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. VbdVbd

    Hey, a couple Vicodins, and a little scotch and these two could really get underway. The Speaker should have admonished him yet took a term cat lovers use.

    March 2, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  2. Big Munny

    The Republicans have gone out of their way to offend and put the beat down and the bad mouth on seniors, blacks, Hispanics, women, gays, lesbians, college students, police, firefighters, union members, women, children, lawyers, the poor, the homeless, and the middle class in general. Then they accuse the President of class warfare.

    March 2, 2012 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  3. NKBL

    Totally off what the issue is about, contraception is a prescription drug and should be covered. Period, end of sentence.

    March 2, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  4. James M. Hill

    Given the fact that Rush spews hatred and intolerance ; Given that he never takes responsibility for what he says; Given that he makes a joke out of hatred, any thinking person needs to boycott any company that advertises on his show throughtout the country. Oh and by the way don't buy his new product (Two If By Tea) when you drink it you can't think straight and say really ignorant things. Beware of the new "Cool-Aid".

    March 2, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  5. scott

    Rush Limbaugh has done more to hurt America, and the Republican party, than Osama Bin Laden. Just saying.

    March 2, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  6. Dawn Tarr

    Dear Women of the Republican Party,

    Can you not see how much you are loathed in the republican party. Men in this party have no purpose for you 363 days out of the year......except on the day when you cast your ballot. On all the other days they are trying to take your rights away; trying to paint you as stupid and weak; or exploiting you to get votes from men who vote with their penis' instead of their brains. When will you wake up? And those women who are so self loathing as to listen to rush limbaugh and actually consider what he says........well there is no hope for you, but for those who are offended.......step back and really look back on what the republican party has done for you........NOTHING!!

    March 2, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  7. Rodney Wedig

    Great ideas, if you can't afford contraception, have a baby. That is much cheaper.

    March 2, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  8. B100Z

    It's all sunshine and lollipops.

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

    Who cares what you think Rino crybaby you are gone voting time you spineless twerp!

    March 2, 2012 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  10. BHPT

    At least one commentator today opined that Limbaugh WANTS Obama to win. Seems Rush's show does better when he's the loyal opposition. Is this what's really going on?
    Disgusting that he apparently thinks he has to call a decent young woman ugly names to further his goal –

    March 2, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  11. Naeco

    The republikcan party is dead. bye bye!

    March 2, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  12. Disgusted

    Boehner: Hack and a coward. Santorum: Sanctamonious hack. Romney: Coward, weaker than a hack. Brown: Opportunist.
    Chomenky: Hack. Maldonado: Hack.

    March 2, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  13. randumb guy

    Santorum can say Rush is an "entertainer" all he wants, but as soon as he spouts something Ricko believes in Rush is a prophet. Too much oxy ruins the brain permanently - the weirest part is that Rush can pull others down the rabbit hole with him.

    March 2, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  14. Richard

    Another spoiled brat who wants the public to pay for her lifestyle. These parasites haven't changed since their worthless parents were rioting on campuses in the 1960's.

    March 2, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  15. Jeff Manley

    If the shoe fits

    March 2, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  16. helpusall

    Its hard to believe that these people are leaders that are catering to this one man who is totally ignorant. Limbaugh believes in what he is saying this is not entertainment. Michael Steele is a huge disappointment.

    March 2, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  17. the_dude

    I'll make it very simple for you idiots. Everything in America (wars, birth control, welfare, section 8, polticians salaries, etc) is now paid for by borrowing money from other countries. We have borrowed so much that we will never be able to repay it in a million lifetimes. The staggaring amount of taxes collected go just to pay interest on these loans. Evetually the other countries will wise up and not only stop lending but call in the debts. When that happens we will all be in for a huge reality check and stupid issues like this will be the least of anyones concerns. No one will care about birth control when they cant afford to eat.

    March 2, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  18. mike

    This morning, in an interview with Matt Lauer on the Today show, it was revealed that she is 30 years old, NOT the 23 that had been reported all along.

    In other words, folks, you are being played. She has been an activist all along and the Dems were just waiting for the appropriate time to play her.

    While she is described as a “third year law student” they always fail to mention that she is also the past president of Law Students for Reproductive Justice.

    March 2, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  19. normajean @ verizon ,com

    It isn't hard to see where your thinking lies!!!!! I repeat my last statement and you Can't take THAT away from me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 2, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  20. Al

    I didn't see anyone shed a tear when the Democrats where attacking Bush or the Alaska Governor Palin, I don't see why anyone is shedding a tear about some hoe that wants free birth control. Get over it buy it or close the legs doll.

    March 2, 2012 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  21. gary

    I would like to point out that these comments are brought to us a former(?) vicodin addict..............

    March 2, 2012 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  22. ed

    democrat party is cruel to women.

    They are looking for votes since they don't have any good accomplishments to show for in the last four years.

    Where are women with dignity to reputiate the democrat party?

    March 2, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  23. NameSMF314

    Three cheers for Piers! - for delivering a stinging, articulate rebuke to Rush Limbaugh for his latest remarks. If more people had the courage to take on (or at least ignore) extremists on the Left and Right, it would improve the quality of political discourse and allow more rational people to actually get something done in Washington.

    March 2, 2012 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  24. RushIsAlive?

    Rush hasn't gotten any for a long time, since his housekeeper stopped buying him meds on her RX's. And let's not forget he dodged the draft with a pimple on his ass. Is Rush still alive? I thought he left us years ago... what a putz he is!

    March 2, 2012 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  25. clnee55

    everything is about money. Everyone wants to play but others to pay

    March 2, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
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