First on CNN: Boehner hits Limbaugh's comments as 'inappropriate'
March 2nd, 2012
10:59 AM ET
10 years ago

First on CNN: Boehner hits Limbaugh's comments as 'inappropriate'

(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.

Also see:

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

Filed under: Congress • Health care • House • John Boehner • Rush Limbaugh
soundoff (1,332 Responses)
  1. ryan

    The GOP clown car has officially gone over the cliff. The death-nail be cometh in November.

    March 2, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  2. joe republic

    while i agree with rush about why a woman who is paying $40,000 a year to attend georgetown u. needing the nanny state to provide for her promiscuity as a pin cushion. he and the repub's need to smarten up and stop playing right out of the dnc handbook on how to lose an election by getting side track. what started out as an attack by this regime (obama) the repub's have engaged down a losing road by going into people's bedroom. stay focused on obama's failures as a leader and not on this meaningless subject!

    March 2, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. Joe

    Why do all of the Libtards have their panties in a bunch over Boehner? It was Limbaugh who said it. Last time I check Limbaugh was not working for Boehner. Limbaugh was the one who made the comparison which I believe is ridiculous however I agree that taxpayers should NOT be paying for contraception period! That should not be the roll of government and is one of the many problems with Liberals today. They think the government has a responsibility to pay for everything. That is what has been slowly killing this country for a long time bringing us now to the brink!

    March 2, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  4. stephen

    If you go to walmart you can get a months supply of birth control pills for 5 dollars. At that rate it should only cost 240 dollars for a 4 years supply of birth control pills. If the women at Georgetown Law School are spending 3000 dollars then they must be buying 2760 dollars worth of condoms over 4 years. At a dollar per condom that is 2760 condoms, but there are only 1460 days in a 4 year period. These ladies need to find a different way of entertaining themselves.

    March 2, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. fidgetwidget

    If this subhuman had two brain cells to rub together it would be a miracle. Those of his ilk have given what was once a respectable political party a major black eye.

    March 2, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  6. ah292801

    I laugh that so many on here call limbaugh bad names because that's what he did to get mentioned in the story. All those who call him names are more like limbaugh than any true progressive. We need to start living what we preach.

    March 2, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. Laverne

    The problem with Rush Limbaugh did not start with his recent comments. The republicans/conservative radio listeners have tolerated this grotez individual for long, he thinks he can say anything he damn well please and get away with it! It all boils down to the fact that Mr. pill popper has over 20 millions followers and bring lots of money so of course they are too afraid to say or do anything about it. It always comes down to the almight dollar!

    March 2, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  8. Really?

    For those who think insurance should not cover birth control. Where do we draw the line? The effect of including birth control drugs on premiums is miniscule compared to the costs that we "all " pay for people that "choose" to smoke, drink and overeat. Those are all entirely lifestyle choices. Why should the rest of us have to pay for diabetes meds, lung cancer drugs, liver transplants by way of higher premiums? I'd be willing to bet that people on the same insurance plan as Limbaugh are paying for his Lipitor and Viagra. Why is that? Birth control when being prescribed as a contraceptive prevents expensive prenatal care, obstetrical costs and pediatric care as well as abortions. How hypocritical.
    This is just another fabricated issue being used to rile up the sheeple.

    March 2, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  9. Dave

    its labeled "respectful free expression" if I agree....otherwise no one's allowed to call it like they see it anymore....whatever happened to opions...looks like all anyone does anymore is apologize for their opinion. thanks Rush for the stones ti call things like you see them !

    March 2, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    My health insurance is mine, not my employers. I earned it as part of my employment package in lieu of a full salary. If my employer does not want the insurance company that they contracted with to pay for my medical needs, then my employer can pay me in cash the portion of my salary that currently pays for my health coverage and I will purchase my own health insurance. Then there will be no issues concerning the employers religious beliefs and what medical insurance will cover and there will be nothing to apologize for or excuses for name calling. Problem solved.
    YEAH! YEAH!! And you should IMMEDIATELY go to your employer and DEMAND this right NOW!! And then report back to us how you like it in the unemployment line. Honestly, what alternate universe are you from?!!

