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. Joefrom bflo

    It is amazing the number of hateful, misogynistic comments this woman's testimony has provoked. It is a cliche to say "if only men got pregnant" but the fact is that it's men who do not get it on this issue.

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

    Ahhh.... Obama the master of deflection. Knowing that this is a powderkeg issue for him Obama fpocuses on the comment versus the reality of the taking away people's religious freedom. It may work on the obots, but it won't work on thinking Americans.

    March 2, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  3. Wes

    There would have been a time, possibly a better time of moral character and honor, when people such as Mr. Limbaugh would be chastised, castigated and set apart from proper society to endure the harshness of raw emotional refute, and he would find no quarter nor audience to abide his porcine appearance, glutenous manner, and obscene notions to inflame and insult all humans.

    March 2, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  4. Nudge


    His comments were inappropriate. But Obama passed ObamaCare. Why isn't she on her parents insurance?

    Because it hasnt gone into affect yet, moron.
    Dont you people read ?

    March 2, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  5. MashaSobaka

    It really boggles my mind that so many people do not realize that birth control is about more than preventing pregnancy. Good Lord, you people are idiot.

    March 2, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  6. Marion

    someone said: "The bigger problem here is that people are taking Rush Limbaugh seriously".

    This is not about Rush Limbaugh. This is about his millions of viewers who do "take him seriously". Since Boehner knows this, that is why he is following along and slamming him. Hypocritical to say the least.

    And then you have this comment at end of article: "This is really not about contraception, a private matter," Maldonado said. "Liberals are confusing the issue."

    LOL. 'LIBERALS are confusing the issue"? It is about how the Catholic church, and other clergy, just don't want to pay extra premiums for coverage that would include "free contraceptives". It is about MONEY and has nothing to do with the government wanting to take away their "religious freedoms", while their congregations are laughing at them. If their congregations don't want to use contraceptives, they have every right they always had to exercise that. No one is "forcing" them to use contraceptives or get them for free through their health insurance if they don't believe in using them. And the Republicans going along with it on the grounds that it is an interference of "rights of conscience", by "liberals" and Obama. As a matter of fact, millions of Catholics use the church isn't doing a very good job of indoctrinating them, are they?

    March 2, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  7. Steve

    Why is everyone in the Republican party so afraid to take a postion against Rush Limbaugh? It's embarrassing. If it wasn't for the starch in their shirts, there'd be nothing keeping those people erect.

    March 2, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. Mike on the Gulf

    Republicians will not condemn Rush. I think RUSH is in control of the republicanparty and they are afraid to go against their real boss.

    March 2, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  9. SophieCat

    You people are going to have to lower your expectations and stop getting your knickers all in a twist over anything Limbaugh says.

    What can you expect from a drug-addicted pain pill popper? He's strung out and has been for years. He's out of is mind and we all know it. He's a caricature of everything he stands for.

    March 2, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. Dlstew001

    It sure seems to me that you GOP bashers need to do some reading and studying up on just what the Republicans stand for instead of just repeating what the ultra lefties tell you.

    The words Rush used wasn't the best choice but he isn't wrong. We shoudl be paying for her contraceptives???? WTH?

    Do you all really feel that the US being a welfare state is a good thing? Somehow this us vs them crap has really twisted the world around... seriously, good Democratic PArty and then Republican Party.... but, alas, I doubt any of you want to know the truth that might contradict your tiny view of the world.

    March 2, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  11. Bud

    Where is Obamas morality and ethics when the mayor of Los Ageles cheats on his wife,, Where is Obamas morality and ethics when a black person calls another the" N" word! Where is Obamas morality and ethics when unions make it hard to fire employees /teachers for molesting children or not doing there jobs right and paying them outrages salaries that we cant afford. where is Obamas morality and ethics when he lies to us about he cant do anything about gas prices when he can put an export tax on our gas and increase out put in the gulf build the pipeline and more refineries and create jobs .he doesnt think that the speculators wont speculate that the gas prices will come down?Biggest cheat president of all time!

