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. Tommy Mack

    The viagara and oxycontin munchin' blimp said something mean. Who's surprised? He hates America and wants to make sure his cash in the Caymen Islands is ok.

    March 3, 2012 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  2. TopKnowledge

    At least House Speaker Boehner sent an aide who called Limbaugh's remarks inappropriate. Santorum and others defended women but Mitt Romney spat in the face of every female voter. The more you see of Mitt Romney, the uglier the picture gets. Mitt Romney thinks he's above the law, he thinks his religion is superior to everyone else's religion and he believes that women are only second-class citizens whose job is to make babies, clean the house and obey their husbands. Why would any woman want to vote for Mitt Romney and a return to the Dark Ages?

    March 3, 2012 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  3. skarphace

    "He's being absurd, but that's you know, an entertainer can be absurd,"

    Herein lies the rub. The Republicans can have some jerk like Limbaugh say whatever they want to say but don't want to say it out loud for political reasons, and then turn around and call such language 'innappropriate'.

    Win-win. The Republicans are clearly winning the propaganda war.

    March 3, 2012 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  4. skarphace

    Kirk W: "actually heard what Rush said... and not what the Media and the democrats are saying that he said"

    Excuse me, but he said it on the air. When you listen to the video, they play his exact comments. Therefore he said it.

    March 3, 2012 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  5. Thomas

    Why wont people march and protest around Rush's studio.
    A one million woman march.

    March 3, 2012 02:54 am at 2:54 am |

    Romney says "I would't have used those words", Santorum says 'he's an entertainer and that's a different business than I am in" This is exactly why the republican field of candidates is such a joke now! This is the best you both can do and you want to run the country? Limbaugh is a hateful, evil, waste of air. President Obama picks up the phone and calls this young woman to tell her he is proud of her for standing up for what she belives in and that her parents should be proud of her also. Who is the inteligent one here?

    March 3, 2012 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  7. Mom of Three

    Considering what Rush Limbaugh would be willing to do for a Vicodin, he should hardly be the one to talk.

    March 3, 2012 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  8. xarmy21

    Limbaugh someone pays this Hitler to talk must've the republicans only fools would be proud of him

    March 3, 2012 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
  9. john hammett

    If the women at Georgetown are having SO MUCH S E X is this really an ad to get their enrollment up.

    If you can afford Georgetown WHY can't you afford condems ?

    March 3, 2012 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  10. heyheyhey

    Rush is the embodiment of how you should never raise your child to act like. He better check himself before he wrecks himself. The notion there is intelligent life stops at him lol.

    March 3, 2012 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  11. snowdogg

    Limbaugh should be fired, just as was Don Imus. But that won't happen... the ignorant gasbag will continue to spew his vitrol to the last breath.

    March 3, 2012 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  12. FL

    Limbaugh degrades women, and he's forgetting that was a woman who brought him to this world.
    –Limbaugh degrada a las mujeres, y está olvidando que fue una mujer que lo trajo a este mundo.

    March 3, 2012 03:41 am at 3:41 am |
  13. rude

    The Taliban is upon us, and thy name is GOP.

    March 3, 2012 03:43 am at 3:43 am |
  14. TampaMel

    The word 'inappropriate' (describing what Limbaugh said) is an INAPPROPRIATE word in this case. The word should be REPREHENSIBLE. Limbaugh is a clown and a joke and to place him like this in the news is to give him more credibility they he deserves. To me the most telling thing is the Republican women's groups. When asked to comment on Limbaugh's comment, they did not address it at all. Sometimes I think if you are a woman and you are a conservative Republican you are probably a 'Stepford Wife' (see the movie or just look it up). How can any women stay neutral on subjects that affect their lives? Do conservative women believe being subservient to their male counterparts is where God ment them to be?

    March 3, 2012 04:15 am at 4:15 am |
  15. Linden Atrocity

    I am all for freedom of speech. But really? This fat piece of crap practically gets away with every bloated piece of garbage that comes out of his hypocritical mouth, and for whatever reason there is a large group of people that actually enjoy that vile liquid ooze that spews from his orrifice. He is unprofessional, and if I was a republican I would be ashamed that he is afiliated with my party.

    March 3, 2012 04:18 am at 4:18 am |
  16. Leif

    Limbaugh is the go to guy for crazy. He never disappoints.

    March 3, 2012 04:33 am at 4:33 am |
  17. He was talking about his new wife

    He confused her with his new wife.

    March 3, 2012 04:40 am at 4:40 am |
  18. Big Munny

    I don't listen to that gasbag but would like to know who sponsors his show so I can avoid their products.

    March 3, 2012 04:53 am at 4:53 am |
  19. Bogus

    Rush's new wife didn't marry him for his good looks nor his charm. That leaves $$$

    March 3, 2012 05:02 am at 5:02 am |
  20. OrangeW3dge

    Wait A Minute,
    "A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner on Friday said the top Republican condemns a controversial comment", and the Speaker, himself, did not even make a statement????

    March 3, 2012 05:02 am at 5:02 am |
  21. Ditto Head

    Rush's new wife didn't marry him for his good looks nor his charm. That leaves $$$

    March 3, 2012 05:03 am at 5:03 am |
  22. Bill

    Men should stay the hell out of women's business. How do they have the right to say anything. When they start having babies they will have the right.

    March 3, 2012 05:05 am at 5:05 am |
  23. pray

    the koolaide is not making you think Republican or Democrat, the koolaide effect is that it turns you against one another so that these crooks (Obama and the GOP) can rob this country blind all the while you exchange barbs. herein lies the stupidity, you falling for it. Shame on you for not thinking once again

    March 3, 2012 05:11 am at 5:11 am |
  24. RinosRwinos

    What do you expect coming from Rush Limpbulb? Hannity, Limpbulb, and Couter get paid millions of dollars to spew this kind of tripe to the right wing followers on Fox. Would you expect anything less?

    March 3, 2012 05:28 am at 5:28 am |
  25. icantseeit

    All of this over a radio spockesperson.If you listen to this guy over two minutes then you can be lead to believe that pigs can fly..even backwards.

    March 3, 2012 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
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