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. Ray E. (Georgia)

    It's a Hell Of a way to run a Railroad eh! Don't anybody take responsibility for themselves anymore??? Now somebody has to pay the bills. Somebody has to make the Railroads run on time. SOMEBODY has to fill the grocery shelves. They don't fill themselves. So women, provide your own concerpetives, don't ask me to do it !!!!

    March 2, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  2. Elbert

    Dance This Mess Around SAYS: "Keep chipping away republicans, till you have destroyed your party.
    Lets see, at last count you have alienated: Democrats. Independants. Moderate Republicans. Woman. Gays. The Elderly. Blacks. Hispanics. Protestants. The poor. Have i left anybody out ?"

    As matter of fact you have: Socialists, Communists, Fascists, Progressives, Liberals, Femi-Nazis, Nazis, Racists, and everyone else who agrees with you agenda!

    Cheers! 🙂

    March 2, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  3. Independent in NC

    Rush is in his fourth marriage. Does he have any children? He is the perfect examplef why birth control is needed.

    March 2, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. jerry cc

    I hope being in college she is using rubbers. I shouldn't hare to pay for college kids pills much less rubbers. What's next beer money from the govt?

    March 2, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  5. Nodack

    I can't believe this guy still has an audience, but then again the worlds filled with mean, intolerant, gullible people looking for a person to tell them who to hate.

    March 2, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  6. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    BobNAlabama - Fluke should sue Limbaugh, so that he curtails his libelous remarks in the future.
    Now that WOULD be special! Then Rush would get to prove she is one during discovery and open court and win the case. Then sue HER for court costs!! She'd better speak to all her boyfriends before she goes down this road.

    March 2, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  7. Wade

    Drugs, Illegal Immigration, abortion, aids, euthanasia,,,,,don't liberals just kill ya!

    March 2, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. Orwell proven

    “misogynistic, vitriolic and a misrepresentation"
    Don't forget fascist.

    March 2, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  9. Joeymom

    That anyone would not see Limbaugh's comments as offensive and deliberately slanderous- and not speak up and defend Ms. Fluke from them, whether you agree with her or not- is a really sad statement about our society. Just by trying to sidestep making comment on such behavior, the Republicans are making it clear what our country will be like if they continue to win elections.

    March 2, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. jerry cc

    I wish women in college were like her back when I went.

    March 2, 2012 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. Bubba

    "where are the stories about the vulgar things that were said (yesterday) about Andrew Breibart " Breibart was a skunk of a man and should be buried in a pile of pig guts. Sandra Fluke is a college kid who was on tv once. See the difference? Every word they said about Breitbart was true; power-crazed cokehead lying his way to the top of the garbage pile; he took the easy way out so he didn't have to see Shirley Sherrod take his house in the lawsuit. Nothing your Great God Rush said about Fluke was true, and that's why Rush is probably going to be paying her a lot of money soon. You can slam a public figure like Rush, but not a private citizen like Fluke or Sherrod.

    March 2, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  12. CTexas

    Rush Limbaugh serves no useful purpose to society execept the following:
    1) line his pockets with cash
    2) sell advertising for the media.

    Limbaugh's value as a political mentor to the American people is ZERO.

    March 2, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  13. Jack

    I think it's kind of neat that the Republicans want a small, exclusive, very celibate, very religious club. Good for them. For the rest of us we'll deal with the real world outside in the 21st century.

    March 2, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. awasis

    Pill popping pumpkin head.

    March 2, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  15. bullock w

    I said warning to boehemer what about fraud check scam from afrcian amercian so who people recived check from fraud check scam with afrcian amercian so people would like cheat support vote for presdient obama 2012 from fraud check scam
    My friend was report to police about fraud check scam

    March 2, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |

    GOBP wingnuts never talk about Oil company welfare. I wonder why?

    March 2, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  17. JWR

    to jerry cc: Obviously you have no clue about the use of the "pill" in its ability to fight off ovarian cancer. You fail to understand that the "pill" helps women from the early teens to adult women to battle SEVERELY HARSH cramps. Each woman in your family should have free access or don't you care about them.

    March 2, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  18. Jim in PA

    NEWSFLASH: Fat ugly Republican men are very very angry at all of the women that won't sleep with them.

    March 2, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. AL in West Palm Beach

    Republicans stand with me:

    Since VIAGRA is not needed for any health-related issues....INSURANCE companies, no matter what affiliation, shouldn't have to pay for your BOENHER....

    March 2, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  20. Geo

    A little odd in this day and age that women's health should be a political issue. The Right seems to have little respect for their own mothers, sisters, daughters, wives/girlfriends. No class these people. No class at all. Human trash.

    March 2, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  21. Lisa R

    Guess Limbaugh hasn't gotten enough attention lately.
    Bet they cover Viagra...

    March 2, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  22. aaron

    But 2 ton Rush didn't have any problems getting prescription drugs for his own jollies.....likely paid for by an insurance plan.

    March 2, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  23. Regis990

    @Joshua @inch Way to completely ignore what Limbaugh said to further your own personal hate for the President. Nice.

    March 2, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  24. aaron

    How do you supposedly intelligent people suppose that the government is paying for the birth control? It's a Jesuit university. The students would have to pay premiums for the health insurance on their own.

    March 2, 2012 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  25. maggie

    What's next, jerry? shots for your kids? pshaw. Pay for them yourself.

    March 2, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
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