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. Mike

    I just hope they keep my little blue pill covered on all prescription plans. Men need that at times and it should be covered. Don't you guys agree. Glad we don't have to worry about pregency? Ugh

    March 3, 2012 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  2. MAK

    It seems that no one out there gets the point of contraception. If men would stop ejaculating inside of women then we would not need it! Men are the problem. Stop trying to portray woman as the ones at fault here. How about men use contraception instead of woman? The 'church' is against contraception and portray the female as some evil being for asking for help in that matter. But they never mention what the real problem is, men need to use condoms (and keep them on) or pull out before they ejaculate. The only way a woman can get pregnant is with male sperm. Wake up people!

    March 3, 2012 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  3. JMO

    This is what life is going to be like under the new American Taliban. All of these fine Republican mainstream people standing by while the far right pushes its vitrol hate. Sound familiar?

    March 3, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  4. ron9577

    Republicans used to stand for something. Now the leaders of the Republican Party are afraid to denounce this vile speech by a talk radio host because he has many listeners. It's time for the party I once supported to go back to being fiscal conservatives (not like under the Bush years) and social moderates. Then the many voters who are deserting because they can't support the Republican Party anymore, can return home.

    March 3, 2012 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  5. rick

    limbaugh didnt make these remarks, we are being fooled, this is a "false flag operation" someone was impersonating him! he can't be that stupid and still be supported by Quicken Loans all these years, could he?

    March 3, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  6. vs101

    Limbaugh has become the Dictator of the Republican party. Any republican who dares to express dispproval of him, even in the mildest form eventually ends up having a sit down with Lord Rush, begging for his forgiveness, and then publicly declaring undying loyalty to him and stating that they were "misunderstood" in their prior criticism by the "liberal, socialist media". This is the pathetic state that the republican party, and by extension this country has been reduced to.

    March 3, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  7. lovely

    To be perfectly honest!
    Limbaugh is very stu*pid, just as most of the Repu*blican party!
    Their views are so out dated, you'd have to go back 300 years to get a smidgen of support for them. They waste so much time and energy trying to tell people what they can and cannot do in their own be*droom! Its abso*lutely ridi*culous!
    Then they wonder why they have to pander to the extreme right. When it's clear the only support they get are Christian cra*zies, and rac*ist, and hom*ophobes!
    And if rush believes we get to see women on bir*th cont*rol have s*e*x, then what do we get to watch of him, as he hired ill*egal immi*grants to supply his ill*egal dr*ug add*iction?

    March 3, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  8. Me

    In almost every response from Republican's there is an excuse for the abuser. Not once did they state.."it is wrong". Boehner needed lots of prodding to delegate a weak statement that indicates it is really Ok. Santorum excuses Limbaugh as an entertainer. Chornenky talks of her rights, indicating Ms Fluke does not deserve any. Maldonado blames the "liberals" for starting the frey, excusing Limbaugh's abuse. Only Brown said it was wrong (and most conservatives think of him as a RINO) If this is their "values" I want none of it. I cannot excuse verbal vioence simply aimed at silencing a young woman who respectfully presented her side of a discussion, even though I disagree with her.

    March 3, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  9. DaveSEMass

    Santorum says "He's in a very different business than I am."

    I dunno. Santorum and Limbaugh both have the same objectives – to bring the country back to the 17th century. Perhaps they're in different "businesses", but it's clear they both really want to give us all the business.

    March 3, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  10. gregory21

    Just look at what the comments came from. A supposedly past druggie and crook who should of gone to jail but got off
    because , what else, he's rich. The guy is nothing but a radical.

    March 3, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  11. weluvtheUSA

    I have never listened to Rush Limbaugh. Thanks to you posters that hate him made me want to find out why. There are a lot of people who are now going to do the same thing which will help his ratings. You would of been smarter to keep your mouth shut!

    March 3, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  12. fiskenmann

    Should have also told the congressional panel that the 'Trojan Toys' should be covered also!

    March 3, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  13. caeser

    I love the circus...but mostly I like the clowns.

    March 3, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  14. jack

    Such harsh words of condemnation by the republican leader. How pathetic! This coward's (scared of Rush) response is an embarrisment to all women. Could not even deliver it himself. The only "adult" here is Sandra Fluke. If they have the courage, hopefulley, both Boehner's and Limbaugh's wives will have something to say to them and I hope that its not pleasent.

    March 3, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  15. deborah

    I cannot believe people are saying that we didn't hear what the pig said and are taking it out of context. ...and there are women ( i use the term loosely ) defending him...what kind of man (again loosely) say's things like that ??? He has been on Oxy so long it has damaged his brain...

    March 3, 2012 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  16. EG

    Rush Limbaugh really is a big fat idiot!!!!

    March 3, 2012 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  17. be-be

    I am a 42 yr old woman, non-catholic, I have never in my life been unable to get reduced or free contraceptives and health care, I am unemployed right now and still believe no-one should pay for my contraceptives. When has this been an issue oh wait it's an election year and Obama made it a big issue, I DON'T WANT GOVERNMENT OR THE CHURCH INVOLED IN MY HEALTH CARE. and I DON'T WANT THEM TO BE FORCED TO GO AGAINST THIER BELIEFS EITHER. this is a ploy to get Gov. involved nobody wants that. They ruin everything they toch

    March 3, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  18. Lucky18

    Not one word in the N.Y. Post about this! Very telling, Mr. Murdoch!!!

    March 3, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  19. janelle

    I do actually feel sorry for this woman. She has allowed herself to be used a pawn in the Liberals political games. Where will President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and all the other Liberal leaders be once this has blown over and they have moved on to the next contrived controversy? Meanwhile, this woman's life is in tatters. She has exhibited to every prospective employer, that she does not have common sense, does not understand responsibility, and expects that, if they hire her, they will fork out an additional $1000/year for her contraceptive needs, on top of salary and other benefits. Her career just went down the toilet before she even graduated.

    March 3, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  20. RES

    ANYONE who listens to the Hypocrite Rush is un-American! He fosters hate, evil, and divisions that tear down our nation.

    March 3, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  21. patriot

    I would have thought this guy lost all relevance & credibility after he admitted he was an oxy junkie. This guy personifies the pot calling the kettle black. Why does anyone even listen to this crackpot idiot anymore. I guess it's ok for this guy to belittle everybody while all his listeners ignore the fact that he is and always will be a pill popping hypocritical junkie.

    March 3, 2012 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  22. Kirkincho

    Why is the GOP targeting women?

    March 3, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  23. eRtwngr (@eRtwngr)

    Did the all powerful Speaker issue any comment about the Minority Leader holding a hearing without authority? A press stunt is more like it. If Boehner could just show some signs of life it would cheer up the conservative crowd immensely. Instead having his spokesperson issue some lame condemnation of civility while Bill Mahar is donating $1M to the Obama campaign. Boehner has been outflanked at every turn oln the religious freedom issue. Maybe he's the s lut

    March 3, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  24. Pete

    Just the hippocratic left playing to the press, on a personal side I'm getting old and won't be around as the United States goes belly up because not many people will really stand up for what's right. Feel sorry for my grandchildren

    March 3, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  25. Anonymous

    Walks like a duck, talks like a duck...if I, and 80 other people decide to call it a fish, it's still a duck.

    March 3, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
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