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. mike

    Hear that Republicans / Tea Party . That was one of the last Women Independent voters shuting the door on your Party.
    Obama 2012 !!!!

    March 2, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. DumbasRocks [R]s

    Paul said: "To those of you defending Rush, he is not talking just about Fluke, he is talking about your mother, your sister, and your wife. This issue affects all of them."

    Paul, its a little more complicated for [R] males because for them, in many instances, at least two of the three females you mentioned are the same person. I think the effect of severe multi-generational inbreeding is quite evident in the typical witless comments made on here by Rush's supporters == all but a very few [R]s.

    March 2, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. Bill

    Rush really needs to stop doing drugs........especially while on-air

    March 2, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. sara

    I too thought that B/C was for preventing pregnancy until in 2003 I got out of bed and fell to the floor. I had tumors through my tubes and ovaries. I had NEVER taken B/C until then at age 43. Thank God with those B/C pills I didn't have to have a complete hysterectomy and enter menopause with many years of bone loss.

    What I do know is RL needs to be off the air and congress needs to leave my body and my healthcare between my doctors and me along and pass bills for infrastucture so our bridges stop falling, a rail system to deliver us back and forth to work and alternative fuel for this country and stop beating the drum of war with Iran. Or get the heck out of the way so this country moves forward. It is the 21st Century and they are still talking about women rights/medical issues, race, bigotry, welfare (even tho there's no longer welfare, but Everything is welfare) who to marry and religion.

    March 2, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. Steven

    Every time this "humanoid" opens his mouth he sinks to new lows in behavior. His action is so far removed from normal human behavior that he should be shunned by society. The pig should be turned into bacon.

    March 2, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. dinosnake


    "What's inappropriate is this whole contrived contraversy the Liberals are trying to drum up"

    WHAT A LOAD OF GARBAGE. Isn't it AMAZING that when a 'liberal' says something negative about a 'conservative' it's a HUGE deal and makes for DAYS (Media Matters)? But when a conservative says something negative about a's all overblown and the LIBERAL'S fault??

    You made your bed, now lie in it. If you can't deal with reaping what you've sowed then walk out of the building and try someplace that will pander to you oh-so-gently, like the prima donnas that you are.

    March 2, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  7. Allen

    @janelle: You're an idiot. First of all, "generic brands" make no difference here. Secondly, you refer to Planned Parenthood as a source of...what? Free contraception for all women? If so, why are you trying to defund them? I thought Repugnantans like yourself considered Planned Parenthood an abortion center.'re a moronic idiot.

    Anyway, let's hope Rush Limbaugh drops dead from a heart attack like Andrew Brietbart did.

    March 2, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. brian in dc

    Manufactured outrage. Where was this outrage when the Palin women were being called every name in the book?

    March 2, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  9. The Real Tom Paine

    Would never know you were, with your obcession with the word $lut. Do you think about that very often, when you are not thinking about how the country is collapsing in front of you? You strike me as very negative in your appraisal of everything around you.

    March 2, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  10. REG in AZ

    The right or wrong of abortion is not really the issue here; that really is something individuals need to contemplate for themselves. What is the issue, that definitely represents something very wrong, that should never be tolerated, is allowing the sliding of religion into government. Religion should not dictate to government, to then have government dictate religion to the people – that is what you see in Iran and it is totally wrong and oppressive. You also see it in Saudi Arabia, other mideast countries and historically in England and throughout europe, which is what America correctly escaped. And it should be understood that one religion, be it Christianity or any other, won’t ever make it right. Not being religious or being religious, including the option of which religion, should always be strictly protected as an American’s individual choice. There are those now trying to have religious dictates be adopted and mandated by government and they really have to be firmly rejected by the people to assure America doesn’t have its basic freedoms deceptively undermined. As can be seen, the consequences are drastic.

    March 2, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  11. sara

    Oh, I left out voter's rights.

    March 2, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  12. Ugman

    One question: Were you bothered when Bill Maher called Sarah Palin the "c" word? Just asking.

