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. Errm

    Thank, FRANKLY, is no one's business!

    "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 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  2. RR

    hmmm... what year are we in? OH, that's right, it's an election year. Republicans are trying to make Rush go away and Dems are trying to bring this in the spotlight as much as possible. Go figure.

    March 2, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  3. rchnpdx

    It's time the throw the windbag under the bus.

    March 2, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  4. shut_up

    fluke you ms fluke

    March 2, 2012 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  5. Sirned

    His comments were disgusting... Words like Absurd and inappropriate are just whitewashing how atrocious Rush's words really were. Republicans are terrified of this powerful man and don't want to offend him...Can you say cowards?

    March 2, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  6. monkeyman

    If it was my daughter, my sister, my wife...Rush would truly understand that the dark of night exists for a reason.

    March 2, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  7. Chas

    Let me simplify it for you. Republicans represent the wealthy. Rush is wealthy. The Republicans want to keep their tax cuts. Anything that might jeopardize their tax cuts, no matter how beneficial for society, they will be against.

    March 2, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  8. Errm


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

    Nope. Because he's right. She is one.
    Actually, that's almost insulting to all female body parts everywhere.

    You people screaming about "my tax dollars!!!!" going toward contraception need to get a gd grip. Seriously. First World problems. Don't you have anything better to whine about? There are people being blown to bits in Syria and you're whining about your 5 cents going toward buying someone the Pill. Gain some perspective. It's not your business why someone is taking contraceptives, whether for medical reasons or otherwise. You're trying to moralize the issue. Is this the 13th century?

    March 2, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  9. Varg

    Is it not possible for Ms.Fluke to take Rush to court for the most reprehensible and hurtful personal name calling? Freedom of speech is good as long as it is not used to hurt others. Sometimes verbal and psychological abuse is more hurtful and harmful than physical attack.
    It is a shame that GOP leaders do not come out more openly and support the victim here Ms.Fluke.

    March 2, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  10. mark

    Republicans = pro guns, pro wars, pro death penalty, anti-healthcare.... BUT PRO LIFE!!!!!

    Republican = Moron

    March 2, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  11. ChrisG

    Good news all. In the wake of the Rush foul mouth comment to Sandra Fluke, there are now four companies that have pulled their ads from Rush's show

    March 2, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  12. VeryOldMan

    I guess Republicans treating Limbaugh as God. They either have no comment or, as Speaker Boehner, to say it's just inappropriate. It's really a shame for all those Republican women. Where are the two first ladies of Bush? I have lots of respect for them and I hope they can speak out.

    March 2, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  13. JFritz

    Cowards all, aren't they?

    March 2, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  14. DDanny1

    If Alter Boys could get pregnant we wouldn't be having this conversation.

    March 2, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  15. Shahnaz

    The likes of Rush and what he stands for promotes violence against women. Any attempt to make women seem less than men by legislation or slurs is promoting rape , murder and abuse of women the world over. Rush and the likes of him must be labeled as DANGEROUS . He should be charged with endangering the lives of women anytime he makes vile statements against women and he should be considered a national threat to the U.S. His vile comments arouse the weirdos like himself to act out against women thus endangering them and their children and families.

    March 2, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  16. julius raynor

    Out of the deeper part of the heart...........The mouth will speak.............Rush was being himself.......A low life human being.......How can you be a listener of such a person. My God!

    March 2, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  17. dd

    she has every right to her opinion, as does rush, bill maher, cnn, fox,you , what?

    March 2, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  18. mkc

    i don't understand where the morals of this country are going? Where are all the feminist groups and why are there no mass protests against lunitic? i think everywoman in america needs to stand up against this stupidity. It's not a matter of contraceptive but woman's rights. Alot of woman are prescribed contraceptive for other reasons then birth control e.g. irregular periods, adult acne, severe muscle cramps during menstural periods etc. so all you wanna doc's shut up and let's all stand up for woman's health and thier rights!!!!!

    March 2, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  19. pkbkr

    I hope this young woman finds a lawyer and sues him for libel! How does Rusho know she doesn't need the pill for emdometriosis or other diagnoses? He is such a jerk......married three times, been on fact, he probably still is on drugs.....the little purple pill!

    March 2, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  20. GadsdenRattlers

    Rush went too far. Limbaugh should have elevated his discourse and not sunk himself to the level of Rachel Maddow, Bill Maher, the guy from the DailyKos, The Ed Show, nearly half the Senate and anyone who writes for Huffington Post. He should apologize for his remarks and move on.

    March 2, 2012 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  21. Dennis

    Who's Rush Limbaugh?

    March 2, 2012 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  22. Bea Moates

    you can not abide to be told the truth,can you.

    March 2, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  23. Alfredo Ramirez

    Obviously, Limbaugh is in great need of the new law forcing men like him to have an "intra-anal examination before he is declared a human being knowing the difference between integrity and honor. I am sure his mother had something to do with his upbringing due to heavy use of colonic s.

    March 2, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  24. DDanny1

    Rastafaria is a religion that started in Jamaica in the 1930's. They use marijuana in their religious observances. Can they legally smoke pot since it's an integral part of their religion? If they are stopped how many of you "Religious Warriors" are going to stand up for them? If your answer is no then this issue isn't about religion to you, it's about you wanting to project your beliefs onto others under the guise of religion, but you don't want to allow others to be able to do the same unless you approve of what they are doing
    It's called "Being a Hypocrite".

    March 2, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  25. Journeyone

    This is the MENTALITY of the GOP. Elected and voter. Thank God they are the actual minority in America. Please keep RUSH going. He is really helping the DFL.

    March 2, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
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