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. PhilG are'nt dancing with the Oxycotin fairy again are you?

    Nummy ...Nummmy.....oxycotinnnnnnn...........

    March 3, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  2. TexasTruth

    Rush Limbaugh serves no constructive purpose for voting America. To avoid being sued for defamation Limbaugh frequently hides behind the "entertainer" story. Bring back the fairness doctrine and Rush will be out of business.

    March 3, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  3. Chris Davies

    Rush Limbaugh is incapable of listening to any sensible argument outside of his narrow world view. If you're not within his views, you're vilified. The real problem with Rush is logic and sense always fall on deaf ears.

    March 3, 2012 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  4. Anonymous

    "Medicare will not pay in full for my insulin. They want the government. to pay for their contraceptives.:

    That second sentence is false. The government is not paying; insurance companies are. Stop spreading false information and learn the facts. That goes for a whole bunch of you ignorant radical rightwing hatemonkeys.

    March 3, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  5. DC from NJ

    Any poor person, or any woman, who votes for any Republican in the next election is a fool!

    March 3, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  6. julie

    now lets wait for Rush to follow in andrew brietbart's foot steps...

    March 3, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  7. mjbrin

    i am confused.
    i was under the impression that social conservatives did not like this type of behavior from "entertainers".
    in fact they considered them a form of liberalism
    seriously, it is fascinating now how women are supposed to "turn the other cheek" yet the men have the right to inflame hatred and act like women are taking their rights women we are so scary!

    March 3, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  8. Donovan

    The fact that it's only considered "inappropriate" and was not met with a sharp, harsh rebuke ....AND the fact it didn't even come out of the Speaker's mouth ... just shows you who REALLY runs the GOP ... Limpbag.

    March 3, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  9. Deprived

    Meet the new "Obama Girl".
    This has given her celebrity status and she will milk it for all it's worth. Kind of like what Obama is doing. Most of the milking will be from the tax payers.

    March 3, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  10. Deprived

    Perhaps she will have a 'private' visit with the President.

    March 3, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  11. Doug Ericson

    Limbaugh is a street walker for the American Taliban.

    March 3, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  12. gwedwards

    @Debbie//"I have two questions...."
    1) Do Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, etc have as one of their tenets a prohibition of birth control?
    2) a. there is a huge percentage of male to female ratio, b. their testimony is about their faith, not about their perspective as a man or woman

    Does that help your confusion?

    March 3, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  13. E. Goodman

    It is pathetic how the GOP is so afraid of ruffling Limbaugh's feathers. They'd rather kiss his feet.
    If Santorum is looking for Satan on this earth, look no farther than Rush. And the Republicans can't say a single
    thing without adding on some slur on Obama or the Democrats. They are a miserable lot, cowards and bullies,
    and the saddest thing is that they have any followers at all.

    March 3, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  14. L

    His comments without a doubt are wrong and distasteful. But let us remember he is an "entertainer". Even though he has VERY right wing ideas and beliefs and a large amount of Republicans go on his show, it is not paid for by the Republicans directly. He is an employee of Clear Channel. Your focus and anger should be directed towards them. When Imus made his insults on the radio it was not a political party that pulled him off the radio it was the radio station. If you want to punish Limbaugh then Clear Channel should be where your anger should be focused. They should force him to appologize and suspend him.

    March 3, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  15. W. MacKenzie

    I wonder if Ms Fluke has a couple of strapping brothers who could pay this radio host a visit and set him straight on a few things?

    March 3, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  16. JAB62

    I for one am sick of paying for Rush's Viagra. He should do what he did for his Oxycontin.

    March 3, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  17. petemg

    Much of this started when Obama opened his mouth, dictating to insurance that they should provide contraceptives free. I would just like to know how a Georgetown qualified to show up at this hearing to present her case. It is like having a nobody showing up. Now if she would have presented her case by stating she had a medical problem and needed contraceptive. instead she did not, she just opened the door by saying it cost her $4,000. And does she have a legitimate problem. To me she made me question her lifestyle.

    March 3, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  18. boyamidumb

    Its time for the hook. Get this fool off the stage and into rehab where he belongs.

    March 3, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  19. Independant

    Here is my problem. By not condemning this type of stuff, you tacitly encourage it. I understand why others won't condemn Limbaugh. They need him to rev up the base. To be fair Dems have also been slow to condemn those on the far left that make ridiculous statements. Someone should tell the Republican base that Rush is "just an entertainer". The party is more than happy to let him be their mouthpiece and get out the message, you can't just say "he's an entertainer" when he goes off the reservation. Anybody remember Don Imus? I seem to recall he lost his job.

    March 3, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  20. The Film Professor

    I.m guessing that Rush is already writing off this year's presidential election, with good reason. So he'll be his usual self –rude, demeaning, insulting–and his dittoheads will eat it up. I do love it, however, that some of his sponsors are pulling their ads, as that is the only thing that could possibly get this man's attention.

    March 3, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  21. harry zoyster

    It's a fluke that Fluke can walk after all that screwing she's been doing.

    March 3, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  22. Deep North

    Why Oh Why is this dope fiend still on the air?

    March 3, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  23. Deep North

    Why is this drug addict still on the airwaves?

    March 3, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  24. michael

    CNN has Bill Maher on all the time he called SarAH Palin a C__t and always makes outrageous statements. Double standard as usual on Liberal bias CNN

    March 3, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  25. Joe

    Keep up the good work Limbaugh, you always show the absurdity in liberals.

    March 3, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
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