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. janelle

    What's inappropriate is this whole contrived contraversy the Liberals are trying to drum up. No one pays $1000/year for birth control pills if they can't afford it. This woman has never heard of generic brands? This woman has never heard of public health clinics or Planned Parenthood? Give me a break. This was all just a stunt to try and create an issue. It has backfired bigtime, because most people actually excercise common sense!

    March 2, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  2. JC in SC

    Hey MPL. Not your condoms, but your Cialis when you need it.

    March 2, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. Steve

    Rush just wants to get his name back in the news because his ratings are down. This psychopath doesn't care who he has to take down. The fact is;; Insurance companies want to provider birth control because it's a cheap way to keep their costs down... end of story. Your costs would actually increase if birth control wasn't affordable because of all the costs of having a baby and the health care that goes with it.

    March 2, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. DBA


    Let me try that again.

    I don't necessaryily agree with RL's comments, but doesn't anyone want to say; "hey! Wait a minute. Why should Georgetown U. pay or any other U.S. citizen pay for her contreceptives?

    One more time: this is not about US paying for HER contraceptives.

    Her friend was prescribed birth control pills to treat a medical condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome (POS)–ovarian cysts that rupture with excruciating and often debilitating pain and bleeding that can necessitate a visit to the ER.
    The friend had health insurance through Georgetown University. Her friend paid for her insurance when she paid her tuition and other college fees. Georgetown would not cover the $3000.00 cost of her medication (wouldn't cover 'contraceptives', even though this medication had many other uses) and the woman ended up losing an ovary to the disease (losing the ovary required surgery, btw). As to the large price tag: I don't know the therapeutic dosage for treating POS, but it might require more than 1 pill a day.

    1. The student paid for her own health insurance, not you or me.
    .2. The University would not cover the cost of a prescription for BC pills that were necessary to treat a non-contraceptive condition.
    3. The woman ended up requiring surgery to remove a diseased ovary.

    No amount of 'keeping her legs closed', 'using condoms', or 'abstaining' would have effectively treated her MEDICAL condition.

    That's as clear as I can make it, except to say that Rush Limbaugh is an idiot..

    March 2, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  5. Taran

    @Bruce Baran,,,hmmm, is your daughter permiscuous and taking birth control for the "prevent pregnancy" reason? If the answer is yes, then she is a s/lut and you have no leg to stand on. If the answer is no, then why are you angry?

    March 2, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  6. judith

    The GOP stands behind every vile thing Boss Hogg LImbaugh says. They have modern women and what freedom of choice for women provides. They've totally lost the vote of independent women to the Democrats and demonstrated that they want to drag us all back to 1900. We're not going.

    March 2, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. InCalifornia

    It's....Amazing.... how some people defense this trashy person. What kind of example do you set for your children? He is the worst and nasty infamous person in a modern; educated country like America.

    March 2, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  8. Alex Santana

    Amazing how this becomes a liberal vs conservative issue...instead it should be what a big dumb egotistical moron, aka Limbaugh has said. Cut away all of the political is common sense that this ignorant fat mass of dead brain cells has said. It is always the GOP who points to the "libs" as drumming up the was RUSH LIMBAUGH who said it...not anyone else!!!

    March 2, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. MittieBoy

    I don't support Rush......wait what was the question? I think I misunderstood. I do not not agree with what I just said about Rush. To much stress let's proxy baptize Nixon. Romeny

    March 2, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  10. AngryBob

    Boehner's remark is so tepid as to be called laughable. Moreover, rather than just denouncing it, Boehner tales the opportunity to criticize people for opposing it. What does he think Limbaugh was doing by making such vile remarks? He was promoting Boehner's agenda. He was trying to intimidate others who may hold views similar to Ms Fluke's. Boehner and his ilk are so completely intimidated by Limbaugh that they are afraid to call it for what it is. It's time for Boehner and his ilk to either grow some balls and take their mouthpiece down or retire back under their rocks.

    March 2, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  11. Gunny

    Rush has always been that type of host. He speaks his mind and it is not always pretty. He has a large fan base and he is giving his fans what they want. I do not like him but I can respect his trash talking. When the people stop listening and the sponsors stop paying, Rush (even rush) will change. There are only two types of people listening to him. People who think the same way he does, or supportive republicans who try to support him and hope he doesn't say stuff like he did.

    March 2, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. T.B. Laney

    First, Rush used inappropirate adjectives describing the lady in question. That was a mistake and he should say he is sorry. That being said, his point was valid. Under Obama Care, which is funded by taxpayers, this woman wants to receive all of her birth control free. The insurance provider who would be subsidized by the taxpayers would be using taxpayer money for her to live a lifestyle she chooses. Who would be next in line wanting their lifestyle subsidized? If regular insurance companies or organizations want pay this, that is theirs and their stockholders business, but I have a say in how my money is spent. I just wouldn't use sxxt to describe this woman.

    March 2, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    Taran, I have a daughter: do you? If you don't, knock this abuse off. If you have one, do it for her sake. No one's daughter deserves that. Control your own son in the bargain, and remember your wife.

    March 2, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  14. Tom

    Rush Limbaugh needs a comical enema.

    March 2, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  15. MittieBoy

    Wow inclaifornia.....not sure America is modern or educated.....have you heard the RNC debates?

    March 2, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    InCalifornia - It's....Amazing.... how some people defense this trashy person. What kind of example do you set for your children? He is the worst and nasty infamous person in a modern; educated country like America.
    I say the same thing about Bill Maher. When is he going to get pulled from the air. He's FAR nastier than Rush.

    March 2, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  17. jesse james. take them to street and shoot them like the dogs they are

    Take him to street and shoot him like the dog he is/ drug addict

    March 2, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  18. ChrisG

    Rush will pay dearly for his remarks against Sandra Fluke. Gloria Allred is on her way to see Sandra Fluke. Rush will lose his sponsors and his show because of his vile, foul mouth.

    March 2, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  19. jeanette

    And as always with the so-called "conservatives" the only things being conserved are dirty minds and old-time prejudices.And as always with elections ramping up....RELEASE THE BUFFOONS!!!! The man is a pig.

    March 2, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  20. harrison

    I only hope contraceptives were available to Rush Limbaugh's mother.

    March 2, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  21. John

    She just stept right into that. did she not say "I am going broke buying contreceptives"? Let us see and hear the whole thing she said.

    March 2, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  22. scott

    Maher is on HBO...not every freakin AM channel in America geniuses........

    March 2, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  23. MaryM

    I will find the list of Rush's sponsors and post them soon

    March 2, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. CRob

    Rush is a dumbo. However I question why we should have birth control covered, but not condoms. BC doesnt prevent STD's, just pregnancy. At least condoms prevent both. So shouldnt the better "health prevention" technique be the one we are focusing on here?

    March 2, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. Christian Conservative

    The particular words he chose may be wrong, but he's absolutely right on in pointing out the absurdity of this. They pull out some law student who lies about the cost of contraceptives and whether they are even needed. Sheesh her boyfriends can go buy condoms who ever said she has to be on the pill. This has become a joke. Suddenly no one can afford birth control? Funny people have been getting it on their own for years.

    March 2, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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