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. False Dichotomy

    A confederacy of scu.mbags.

    March 2, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  2. westward

    Too little, too late. And no where near enough from the GOP to set Rush Limbaugh straight.

    GOP = the anti-women party.

    March 2, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  3. Nft

    The problem for Limbaugh is that what brain he has and his mouth are located on the wrong end of his alimentary canal.

    March 2, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  4. texas bob

    Notice, none of the republicans condemned what limbaugh said, just used mild words like innapropriate and absurd. limbuagh should be unplugged, he is nothing but a big fat bag of wind. why anyone with half a brain listens to him is beyond me.

    March 2, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  5. A Southern Lady - North Carolina

    What has happened to the once-proud Republican party that they hear this kind of language from Rush and none of them speak out? They attack the President and every other Democrat at every turn yet not one of them has expressed outrage for the disgusting statements made by Rush. Why not? Do they agree with what he said or are they all too cowardly to call Rush Limbaugh exactly what he is – a disgusting bigot who revels in embarassing and hurting others. I have come to expect this kind of behavior from Limbaugh but what concerns me the most in the silence of the other Republicans. They fall further and further into darkness.

    March 2, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  6. Anonymous


    March 2, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  7. Howard

    Rush's comments pale in comparison to those vile public insults, which ran non-stop, towards Palin's daughter ... maybe it's time to return the favor to Obama's daughters !!!

    March 2, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  8. jes wondring

    So with unemployment over 8% and the Iranian leadership closing in on nuclear capabilities, Obama decides to take the time to telephone this witness to comfort her over how Limbaugh put her down? So her feelings were hurt by the name calling, and just how does that stack up to the feelings of those families hurt by the loss or wounding of a loved one who served this nation in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.? Does Obama telephone each one of those grieving and hurt families, or are they not as important in his eyes? This President remains an incompetent micromanager and continual campaigner even after three years of myriad mistakes. He does not lead; he does not improve our lives on the big issues of unemployment, national debt, immigration, Iran, etc. He's carried on the formerly despised policies of Bush regarding Gitmo, drones, Iraq and Afghanistan, while increasing dramatically the rate of killing with our drones. If Gitmo is really the rallying banner for the terrorists, why has Obama allowed it to remain? Does he want them to be rallied? You can't have it both ways. Time to go, Mr. O.

    March 2, 2012 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  9. TexMan

    When the GOP recognizes that the sack of sh et limp appendage Limbaugh is so far right as to be off the chart he has certainly gone too far.

    But I like it when I hear stuff like this from him. It only makes it easier for the real US middle class to vote this year. The class centric ....... keep the Bush 2 tax cuts for the rich and Evangelical bent are history. Maybe they will figure it out in 2016.

    March 2, 2012 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  10. MaryM

    Limbaugh is a misogynistic pig. He has lost 4 sponsors so far, still have more to boycott

    March 2, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  11. Col

    Women can do what ever you want with your wombs. But dont expect the rest of us to pay for it.

    March 2, 2012 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  12. Rufoscoe

    This is rich coming from a hypocrite junkie

    March 2, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  13. nolimits3333

    The Republican war on women's health care will cost them in November.

    March 2, 2012 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  14. Carmen

    yes because the only thing birth control pills are used for is birth control. Doctors don't prescribe them at all to try to control heavy menstrual flows or anemia.

    March 2, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  15. mj

    Why doesn't CNN do a survey at Drug Stores to see how many Seniors refuse perscriptions because they can not afford them? Yet, our Government finds it necessary to pay for contraceptives for single, wealthy, law students.

    March 2, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  16. Valerie from Raleigh

    The best way to silence a hate-filled person like Rush Limbaugh is through his pocket book. All decent people should boycott the sponsors that support his radio show. How can we get a list of these companies? The leaders of the Republican party (are there any statesment left?) will do nothing to stop this disgusting behavior but, I am sure, once his sponsors start losing business, they will kick him to the street where he belongs. Please – anyone – publish a list of his sponsors.

    March 2, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  17. Don Beal

    Limbaugh's earnings are in eight figures, but he is a jerk of stupendous proportions.

    "Ah but ain't that America for you and me
    Ain't that America somethin' to see baby
    Ain't that America home of the free, yeah
    Little pink houses for you and me
    oh yeah for you and me"

    Thanks, John Mellancamp. Love those lyrics.

    March 2, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  18. Stubby

    Who cares? Bill Maher calls Sara Palin a CNUT and Obama doesn't care. Move on.

    March 2, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  19. Linus

    And these Republicans think they can defend America against its enemies but can't stand up for a college girl being unfairly attacked? All these Republicans lack you know what (hint, only men have them). Santo, Romney, Boehner, Issa and all the Repbublican establishment are terrified of their bully king Limbaugh. All the Republican leaders dare say about Rush's comments is that they were "inappropriate". They're are spineless. Perhaps Mitt and Santo should let their wives run for president instead. They would do a better job defending poor powerless girls. The Taliban is probably proud of the way Rush treats women and would love to make him their president!

    March 2, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  20. Jacques Schlock

    Rush went overboard no doubt, but I don't want my tax dollars paying for birth control pills, condoms, lube or whatever. Just keep the darn things in your pants, if you can't, then pay for your own fricken birth control.

    March 2, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  21. mrhapiguy

    Give the cranky dough-boy some Oxy already. Clearly he needs it.

    March 2, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  22. Seattle Voter

    I feel sorry for those CONSERVATIVE MEN out there because I think they are very confuse. If all the CONSERVATIVE WOMEN out there are not taking any kind/type of CONTRACEPTIVE I can assure you they have more than 2-3 kids.

    March 2, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  23. Perry

    While the comment was uncalled for, what a bunch of hypocrits. Where was the outrage when every politician, celebrity and activist on the left villified Sarah Palin with terms far worse. Enough with the phony indignation, the left is pathetic.

    March 2, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  24. LaPlut

    Unfortunately, Limpballs is laughing all the way to the bank on this. That was his goal and we grabbed onto it hook line and sinker. We need to ignore this idiot and hopefully he'll go away.

    March 2, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  25. Dan

    Boehner should know better than to criticize his God.
    He hates to admit it... that Limbaugh is right.

    March 2, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
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