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.

- 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.

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. Truth And Nothing But The Truth

    This country was better off when woman stayed home and raised kids.
    Now they think they can wear pants.
    They should all shut up and get back in the kitchen.
    Time to turn back the clock.

    March 2, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  2. Doug

    Rush, still a better human being in the eyes of every god due to their scripture of decency and integrity than every dem posting here.

    March 2, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. Jane

    @George Town Door Knob: I am so tempted to get a screencap of your comment and send it to the authorities so that Ms.Fluke can also sue your sorry ass for slander and defamation of character. Of course, you're too cowardly to actually use your name to spew your filth, so she may have to include you (and CNN) in a class action suit. Also, Georgetown is one word, you moron.

    March 2, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  4. rob

    @Stacie Ricci
    Well said. There really are no questions about this non issue beyond your great post but that won't stop the Dems and all their friends in the media from ignoring the facts and how stupid their position is.

    March 2, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  5. M Houston

    @ dave
    It isn't the truth that liberals "hate". Its the vicious demagoguery of GOP propagandists like Limbaugh that is "hated".

    March 2, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. J

    Stacie Ricci

    A few givens: Fluke is promiscuous. Fluke wants someone else to take responsibility for her promiscuity. Fluke could have gone to a university that provides free contraceptives to its promiscuous students. She CHOSE to go to a Catholic college. Any questions?


    Yes, just one....did you even watch Ms. Fluke's testimony?

    March 2, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  7. Sfinch

    i keep wondering why is reproduction such a big deal. If republicans want smaller government why are they prying into the private lives of the citizens. This is not a federal issue, not at its root, the ability to choose when a person will reproduce is a personal decision. Wether not that means religious right waiting on God or the left with whatever stratagy they use.

    March 2, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  8. denise

    Wonder what would happen if all of the condoms were taken off the shelves? Come on men, what would you do?

    March 2, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  9. VictoryGin

    @roadwarrior...choke on a bag of d#%ks, troll.

    March 2, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  10. angryersmell

    THE POPULATION DOES NEED TO BE CONTROLLED YOU IGNORANT SAPS! There are way too many of you, and not enough food to go around. Be fruitful AND multiply, as in do BOTH, not one or the other. Get it through your thick, backward, brainwashed skulls: people are going to keep doing it, and people NEED to stop having babies, because it's not like there's a shortage of them. What's that? You don't want to help pay a few dollars a month for her contraception? But you DO want to potentially pay millions for the expenses of her child over it's lifetime? Sometimes people are so stupid, it's frightening.

    March 2, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  11. Jane

    @Stacie Ricci: A few givens – – Stacie Ricci is an idiot. Stacie Ricci is a self-hating misogynist. There, I fixed your entry.

    March 2, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  12. Taran

    @Tom Paine, Not really excusing the right. I just feel pretty strongly about this issue and I think Rush is right on this one, though usually he is a little extreme for me. To me, PPH with their abortion support, and this making insurance companies provide contraceptives (except for legitimate medical reasons) only encourages promiscuity. And what do you call girls that are promiscuous?(sp), the word Rush used. At least that is what we called them my whole life.

    March 2, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  13. DeTamble


    How about the Dems apologize for something Jon Stewart says or Bill Maher?

    I dont recall Stewart or Maher calling anybody a s/lut.
    You dont get it do you ?
    Typical republican.

    March 2, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. Brad

    Remember the book, Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot. Enough said...

    March 2, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  15. Mel You

    As a woman, I'm disappointed in how cowed Republican women are. They are afraid to stand up against Limbaugh and the Republican party even when it comes to their own basic rights as women.Disagreeing with Limbaugh publicly would not mean they agree with liberals. It would mean that they will defend women. If conservative women will not defend women's rights, they cannot complain when American women depend on liberal women to do it. Nor can they complain that women as a group are "brainwashed" or anything else when they tilt towards the party that protects their interests. Self-defense is common sense. Either conservative women get in on doing that ... or they get left behind with the men of their party who don't understand that full democracy belongs to us all.

    March 2, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  16. BinMesa

    So Boehner thinks it is wrong to fund raise using Limpy's comments as a reason to notice the Republican party is fighting (with words and legislation) againt women and others. Please Boehner – give me a break. Where do I contribute! The Republican party is being run by the crazy and mentally deprived. The sane segment of the party will soon be going crazy trying to figure out what to do about it.

    March 2, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  17. GBM

    Aside from the 4% of the American population that listens to this hater, he is an irrelevant force. Best course of action is to ignore him and his ilk altogether.

    March 2, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  18. Jim

    Limbaugh knows EXACTLY what he is doing. He knows that most women and practically all men will simply sit back in their usual lazy way and watch the proceedings instead of getting up off their lazy behinds and actually taking some kind of positive action to have this man soundly and permanently rebuked for such idiotic comments. Note the seeming lack of action towards congress when the vast majority of congressional bills this term have dealt with putting women down. They want them back in their place and they know the american public does not have the money, will or time to deal with them. Now if a few of them got "unelected" this year for taking part in this antiwoman crusade, maybe THAT would hit home.But I really don't think they care who says what about them.

    March 2, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. WLF23

    Rush was wrong – period. But 50 milliom woman between 19 and 35. At $3K per person thats $150,000,000,000. Sure, we can afford that. Sounds like the pharmaceutical lobby has been working over time.

    Supply it to the women who have medical issues, the others, your on your own.

    March 2, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    I believe we really should recognize what Rush is. A verbose offensive sensationalist entertainer who prattles on to the un-informed masses. Sad thing is his listeners seem to think this ill-informed man is to be taken seriously.

    March 2, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. DeTamble

    Another stupid typical republican MORON response.
    You guys really are as stupid as you sound.


    I can't believe nobody seems to have a problem with the gall of a student demanding someone subsidize her promiscuity.

    March 2, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  22. JohnRJohnson

    Boehner doesn't have the courage or the brains to criticize Limbaugh himself, so he has an aide do it for him. This way, he can later claim that the spokesman got it all wrong.

    March 2, 2012 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  23. Zii

    I believe we really should recognize what Rush is. A verbose offensive sensationalist entertainer who prattles on to the un-informed masses. Sad thing is his listeners seem to think this ill informed man is to be taken seriously.

    March 2, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  24. Former GOP

    All these comments from a confessed drug addict, what a bunch of bunk.

    March 2, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  25. Thomas

    A snail has more of a spine then House Speaker John Boehner.

    March 2, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
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