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. jessica

    I'm conservative, but Rush is a pig. He is everything that is wrong with a party. Speaking of the s-word, his wife, a potential first "LADY," was his mistress, while he had a wife and children at home. His own lack of morals, decency, or respect for family values make it absolutely obnoxious that he would take this pious stand. He is a fat piggy. PS. If we fund viagra, as taxpayers, why not fund birth control??? Isn't it worse to pay for people's erections, than to help women plan their families, and build careers before deciding to have kids?

    March 3, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  2. steve

    to ha66

    as usual, deflect from the issue. you need to respond to the issue of his comments.

    you are a tool and troll.

    March 3, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  3. HW

    This is a slap in the face of plenty of responsible married woman who use contraceptives to manage the risk of pregnancy. We all know how well depending on "abstinence" works – look at Sarah Palin's daughter. The cost of having a normal pregnancy these days without insurance can cost over 30K and even with insurance can cost 7 to 8K depending on the provider, not to mention the loss of income to stay home to take care of a new born. This is more than a health issue, it is also an economic issue that can cause a family to go into poverty. This is worse than the "N" word. The reaction should be greater than the "N" word. Rush should be taken off the air.

    March 3, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  4. frontgate

    Palin ain't talkin' because Rumball told her to keep her femnazi mouth shut and being a good female repub she obeys.

    March 3, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  5. MaryM

    Limbaugh's advertisers are starting to bail out. No responsible company wants to be associated with this mess.
    I'm looking forward to the DNC campaign ads featuring Limbaugh's ugly pig face calling women s and p. In the voice over it would state Republicans align with Limbaugh's comment . Women make up a large component in the presidential election. Most won't be voting for the GOP.

    March 3, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  6. Doug

    Rush is a radio host, I would expect comments like this from him.

    Joe Biden is Vice President, he is the first VP in our country hateful enough to say that all the Americans who disagree with his politics are terrorists.

    Barack Obama is our President, but he doesn't think so, he has claimed that he is only president for those who agree with his politics, on a univision interview he stated that all Americans rights of center are the enemy, just as he has claimed that all Christians cling to guns and religion, admitting that these are rights he wants to take away from Americans who are not liberal Democrat.

    Limbaugh can not affect your life, but then again every person complaining about Limbaugh here would either fully support or be silent as their conservative neighbors are rounded up for extermination as National Socialists have always done to their opposition, our second amendment and the ideology of decency of our military (80% republican) are the only reasons why Obama is currently an exception.

    March 3, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. Darren Poikonen

    It just shows once again what a blithering idiot Limbaugh is, as are those who actually believe that the sludge he trowels out is anything more than a substandard excuse for entertainment targeted at the narrow minded.

    March 3, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  8. BeFair

    Go ahead and get rid of abortion and contraceptives, but play fair boys. You have to stop getting vasectomies and start supporting all those babies that will arrive. You want to play? You have to pay! p.s Viagra should be illegal then, too.

    March 3, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  9. Rick

    Forget about the crude way that Rush said it. Are we supposed to feel sorry for this girl who is so broke from her free education at Georgetown that she can’t afford birth control and wants the rest of us to pay for it?

    March 3, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  10. doodahman

    It is striking how silent (Romney), abstract, obscure (i.e., Santorum – 'absurd?) and/or side-stepping the response of Republicans in public and political has been to these incredible comments by an odious man. Do Republicans really want to be so vividly defined by this hating, vitriolic fool? Can they be that cowardly? This should be a bipartisan issue. At least Brown in Mass. has been forthright. Come on Republicans- in private and public life – speak up – for God's sake..

    March 3, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. Mike

    If Repub officials decline to repudiate or take issue with the remarks, well, they're tacitly endorsing them. What creeps.

    March 3, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. Jean

    Apparently Boener has larengitis..or cowarditis and can't speak for himself . What a mealy-mouthed jerk! Afraid of that overblown, slimy, vicious , ugly, immoral, lying, excuse for a man, limbaugh. When is someone going to dump him in in the trash where he belongs? I hope and pray that Miss Fluke sues Limbaugh for slander,. The republican party should be embarassed and ashamed that they give any credence to R. lLimball! Does show haw far they have fallen though.

