(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.
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
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.
Seattle Times supports Romney as 'default choice' ahead of caucuses
Paul flier hits the other candidates
Gingrich robo call labels Santorum 'union bosses' pal'
Michigan results provoke accusations, ire
Dang straight.. if you can't afford to pay for your own health care, don't ask me to pay for it.... instead, don't get sick
Hey, Bammer, I'm with you. Let there be no insurance coverage for the ol' E.D. problem and there'd be mushroom clouds everywhere!
Big mouth, no sense at all as usual with Rush. Politics aside, paid contraceptives pay for themselves by saving huge amount of money to the insurance companies for dealing with healthcare costs of unwanted pregnancies.
Goodness – the proposal currently is that the insurance companies pick up the birth control cost for free because it is cheaper for them than a pregnancy. The employer and employee pay the health insurance company premiums, not "us". The employers and Blunt bill want the employers to have the right not to pay health insurance premiums if they have a moral objection to any of the health care the health insurance covers – like birth control...or out-of-wedlock pregnancy, or any health care whatsoever if you are of that religious bent. BACK TO THE PUBLIC OPTION – the mandatory coverage provisions were bogus from the start.
And who paid for four-hundred year of FREE SLAVE LABOR AND FREE SLAVE HANDOUTS in this country? I guess no one because Rush Limbaugh's ancestors got it all for free!
Limbaugh is a legend. In his own mind. Not very good in controlling the way he talks.
Rush is an idiot and he knows this is not about taxpayers paying for anything. This is about what insurance companies pay for as health care. He is just after the money it will make him.
Boehner doesn't have the guts to tell Rush himself, he has a spokesman do it because he knows what Rush and his followers can do to him.
@Truth,,,spot on as usual. Rush was right, a spade is a spade. I think she should provide me with "services" if I were to ask, afterall, I have to pay for her birth control and promiscuity.
Calling Rush as idiot is an insult to idiot people!
Rush is just a pig who likes to throw morsels of red meat to his little piglets. The more outrageous his statements (just like his cohort Ms. Coulter), the better. Flame throwers like Rush and Coulter live for this type of incendiary language – it feeds some kind of sickness inside them that most of us cannot fathom. The world would be a better place if he would just go back to being an OC drug abuser, sleep all day and spare us his hyperbolic speech.
It's a sad day when the political discourse reaches this level. Imagine if that was your daughter he was referring to. Would you support him then? Don Imus was fired for referring to some of those on a young women's basketball team as nappy headed. Rush should not only be fired for this, he should be shunned by everyone on both the right and the left.
I believe the term for this is "troll." and as everyone knows, the best way to fight a troll is to ignore him.
I could have sworn women did have access to contraception. This woman's tales of the financial ruination of her friends and associates is nice fiction, but wal-mart offers birth control for $10 for a three month supply. The only newsworthy aspect of this topic is the obama administrations demand that Church's go against their long standing beliefs and provide it for their employees. The most offensive remarks I have heard on this subject came from Barbara Boxer and her accusation that the church is lying to save money.
Here's the blatant stupidity of the left. If you fools want us to pay for the pill under healthcare (which is still wrong on it's face) then you shouldn't be selling it as birth control at all. The pill is known to regulate the "cycle" as well, and if you want the bunch of idiot cavemen you paint us to be to be on board start talking about how we'll be able to predict the timing of our wives "Monthly visit" and we'll throw money at it.
Limbaugh is still alive? I thought he died about 6 months ago.
He's been divorced 3 times...yet he judges others for making choices with their personal life.
Limpbaugh has been a pig since he got fired from KFBK in Sacramento over 30 years ago. Why anyone would listen to this drug addled idiot is beyond me. It is a sad day for our country when this windbag gets so much attention for being so offensive. Maybe he should change his name to Joe Mcarthy
Limbaugh represents many in the Republican party: No class, no shame, no dignity. The party of the dumb people, and it is incredible that this exists on such a large scale. Civil discourse doesn't exist anymore, just screaming and insulting.
Oh stupid Republicans- I think Sarah Palin infused a higher level of stupidity in the party. I cannot belieive where they have gone- though I must say, it makes me sooooo happy-
kdw31, actually, viagra is used for some heart conditions, including in infants.
Incredible Mr Speaker! You don't owe any response to the media! I don't see any response from Obama everytime Michael Moore or Bill Mahre say something stupid, which is pretty much constantly.
Absolutely raise money off of it. Use it to pressure Limbaugh's advertisters to drop him. Anything to get that disgusting, vile person off the air. How can people stand behind a pig like him?
I just don't understand why the conservative religious right are able to get away with such hypocracy! It's ok for the religious people to push their religious beliefs upon women working for them by denying them their basic health care rights, but when the government tries to force them to provide these women with these needs, suddenly it's not ok to force religious beliefs upon them and their church! TOTAL HYPOCRACY!
I think Rush just made a strong case for both contraception and abortion.
Rush Limbaugh should be FIRED for this remark-It is Beyond the Pale and should be considered slander-And he did this on a national radio program-FIRED! FIRED! FIRED!!!!