these men are so immature. Really? He can't think of a better way to say "I disagree with her stance" than to libel and slander her character? What is he a middle-school bully trying to frighten her into shutting up? "If you don't agree with what I think, then I'll call you a whore and a slut and everyone will believe me and no one will like you anymore and your reputation will be trashed." Gentlemen, grow the hell up!
As long as he keeps saying stuff like that, we should not have to worry about him breeding. Mainly because no woman with an ounce of self respect would get within a mile of him.
Why couldn't Boehner stand in front of the camera and condemn Limbaugh's comments – why send out a spokesperson.