    March 3, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  13. teedofftaxpayer

    This young lady was trying to be Good American Citizen by testifying before Congress of her feelings and beliefs. Unfortunately the Republican party does not want the masses to speak out. They want the women to be quiet like their wives and go along with the program no matter how badly it effect women. If I was women come November I would vote for anyone except for a Republican. They don't believe in women's rights. They still think women should be barefooted and pregnant and in the kitchen. In 2012 that is kind of pathetic.

    March 3, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  14. Brian

    It seems like most people are in agreement that what he said and did was wrong to that woman, and disrespectful to women everywhere. However, the GOP seems to be walking on eggshells around this blowhard. Why? As someone from the GOP said above, he's an entertainer. Quite frankly, he's the mouthpiece for the ignorant and uneducated. They believe every single word he says because they don't know any better. So all around, Limbaugh/the GOP candidate clown car, and the mouth breathing racists of the GOP, makes me damn glad we have President Obama at the helm, to keep these folks under wraps. Because if the GOP takes the White House, stupidity and ignorance return.

    March 3, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  15. Tigerdawg

    Jessica, it is a freedom of religion issue. If you want contraceptive coverage, don't work for a religious organization. By the way, the insurance should not pay for viagra for single men either according to my religion. Assisting a husband to be able to consumate his marriage with his wife is another matter.

    March 3, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  16. MaryM

    Limbaugh, the gift that keeps on giving to the Democratic party. I can not wait to see the DNC campaign ads featuring Limbaugh's ugly pig face calling women s and p.

    March 3, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  17. annie s

    The republican response to Limbaugh's disgusting attacks has been pathetic. From Boehner's tepid "it's inappropriate" to Santorum's dismissal "entertainers are supposed to be absurd" , these cowards are showing their own contempt for women. Vote the GOTP out in 2012!

    March 3, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. Drew


    March 3, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. obandon

    I wonder how he would comment if a law was made that would force men to have a mandatory vascetomy if they father more than 2 children and don't pay for their support? If men are going to have so much to say about women's rights to protect themselves from an unwanted pregnancy, then women should begin to shout out and force men to have vascetomies in order to eliminate all these issues. This door should swing both ways folks!

    March 3, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  20. ChrisG

    I think Rush is secretly working for the Democrats. Come on Rush, admit it. You want President Obama to be re-elected

    March 3, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    It's time to Occupy the Companies that enable this toxic political manure that pollutes our political discourse and distracts the nation from real issues. Boycott any company that advertises with Rush Dumbo OR Clear Channel.

    March 3, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. Gino Martell

    Why is the GOP leadership unwilling to correct the insulting remarks made by limbaugh. The Republicans are taking a great risk of alienating the woman vote.

    March 3, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  23. Bob N

    The words were wrong, the message was right.Can't pay don't play...Thats a fact........

    March 3, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  24. thatisright1

    Who cares, this "woman" is clearly a liberal plant designed to remove the spotlight from the economy, jobs, our deficit, our debt, and rising gas prices. The $3,000 number provided by this gal is complete BS. A woman that is "poor" can receive a full exam and prescription at Planned Parenthood for less than $100. The prescription is usually for 1 year and can be filled with a generic brand for less than $5/month. This should suffice for a monogamous relationship. Even if she is sleeping around, $50 will be plenty of condoms for protection from STDs. Furthermore, how much do you want to bet that this "woman" has a fancy cell phone and $100/month cell plan? Certainly, Rush picked a poor choice of words but he was being extreme to make a point about how ridiculous this whole thing is. The President and many liberal can't run on their record and they're merely trying to distract American voters. Hopefully people are not naive enough to believe it!

    March 3, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |

    Interesting that Johnny did not say the same thing when "you lie" was screamed at the President in the chamber and then the person yelling went out and fund raised off it. Tpublicans Hippocracy in action 24/7.

    March 3, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
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