    March 2, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. Nudge

    Ray E. (Georgia)

    So women, provide your own concerpetives, don't ask me to do it !!!!

    Concerpetives ?
    Oh, i see.
    He is from Georgia.
    Never mind.

    March 2, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. Lainie11

    You told me to post a comment, yet you won't show it. What gives?

    March 2, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  14. Dave

    LMAO Rush, the republican standard of family values. Rush, college drop-out who criticizes President Obama, Harvard Graduate and Editor of the Harvard Law Review. Rush, collects his paycheck from Bain and supports Santorum to Romney's face. Great going GOP.

    March 2, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  15. Marion

    I was "flagged" the other day because I used the word "moron" in a post, I guess. I kept submitting it because I couldn't believe that was why my comment was "awaiting moderation" for using that word. So then you flagged my comment and now I cannot post at all.

    March 2, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  16. Steve

    oho Is John going to have to retract his statement because the "Base" will be upset that he critized Rush?

    March 2, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  17. Lainie11

    So much for comments not being pre-screened as you state below. It isn't true.

    March 2, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  18. Hornet

    Rush's mocking of Michael J. Fox effectively handed Claire McCaskill her Missouri Senate seat. Repubs might need to consider whether he dooes more harm than good.

    March 2, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  19. Marion

    Steve asks: Steve
    Why is everyone in the Republican party so afraid to take a postion against Rush Limbaugh? It's embarrassing. If it wasn't for the starch in their shirts, there'd be nothing keeping those people erect.

    Don't you see......they don't want to alienate the millions of Rush Limbaughs viewers.

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

    He was being as ridiculous as she was. People who trash Limbaugh dont really listen to what he says. And by the way, does anyone demand Maher to account for the filthy vomit that comes out of his filthy racist mouth? I know, I want my auto insurance to pay for my car washes. Because I am in danger when my windshield is dirty and I cant see through it. Do you see how this can magnify? Contraception will not cease to be produced if faith based organizations dont pay for it. Work elsewhere, school elsewhere or join the military if you want zero responsibility for your own health. I bet she has a laptop and a good phone. I can save you a fortune, dont have relationships with men until you can afford the consquences or prevent the consequences.

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

    @ citizen, thank you. And no one is talking about the cruddy economy either. He is the master of changing the subject

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

    Hmmm. When that Congressman shouted out "You lie!" during President Obama's State of the Union address a couple years ago, I didn't hear Republicans saying it was "inappropriate" for that Congressman to accept over $1 million that poured into his office. If Don Imus can lose his show over slanderous remarks about women, why can't Limbaugh?

    March 2, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  23. get real people

    Love how some morons are defending this idiot. Oh it's Obama's fault somehow "deflecting" the public away from real issues.

    Wait a minute...Rush SAID THIS...EVERYONE is reporting it, how the hell is it anyone's fault but his own. Have any of you who are complaining about the healthcare bill actually READ IT? If you would have, you would have realized that the overall idea was to get government OUT OF healthcare and make costs more affordable for everyone.

    Keep living in your fantasy world though were Obama is the boogieman and everything Rush says is just fine and it's some "liberal" conspiracy that's the problem. used ot be people who thought like that wouldn't have a radio show they would be in Bellevue taking the rorschach test every day...

    What do you see here? Obamacare

    Lets move on to Picture #2 what do you see here? Liberal Conspiracy

    Ok last question what is this a picture of? Phony Birth certificate.

    Doctor we need to up this patients dosage!

    March 2, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  24. PTBarnumboy

    And Rush makes millions more for his efforts. Every crowd has a silver lining don't ya know!!!!

    March 2, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  25. catie

    @ nudge, you are wrong. My nephew just got on my sisters health insurance and he is 24.

    March 2, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
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