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. gwats

    You've got an entire political Party afraid of a blowhard with a microphone and a bully pulpit. GOP,
    is THIS the representation you want in Washington for the next 4 years? This guy needs to be slapped down, and anyone who is afraid of the Fat boy from South Florida needs to find his manhood or retire.

    March 3, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  2. Jeannette Odom

    I believe that those who are using Rush as their so called spokesperson have as many mental issues as the man himself. Are those the type of people we truly want running our society? Seriously apparently we have continually allowed this fanatic way too much air time or attention.

    March 3, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  3. Charles Beale

    Inappropriate? The guy is a disgrace to humanity. Only in the US would his rant be allowed, if nothing else than for seriously bad taste!

    March 3, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  4. IndeePendant

    Breaking News – In order to prove his point that it's a normal practice in his family to make videos when making love, Limbaugh has announced that he would post "Love Making Videos" of his Parents and his own with his earlier wives and current wife. It will all be done in HD quality, some of them with Limbaugh himself watching and commenting about his Dad and Mom participated in making babies. There you go – you CON(servative) people, who are the defenders and supporters of Limbaugh – your messaiah of has shown you how to relase the videos so you can too. Then we can all determine why your ilk want to see others private videos, and how you will get a hard-on and how you can avoid using any CONtraceptives. ENJOY the forthcoming Love Making Videos of your Master Limbaugh's parents. BTW, like 'Artist' they may be in B&W, coz they are old.

    March 3, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  5. geckopelli

    Who could possibly care what a fat slob of a pill junkie says?

    March 3, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  6. Mike

    Ïnappropriate"? it's not like Boehner to engage in understatement. These guys don't have a clue.

    March 3, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  7. Charlotte

    I think what Rush did was completely inappropriate but to hold Boehner accountable for a radio show hosts comments is a self serving ploy by the left. The real issue is whether or not the government can force a religious organization to cover birth control for their employees when it is against their beliefs. Please stop being side tracked by ploys from the left. These same employers currently do not cover birth control so how can women to access to something they already don't have. What is "access" anyway? Last time I checked you purchase birth control from a pharmacy. The church isn't blocking your access to a pharmacy are they. They just expect you to pay for the birth control yourself if you want to use it. Do I not have access to food because my employer doesn't go grocery shopping for me? I'm completely lost by this access issue!

    March 3, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  8. jack Dempsey

    Ok, I think most agree that Limbaugh's comments were inappropriate. What I don't agree with is the double standard in which people like Bill Mayer are able to call Sarah Palin the C word on many occasions, and it is considered entertainment. Mr. Mayer just formed a super PAC for Obama, with a huge contribution of his own. So, why did we not hear the media pressure Obama, Harry Hied, and Nancy Polosi, to make comments on how inappropriate Mr Maher is, particularly since he is a big financial contributor to the Democrats?? This is Hypocrisy, plain and simple.

    March 3, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  9. peter doubley

    Is that the best he could do? I guess that as Santorum says, "Sometimes you have to take one for the team!" Well, if Santorum or Romney wins, we will know who is in charge – Rush! I wonder what his collection of videos is like, because he sounds like the mere thought of "girls gone wild" gets his levers and buttons spinning at breathtaking speed. His comment about wanting the videos reveals a deep psycholoogical yearning. Addictions are real. Virtual realities are fantasies. Republicans, particularly the religious right, have real fantastic values hero in this man! But, Guess Who is Coming to Dinner in 2013?

    March 3, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  10. Just my take

    No one seems to ever be honest anymore. Both Limbaugh and this woman's comments were filled with insults. Limbaugh's insults are evident. This woman's comments insult our intelligence by stating others should fund 3000 dollars of contraception for her. Everyone has access to contraception, no advocation is necessary. Limbaugh's comments were on his radio show, the lady made her's in Congressional testimony. Notice how each side of the issue ignore their culpability.

    March 3, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  11. ed

    when will sara p "refudiate" rush windbags comment??

    March 3, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  12. gtb

    I'm sure Obama also called Andrew Breitbart's widow to comfort her for all the horrible, disgusting comments made about her husband. Oh wait, it has nothing to do with comfort or uncalled for remarks. Just politics.

    March 3, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  13. woodyplace

    This man gets paid millions of dollar to behave like a pig. Shame on you television and radio producers (men) for paying him a salary and to the American people (men and women) for listening to him. He has disrepected your mothers, sisters, wives and daughters. Shame on you Republiccan women for not speaking out against him. This means two things: you either agree withhim or you are afraid. Women will never have equal protection or rights if they don't stand up to a bully.
    This is what "Limbut" is. Take his microphone away and he's nothing. He nothing withit.

    March 3, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  14. mike

    the GOP is completely imploding at every angle!!!!!!! They dont stand a chance in hell of beating Mr Obama

    March 3, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  15. Grim Reaper

    whatever she is -she's an ugly one.

    March 3, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  16. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    Someone must have taken away Rush's oxycontin.

    March 3, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  17. Doug Ericson

    Keep on trucking.

    March 3, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  18. Gimmeabreak!

    Other than using "offensive" words, Limbaugh was absolutely correct in his assessment of the young lady's "demands." What, the heck, happened to personal responsibility? Or better yet, why not have her parents pay for her "adventures"? Why should I pay for them? Gimmeabreak!

    March 3, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  19. Lizzie

    Where oh where have all the righteous democrats and liberals been, when Bristol Palin was attacked on Natl. TV, Ms. Fluke claims to be a feminist activist, where was she in 2008?

    March 3, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  20. Poor Rush

    A spokesman said something critical of Rush? I wonder if Micheal Steel is going to apologize for that too.

    March 3, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  21. SlowGun

    "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.

    Can the speaker explain why it is inappropriate to raise money to fight this type of ignorant, bigotted statement.
    Would it be inappropriate to raise fund to fight against a statement that said white irishh men are all drunks and wife beaters?

    I feel we all have a responsiliblity to stand up against this type of crap...but the Republicans can't, cause they all bow down to Rush.

    March 3, 2012 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  22. Thom

    I love how Rush says 'you, me, and the taxpayer', implying he and his listeners are not taxpayers.

    March 3, 2012 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  23. Independent Thinking Man

    As a just right of center Independent, the republican party (aka Christian Taliban) is at it again. I find it ironic that for a party who supposedly believes in individual freedom from government interference wants to, in the same breath, jump into the examination room of a woman and her doctor to prevent her from deciding for HERSELF what is in her best interests. Rush Limbaugh is a drug addicted thug who is about as brilliant as the party he supports. Ronald Reagan is truly dead in the republican party. They disgust me.

    March 3, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  24. Kim

    Republicans have their champions, and Limbaugh is one of their shining stars. I don't know how much plainer you can be about what the Republican mind-set is and how much they depise women and free speech. A thinking, rational and intelligent mind is a very real threat to Republicans and their agenda to turn back the clock to the dark ages.

    March 3, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  25. george

    I am a diehard leftist. I have to confess. I actually feel sorry for the right. Seriously, buffons like Rush that spew their entertainment hatred and stupidity are hurtful to the right. Rush and his type are all about money. They do not care about the GOP anymore than I do , and I do not lmao.

    March 3, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
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