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. Debbie

    For here is the deal: The it was "innappropriate" did not come out of Speakers Boehner mouth. It was "A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner." As the face of the House GOP Speaker Boehner didn't even warrent women the value of a response. Instead the Speaker sent an aide. Not one woman, not from the Speakers mouth. IF this was really about religion then I have two questions for Rep Issa and Speaker Boehner: 1) Where was the religious representation from Buddists, Islam, Hindu's etc? 2) Since only Judism and Christianity why only men of high rank vs Female Rabbi from Reform Judaism and a Female Bishop from Episcopalian Christian denomination? Not one woman and not from the Speakers mouth.

    March 2, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  2. Sarah

    Limbaugh also demanded she post a "s_x tape" for taxpayers to view. He's vile. I think it's incredibly telling that none of these Republican organizations are distancing themselves from his remarks, and Santorum only said that Limbaugh was in a "different business." Apparently they think it's okay to call a woman these things simply because she testified her friend needed hormonal treatment for medical reasons! I am beyond disgusted. "Moral majority"? Eww.

    March 2, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  3. Dennis

    Limbaugh is an idiot, but, there are idiot's on the other side as well.

    March 2, 2012 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  4. Winton

    Limbaugh is the pimp of republican candidates.

    March 2, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  5. Linhster

    This loud mouth drugster will go away the same way Dr. Laura did. There're only so much the Advertisement Companies that support his show can take.

    March 2, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  6. Wire Palladin S. F.

    >edzepp – Ever hear of Mary Magdelene

    Yeah. I've had her too. But I've since seen the err of my ways and stick to men.

    March 2, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  7. Keith

    What Rush said was obviously wrong, you can't go around making accusation about people at that personal level. But when you start talking about lawsuits does that mean he can sue all the lefties for slandering him on this public forum? Fortunately Rush doesn't cry about personal attacks, fortunately Rush doesn't cling to a double standard. "ooo Republicans are so mean :(" -Seriously? that's what we're are talking about? How about the actual issue thats being syphoned out of separation of Church and state? (Your severely misinformed if you don't think that line isn't being crossed.) And now your attacking someones freedom of speech because he made crude comments, stick and stones people–grow up. Rush maybe wrong, but that most certainly doesn't make you right.

    March 2, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  8. Richard

    He's just an old pervert like that old white haired pervert running for president

    March 2, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  9. America Beyond & Back

    Attention: To All Women

    The Top Republican thinks it was just "inappropriate"???? Are you comfortable with that?

    The Democrat believes that the government should look towards the greater good for the welfare of the people, irrespective of individual interests. They always tend to see the people as equal.

    The Republican holds economic equity on top than any other thing.

    At the end of the day it boils down to...Are YOU for – The Rights of People OR The Rights of Big Business?

    March 2, 2012 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  10. carla

    @Debbie. I was thinking the exact same thing. His spokesperson made the statement. This really has gone to far and women need to stand up before they set us back 70 years. Santorum acts all self righteous regarding Limbaugh and yet he was the one who instigated the whole thing himself.

    March 2, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  11. craig

    I certainly do not agree with what the law student had to say, i also don't agree with Rush, He certainly is not helping the situation.

    March 2, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  12. girish

    It is shameful ,pathetic and indecent comment made by radio host.He has no value for women. He should be barred or people should stop listening to shameless person

    March 2, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  13. Incredulous

    World would have been a better place if Rush's parents had used contraceptive.

    March 2, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  14. Freddo

    Limbaugh is pathetic and disgusting.

    March 2, 2012 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  15. Slightly Left of Center

    Wasn't Howard Cosell run out of town for his 'little monkey' comment? Yet, Rash Limpbag, who is more vile, more depraved, more deranged, more delusional, and more offensive to more people, is allowed, if not encouraged, to keep spewing his hate-filled vitriol. He is repulsive, anti-American, and a total waste of oxygen.

    March 2, 2012 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  16. the chick who says"meh"

    do republicans even understand how employer sponsored health insurance works? i have it, and I PAY FOR IT. that's right, it comes out of MY paycheck, not rush's or any other random tax payer. unless rush wants to detail how he pays for georgetown university's heath insurance he should do everyone a favor and stfu.

    March 2, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  17. Avoice

    Rush is a hater.

    March 2, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  18. Bob

    When the melting candle guy from Beauty and the Beast thinks you're inappropriate, you know you've stepped out of line.

    March 2, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  19. Les

    Where does it stop?? We keep arging that one action (contraceptives) will prevent or mitigate the actions (unwanted births, etc) that may be worst. However, there are most likely too many variables to say what the outcome will be. Lets field test the idea to determine the outcome.

    If this works, what stops us from saying lets do something else for free. At the end, we end up bankrupting ourselves for activities that we should be monitoring ourselves.

    I do not want to pay for contraceptives nor viagra!!
    we preceive to be more dangerous or

    March 2, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  20. MoneyTalksBSWalks

    Use your favorite internet search engine to find a list of current sponsors for Rush.

    Take your $$ elsewhere in a meaningful way if you don't like the message he is "putting out" there. HIs paycheck comes from services that he renders.

    March 2, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  21. westcoast

    Sadly, many so-called 'Christian conservatives' are actually racist bigots and chauvinists, hence the arrogant belief that they can crudely insult an American president (the DC "Obama go to he ll" ads, 'birther' accusations, etc.) and a woman (Rush's vulgar insults against the student, who by the way is a 3rd year law student not a "Co-ed" as Rush condescendingly calls her) with impunity. The amount of disrespect hurled at our current President by people of Rush's ilk is unprecedented in our nation's history. And Republicans want to give male politicians the power to dictate women's reproductive health rights.

    March 2, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  22. BlackDynamite

    Who cares what Limbaugh thinks? About anything?

    Who is less relevant? Palin or Limbaugh?

    March 2, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  23. Bob

    If you want to show your disapproval of Rush, go buy Al Franken's book "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot". Limbaugh tried to sue to get it blocked from being released, but a judge threw it out of court because you can't sue somebody for telling the truth. So a court of law says Rush is a big fat idiot and every accusation in the book is 100% true.

    March 2, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  24. AmFem

    My husband's vasectomy was covered by our insurance. Isn't that birth control? Oh, but the difference is its for a it's okay. I bet this maroon's Viagra is covered. But, once again, it's for a man.

    March 2, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  25. Nate

    Having his spokesman condemn Rush on Friday will make it easier for Boehner to apologize to Limbaugh on Monday.

    March 2, 2012 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
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