    March 2, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  11. TiredODaCrap

    Cute....You don't hear every inflamatory comment that Keith Olberman or Bill Maher throw out there bantered about in the news on a daily basis. Having heard those two go at conservatives, this particular comment is nothing different than what the left throws out daily.
    By the way, when did Rush begin "setting the conservative agenda"? Most of us know he's a media blowhard who's only throwing out his comments as a way to keep his name in the news. Funny that the liberal media hasn't figured out that if they ignore is tired ramblings, he'd be gone in a few weeks!

    March 2, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  12. Jane

    "Inappropriate"?? Could Boehner BE any more craven and wishy washy? How about Actionable. I hope Ms. Fluke sues Limbaugh for defamation of character and leaves him with no money to buy his oxycontin and litle boys in the Dominican Republic.

    March 2, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  13. wallster

    The right has placed the golden microphone in front of Rush to promote their agenda. How dare Mr. Boehner criticize Rush for carrying their torch. This entire platform, (denying women contraception) for ANY reason was voted on in the Senate and ALL Republicans voted for the right to allow any employer to deny their female employees contraceptive coverage if they feel it impedes on their personal moral judgement. The righties (including Boehner) OWN THIS and whether he doesn't like the way Rush said it is not important because he's only delivering the republican parties message.

    March 2, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  14. A callahan

    The above comment." I pay my insurance" pretty much sums it up. This is not about people having the government pay for their contraceprives. It is about having the plans they dontribute to pay for ALL perscriptions that their doctors consider appropriate...ALL. Where is the ethical reference to be found for one individual deciding to limit access, that someone has paid for, to something a physician has deemed necessary. We are talking about insurance which has been paid for, by direct payment and/ or as part of a compensation package. Employrrs are not "paying" for anything. Insurance is paid by the employee, So why is there any right for an employer to have reservations regarding what the employee wants.

    March 2, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  15. Truth And Nothing But The Truth

    Why is this s:lut in front of congress.
    Why is she wasting there time ?
    Tell her to get a job and get her lazy libral azz off welfare.
    Who do these freeloaders think they are anyway ?
    Obamas socialist policies are driving this country into the ground.
    Round up all Dems and put them in camps.

    March 2, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. Matthew

    What's wrong with what Rush said? Disturbing is paying for someone else's $3000 contraceptive bill.

    March 2, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. joe republic

    the white house and the left wants this to be about taking away a woman's right. but obama knows this is an attack on the 1st amendment. and what did the repub's do? they fell into this quagmire, when they should of kept the main focus on the 1st amendment! that's why santorum lost michigan. he got stupid and paid for it! stay focused gop and don't play into their stupidity!

    March 2, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. jude

    this guy like dead andy have been destructive to community, civility and country. rich off hateful, very naive folks that scare easy. folks who have now become comfortable expressing hate in public...pure ignorance. the repub clan has really taken a dive to trashville. maybe it always was there...just wearing purty clothes to cover the stink.

    March 2, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  19. A callahan

    Limbaugh is a pig, clearly he is encious of his prime position in the pig hierarchy amd attempts on a regular basis to enhance his piggery

    March 2, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  20. Turn the Other...

    maybe she will sue... she is a lawyer.

    March 2, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    lol, rush, too funny! i love the way you degrade all these solemn, self-righteous clowns. go get 'em.....

    March 2, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  22. ted

    the GOP has no shame.

    March 2, 2012 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  23. Flinkin

    I underdstand the outrage and agree that Rush is one of the worst characters our culture has ever seen, but giving him all this attention is exactly what he wants, and he's laughing all the way to the bank. Maybe it's unrealistic, but I wish he could be ignored, instead.

    March 2, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  24. harbharb

    That young woman has grounds to sue Limbaugh for slander and should do just that. They'll try to settle but she also should ask for a public apology.

    March 2, 2012 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  25. Steven

    Inappropriate! Inappropriate!!? Not even close to what it was. This young lady has more class and intelligence then Rush will ever have in his life. The FCC needs to fine him for his obscene mouth that only spouts hate.

    March 2, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
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