    March 2, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. MaryM

    For all you ignorant men out there. Contraceptives are used for many womens medical issues, not just birth control

    March 2, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. dontbow

    liberals just don't have a clue with this stuff, they just do what obama says. tools to the end and they will pay for it in their healthcare insurance. sadly obama wont.

    March 2, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  15. DE

    If the tables were reversed you can bet conservatives would turn this into a fund raising campaign in a split second.

    March 2, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. Clint

    I missed the part as to why Sandra Fluke's problem with obtaining free contraception has become my problem as a taxpayer to pay for it? Thank you Rush for asking the same questions I had minutes after hearing about her story. The more the media tries to make you out to be a monster, the more I like you.

    March 2, 2012 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  17. mark

    @DBA you utterly missed the point of this. The debate over costs is separate. This is about Rush and his insinuation that she is a sl-t . Dont try to confuse the two.

    March 2, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  18. nomnomnom

    "paulm5545 – If I am going to pay for her contraceptives, she had better NEED them instead of WANT them. Big difference."

    Well then by your logic insurance companies should also not pay for Viagra or vasectomies, right? (which, by the way, they currently do pay for). And if you don't want to pay for her contraceptives then I suppose you are okay paying for unwanted children, eh? And instead of talking about HER contraceptives why not talk to men about keeping it in their pants or tightly wrapped. If men were as responsible as people keep saying women need to be then maybe we wouldn't be having this discussion.

    But all of that aside – what Rush said was just ridiculous, and rude, and misogynistic. I'm still very baffled as to why this man is still on the air. I hope this law student and a really good experienced lawyer find a way to sue Rush for every ill-gotten penny he has.

    Now, that being said, can we please get back to the real issues at hand and ignore loud windbags and their loud windbagish comments.

    March 2, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |

    Rush is a disgusting human being.!!!! Obama is the only choice!!!!

    March 2, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  20. Marie MD

    @mpl – you might have to buy your own cheap condoms (NOT codems!!!) but they are pennies compared to what contraceptives cost for women.
    Then again, you sound like the kind of man who gets them pregnant and runs leaving the women and your baby behind.
    @omamasux – was bristol palin the porker from AK a liberal? Nope, didn't think so!

    March 2, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  21. Dance This Mess Around

    *** I LOVE bringing up the truth, it makes liberals so angry.

    You mean like sarah palin mouthing off about death panels ?
    We dont get angry, we just correct your lies.

    March 2, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  22. steven harnack

    Just when you think that Republikans have hit the bottom they redefine bottom. You shouldn't have to even ask people to repudiate language like that, he should just be removed from the airwaves by universal condemnation. Where are all of those people who get all apoplectic over a bare breast on TV? That they would call that obscene while saying nothing about the vile crap that Rush spews IS obscene.

    March 2, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  23. Dev

    I just cannot understand the mentality of Republicans. It is beyond me how someone can justify of deflect what limbaugh said. Is there a list somewhere of Limbaugh's sponsor. I am going to start boycotting them.

    March 2, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  24. Taran

    @Dave, Amazing to me that CNN is all over this story and yet when the Reps were getting blasted by the Dem senator woman in California calling them every name in the book and saying some should be killed, nothing was mentioned. The president didn't say anything about that either but he gets involved in this and the Dems go nuts. So the liberals can say and do anything they want and it is ok but the second a Rush says something they jump down his throat. Nice to see Comrade Obama and his team stifle free speech yet again. Go Commies Go!
    It is because there are two sets of standards. One for liberals and a different standard for everyone else.

    March 2, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  25. Christian Conservative

    brian in dc, absolutely right ! How utterly false people can mock and slam someone like Sarah Palin because they disagree with her, oh but find someone on your side of the issue and the humanity ! The deep, wounding insults of this man's words and his insensitivity. Clearly his insults show what an awful jerk and bigot he is. Just don't mind the equally vile insults all spewed at Palin.

    March 2, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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