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. Attila, The Hun

    Hey Fatso, how many pills have you popped today?


    March 2, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  2. Iamnotfooled

    Rush should be banned from radio. He is repulsive. Ignorant man.

    March 2, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  3. Phil in KC

    Entertainer? Is that what Rush is? I'm not very entertained by him. I think the guy's a total jerk.
    Quite frankly, if we gave out free birth control as part of our healthcare, we'd have fewer unwanted pregnancies, fewer welfare recipients and a lower population growth.

    March 2, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  4. nolapearl

    I would think these Republican women who do not have issue with what Limbaugh has said, have something genetic missing.

    March 2, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  5. Jules

    Boehner doesn't think that Limbaugh's comments should be used for fundraising? Limbaugh speaks for the GOP until the party stands up and says he doesn't loud and clear with no nuance to the statement. Think about the idiotic, untruthful statements that have been made about President Obama for the purposes of fundraising and then tell me that these horrendous comments should not be used for fundraising. Since the words came out of Limbaugh's mouth on the air, there is no doubting that he did it unlike the statements made about President Obama by the GOP.

    March 2, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  6. Simon Says

    *** Howard

    1. Obama should get off his high horse, attacking Rush for telling the truth ... something Obama rarely does.

    See how the Republican mind works, Obama has not made any statement about this story,
    an he is still being attacked for it.
    You people are pathetic.
    What is wrong with you ?

    March 2, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  7. Justinstl

    Does anyone even listen to Rush anyway...Anyone that does is worthless anyway. Rush doesn't have room to talk about anyone...He is nothing but a fat loud mouth drug addict. There's no room in my world for fat loudmouth conservatives.

    March 2, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  8. Joel


    What Rush said was wrong but the bigger question is WHY IS IT THE GOVT'S JOB TO PROVIDE CONTRACEPTION TO WOMEN FOR FREE? What is next on the "BUY THE VOTE AGENDA"?

    Lets mandate that viagra should be provided for free
    Lets mandate that prozac should be provided for free
    Lets mandate that lipator should be provided for free
    Contraception is a private issue and your responsiblity. Pay for it yourself and be responsible for your actions."

    Sorry ReallY!!? You should better informed. Everything here has a treatment value other than a mere desire. Birth control pills treat ovarian cysts, Viagara treats impotency as well as our wounded veterans, Lipator is for cholesterol imbalance and heart attack victims, and of course Prozac is for deep depression – – including removing oneself from Rush Limbaugh comments.

    March 2, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  9. Marty

    Medicare will not pay in full for my insulin. They want the government. to pay for their contraceptives.

    March 2, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  10. Wire Palladin S. F.

    >Church – Palladin(Paladin?), where do you roam

    Mostly the streets and sewers of Miami. As a homeless person, I hang out a lot in the internet cafes.

    March 2, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. Kirk W

    I actually heard what Rush said... and not what the Media and the democrats are saying that he said... WOW, what a difference the truth can make. Talk about a non-issue ...and talk about the media being complicit with their lefty sponsors to bring up ratings and attack conservatives. How pathetic. Rush isn't disgusting... and he isn't the one distorting the truth here. The media is helping the dems do that.

    March 2, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  12. HAROLD

    Rush Limbaugh must be boycotted. I think everyone with certain amount of descency should stop doing business with any company which supports Rush Limbaugh's program.

    March 2, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  13. Hoo Myself

    So she has a right to contaceptives – I have a right to bear arms – does that mean I should get them (and ammo) for free. I object to my rates going to pay for her choices.

    But its ok if her rates go up to pay for your viagra, right ?
    Is it a "man" thing,
    or a "republican" thing ?
    Probably both.

    March 2, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  14. Rick

    Fluke claims that she and her friends at college know that they need $3,000 while in college (4 years?) and that we the people should pay for that. Limbaugh is right and Boehner is an idiot.

    March 2, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  15. HAROLD

    Rush Limbaugh must be boycotted. I think everyone with a certain amount of descency should stop doing business with any company which supports Rush Limbaugh's program

    March 2, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  16. Iamnotfooled

    When you try to give the names of the sponsers of his show they delete your comment.

    March 2, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  17. westcoast

    If, as the GOP says, people should have the right to carry guns (presumably to shoot trespassers), and every state should have the death penalty, and there should be no national health care, medicare, or medicaid (so that the poor have no choice but to die of their afflictions), then may I ask what makes abortion any different?

    March 2, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  18. felix

    I've noticed that many of the same people that listen to Rush also hold strongly to the belief that WWE is real wrestling.

    March 2, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  19. edzepp

    Amazing to hear alleged "Christians" come to the defense of a slimeball like Rush, and rationalizing the venom he spews at a woman who dares to disagree with him. Ever hear of Mary Magdelene?

    March 2, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  20. Iamnotfooled

    Rush should button his mouth forever.

    March 2, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  21. DanW

    Limbaugh is scrambling – even comparing himself to Bill Maher! Now that is funny! I think (or at least hope) some of his listeners will be enlightened by this incident and see Limbaugh for what he is. Folks, try listening to some music for a change, it'll make the day nicer for sure.

    March 2, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  22. ZZZ

    There is an important point which is often made but often ignored by people complaining about this issue. Many women take birth control pills for health reasons that have nothing to do with birth control. What about them? Why shouldn't their insurance cover medicine for a medical problem? For those talking about the supposed low cost of birth control, while yes, it does exist, not every woman can take it. Everyone is different, and different people need different medicine, so it can be prohibitively expensive for some women. Finally, I am sure these women would be happy to have a copay for their birth control just like they do for their other prescription drugs. This whole issue is a red-herring to distract us from the fact that the conservatives have nothing constructive to offer except smoke and mirrors.

    March 2, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  23. MaryM

    To: Christian Conservative, your ignorance, The birth control pills ARE the hormones used for womens medical conditions. do some research before you comment .

    March 2, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  24. Last Days Of Planet Earth

    The Republican party tried to destroy the country.
    Now the Republican party is destroying itself.
    If there is any way i can help, please let me know.
    Free of charge.

    March 2, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  25. Wire Palladin S. F.

    So when will she disclose just how many people, men or women, she has slept with? It is the only way to answer if she is what Limbaugh claims she is.

    March 2, 2012 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54