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. Ron

    Let's see. Limbaugh has been married 4 times and has no children. Soooooo....he either can't get it up, his wives have taken double doses of BIRTH CONTROL, he shoots blanks, or he likes to watch!

    March 2, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  2. T'sah from Virginia

    ►TRENDING: First on CNN: Boehner hits Limbaugh's comments as 'inappropriate'◄
    But yet it was someone else speaking for him so in reality, we don't know what's his take
    Ever since I could not get a "simple" question answered at the AZ debate about "birth control"
    I am DONE with even trying to "understand" a Republican, what's in their hearts or their souls!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!

    March 2, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  3. chuck

    Limbaugh should be fired. He is a ignorant pig. Too bad his mother didn't have birth control, the worls would be better off without this douch bag. I THI K HE IS STILL DOING OXYCONTIN, ADDICT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 2, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  4. ok

    Limbaugh is an idiot. She was testifying that birth control has uses other than preventing pregnancy. Specifically, the OVARIAN CYSTS that her friend had rupture since she was denied birth control. The surgery it required was orders of magnitude more expensive than the pills.

    Good job saving the taxpayers money, Rush.

    March 2, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  5. Roger

    Why does the choice to use contraception instantly equate to promiscuity? I'm happily married to my wife of 5 years and we've made the decision to not have children. The government taking that decision out of people's hands who work for a religious organization is an invasion of the rights of those Americans.

    March 2, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  6. Howie

    Rush Limbaugh is a big fat idiot! Nuff said,

    March 2, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  7. Steameo

    The republican right has looked to Limbaugh for leadership & council and some of his listeners worship him. For those poor sheep I feel pity. You wanted this pervert, this hater – you got him. Reap it – you sowed it.

    March 2, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  8. gary

    How many women voted for this idiot Boehner last time? Don't they know he's a neanderthal just like Limbaugh?

    March 2, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Boehner is afraid to take Rush on. VULGAR is the word that better describe Rush and Boehner should have used to describe him, but then he can kiss Rush's propaganda machine and support good bye, and no republican poltician can afford that.

    March 2, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  10. ok

    Rush just can't keep his mouth shut. He managed to get kicked off ESPN by revealing himself to be a racist fool. This is the GOP's shining beacon, America!

    March 2, 2012 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  11. gary

    Inappropriate? That's like saying Jeffery Dahmer had an "eating disorder".

    March 2, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  12. RonP

    The problem is Limbaugh is upset that his insurance company won't pay for his Viagra

    March 2, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  13. sayquitter

    Boehner is afraid to take Rush on. VULGAR is the word that better describe Rush and Boehner should have used it to describe him, but then he can kiss Rush's endorsement, support and propaganda machine good bye, and no republican politician want or can afford that.

    March 2, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  14. hal

    Why does he have to say anything...he isn't responsible for Rush's words.

    March 2, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  15. BostonW

    Vulgar, stupid man. His comments were so completely irresponsible.

    March 2, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain

    As Al Frankin so succinctly put it years ago, "Rush Limbaugh is a Big, Fat Idiot."

    March 2, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  17. Ed Fl

    The speaker probably was over crying on LimPbaugh's shoulder and a mike wasn't available. America already is aware of Boehners incompetency as leader,congressman and now BIASED GOP Speak from the GOP'S big daddy. What a disgrace from the speaker much less just a weak congressman.

    March 2, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  18. Radgast

    I don't want to pay for other peoples pregnancies

    March 2, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  19. Radgast

    I don't want to pay for other people vaccines, blood transfusions, pregnancies, or antibiotics because of religios and personal beliefs.

    March 2, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  20. BL

    It's never about "religion." It's always about control. Some individuals or groups will always have an intrinsic need to control the personal lives of others, and religion (which they really don't believe in in any case) is a socially acceptable mask to hide behind.

    March 2, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  21. Old Artillery Man

    Limbaugh has been referred to in several posts as an “entertainer.” I do not believe anyone could come up with a cheaper excuse for him than that.

    March 2, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  22. Sal

    Rush limpbag is a pig!

    March 2, 2012 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  23. JohnM

    rush limpballs is the poster child for why we need contraception. he's one of the best arguments for it to bad he can't be post=aborted.

    March 2, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  24. andy

    Limbaugh is a hateful, big, fat doctor-shopping criminal pig. If you LOVE to listen to him you are chocked-full of hatred for everybody and everything I'd like to see Fluke take his radio show advertisers down.

    March 2, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  25. Ed Fl

    If someone didn't make the public aware of this womenly process this country would be overflowed with a bunch of dependents that do not know their father and add further cost to the already overloaded welfare system. Just what we need another third world of non contributary freeloaders.

    March 2, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
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