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. one cheer for Boehner

    Well, at least one Repug is trying to save his pathetic party. Keep this up and these wackjobs will be in tatters come Nov.

    March 2, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  2. foreverwar

    I'm surprised Speaker Boehner took a stand on this. He should try doing the right thing more often, it might grow on him.

    March 2, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  3. mcskadittle

    The Republican leadership really needs to put a leash on him, he hurt republican candidates chances today. Every attack on women by the republicans is a victory for Obama

    March 2, 2012 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  4. dave

    I am amazed that some Rush says is a bigger story on CNN than the news that President Obama's health care overhaul law have ballooned by $111 billion from last year's budget. Well then, maybe I'm not. I sure don't hand onto every word Rush says, or Oberman for that matter. They are talking heads looking for ratings, and have no more political (voting) power than you or I.

    March 2, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  5. GEETO

    I'd like to thank Rush Limbaugh for finishing the job that Rick Santorum started. Now we can all rest assured that no woman in her right mind will vote Republican.

    March 2, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  6. Exodus

    I had a long discussion with a fervent religious republican the other day. To say we had a difference of opinion on this topic would be an understatement. Somehow we managed to start a constructive dialogue that lasted for many hours, the heart of which was both of us trying to understand how in the world we each could think how we did.

    I would like to share with you what we discovered. It was an eye opener for me and it was for him as well.

    The fundamental basis of worldview that will forever prohibit agreement on this topic is a single assumption.

    For the Religious Republican it is that the bible is the law and cannot be refuted. The law of the land, ie American law, is subordinate to the bible. Thus, any conflict that interferes with the principles set forth in the bible, including the spreading of the faith, is interference with the exercising of religious freedom.

    For myself, a moderate and a reformed republican, American law provides for religious freedoms of all religions, and none should have preferential treatment over any other. The principles of the bible, and any other faith, are subordinate to freedom and equality for everyone to practice or not practice their faith or lack of faith in any way they see fit. Under this conceptual umbrella, one person or organization cannot dictate to another person what they can or cannot do based upon that first persons belief set may be.

    March 2, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  7. D

    Calling the Tan Man's comment a "hit" is like calling warm water "tea".

    March 2, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  8. MaryM

    Gloria Allred is on her way to see Sandra Fluke as of today. (Gloria Allred is a high profile attorney)

    March 2, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  9. bullock w

    I said mocked out of presdient obama what about fraud check scam from afrcian amercian

    March 2, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  10. LYN

    If the college student Ms Fluke is 26 or less, she can be on her parents med policy if either parent has one. This provision of Obamacare took effect already. Birth control pills are so cheap that anyone can afford them. $5 amonth if you have certain med ins or a bit more if you don't. Planned parenthood has them for free or nearly free.We need to take care of ourselves and stop expecting government or worse, politicians and congressional committees get involved. There are plenty of ways that cost so little to get around the religious issues. Let the government get back to work if they can. Most women in America can take care of themselves and do not need Ms Fluke, Rush, Obama etc to get involved..

    March 2, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  11. Foreverwar

    I'm surprised Speaker Boehner took a stand on this. He should try doing the right thing more often, it might grow on him

    March 2, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  12. Whammybar

    CNN, what you didn't report was what the content of her part of these hearings was about. It wasn't all about birth control.

    March 2, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  13. LawrenceAZ

    Limbaugh's rants take the heat off of Rick Sanitorium's string of idiotic remarks. Mission accomplished. Team Republikant.

    March 2, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  14. Bruce Baran

    I have a daughter about the same age as Ms. Fluke, and like Ms. Fluke she to is intelligent, well spoken, and is very passionate with regards to women’s health issues; and I am very proud of her. Just as I am sure Ms. Fluke’s father is proud of his daughter for having the courage to stand up, and voice her opinion, which she did distinctly, ad with honor and respect.
    That being said if it had been my daughter to which Mr. Limbaugh’s disgusting comments had been directed I think I would at this point in time be on my way to pay him a direct visit, and demand an apology; either that or he would be removing that EIB microphone from his....

    March 2, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  15. walleye46

    I truly believe that Limbaugh is a VERY DANGEROUS individual very much like that fellow with the funny mustache in Germany back in the 1930's. We all know what happened then. This sick individual has a following of "sheep" who only see and hear what he tells them. Radio stations have fired DJ's over such inflammatory remarks. If SIRIUS radio has any morals, they will DO THE RIGHT THING and immediately get rid of this spewer of bigotry and partisan hatred.

    March 2, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  16. Budget Analyst

    Is this all we are going to get? No one has the stones to stand up to Boss Limbaugh. What, are we back in the 20s and 30s? Imus was fired for similar. Anyone have an update?

    March 2, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  17. brew987

    So I guess the idiots on the left somehow think Limbaugh is an elected official. You people are idiots.

    March 2, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |

    Keep talking GOBP wingnuts,all the way to November.

    March 2, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  19. roro

    I, for one, have already notified my local radio station that airs this monster's disgusting diatribes, that I will no longer be listening to their programming or patronizing any of their sponsors. The FCC should take his license away and he should be banned from the airwaves. Anyone who listens to this drug addled liar and misogynistic bigot is an ignorant fool. He gets rich and you get bamboozled.

    March 2, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |

    Limp Balls ought to be his name. . .

    March 2, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  21. Iconoclast

    I'm beginning to think rush Limbaugh is fulfilling the same purpose that Colbert does. To point out the absurdity of the right wing wingnuts. Go Rush, Go Colbert, nominate Santorum. Pretty much will ensure an Obama victory in November.

    March 2, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    She should sue Rush Dumbo and we should boycott his sponsors. Quicken Loans will be hearing from me soon.

    March 2, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  23. rick

    limbaw isn't worth responding to. He's delusional from the effects of oxycontin. Come to think of it....where's the list of his sponsors?

    March 2, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  24. B Rogers

    Somebody PLEASE investigate Rush Limbaugh. I'm pretty sure some interesting things would come to light.
    That's all I'm saying!!!!!!!

    March 2, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  25. Patty

    Maybe I have missed the discussion of a tangent issue.
    Everyone knows that Viagra type medications are covered by most all insurance plans right?
    Women then should have coverage for birth control. No Brainer?
    What do we need to do to silence the violent accusations of Limbaugh? What businesses
    by advertising to support his time on the airwaves?

    March 2, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
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