Obama explains phone call to Fluke
March 6th, 2012
03:00 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama explains phone call to Fluke

(CNN) – President Barack Obama further explained Tuesday why he called and offered support to Sandra Fluke, the law student targeted by Rush Limbaugh last week after advocating for contraception coverage in a Democratic hearing on Capitol Hill.

In his first press conference of the year, Obama said he was thinking about his own two daughters when he picked up the phone to call Fluke on Friday.

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"One of the things I want them to do as they get older is to engage in issues they care about, even ones I may not agree with them on," he said. "I want them to be able to speak their mind in a civil and thoughtful way, and I don't want them attacked or called horrible names because they're being good citizens."

He added: "I wanted Sandra to know that I thought her parents should be proud of her, and that we want to send a message to all our young people that being part of a democracy involves arguments and disagreements and debate."

Limbaugh issued an apology this weekend, saying he did not use the best choice of words when he labeled Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute" during his radio show last week.

Fluke, who attends Georgetown Law, appeared before a Democratic panel the week prior, calling for more coverage of contraceptives as a health care issue.

Her testimony came in the wake of a recent compromise reached by the Obama administration, which amended a controversial policy to now allow religiously-affiliated institutions to be exempt from paying for contraceptives in their health insurance plans.

Since Limbaugh made the comments last week, a flood of advertisers have pledged to take their business elsewhere, and two radio stations have pulled the plug on his show all together.

On Tuesday, Obama declined to comment on the firestorm that has erupted over Limbaugh's remarks, as well as the conservative firebrand's apology.

"What I can comment on is the fact that all decent folks can agree that the remarks that were made don't have any place in the public discourse," Obama said.

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Filed under: Health care • President Obama • Rush Limbaugh
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. JOHN

    Which was the right thing to do! Expressing his concern for that young lady. I would hope someone would do same for daughter if she was being attack

    March 6, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  2. Debby

    Yeah okay Barry, did you call Gov. Palin when Bill Maher called her a vile name. You even took Maher's money that means you agree with his name calling.

    March 6, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  3. koolman

    You tell um pres. Us sane people are with you!

    March 6, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. OMG obama is my guy

    i cant wait till election day obama2012

    March 6, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  5. Dave

    Mitt the coward decided to hide & bow to Rush on this. Do you really want a Commander In Chief who cant even stand up to a pig like Limbaugh????????????

    March 6, 2012 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  6. Albert

    When was the last time a President personally contacted someone simply for testifying before Congress? Leave it to the press to break away from the real issue. The real issue being: should the government mandate universal contraception coverage? In many ways that issue is moot since we will soon have universal healthcare. As usual, the Supreme Court will decide that fate. So, what is the point of this really? Let's have a discussion on our economy and what is happening with Israel and Iran. On to the next topic...

    March 6, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  7. Loren, Keene NH

    How about Bill Maher Mr. President? You took $1million dollars in PAc money from from and he called Sarah Palin a horrible word. Chris Mathews too called Sarah Palan stupid. Does anyone know how hurtful that would be? Stupid means "ungodly).

    March 6, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. koolman

    I'd love to see big ole tough rick put some boxing gloves on and get in the ring with the president for a few rounds. Us just see how tough he really is. I'd put my money on obama for a 1st round KO

    March 6, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. simp

    @ Deby's dumb comment

    Palin is a vile woman who loves to get in the lime light and say nasty things about people herself, you Deby cannot even compare the two ths young law student has a brain and palin doesn't not even close!!

    March 6, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  10. Tom in the Great NW


    March 6, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. ja

    obama did the right thing, what kind of corporations sponsored rush, that is my question

    March 6, 2012 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. American

    President Obama is a man of decency & real compassion.

    Obama 2012

    March 6, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  13. NOvember 2012

    a press conference eh? Still in the damage control mode...he said he called the student (prior to her going on a morning TV program)because he was thinking of his daughters...now THAT is funny... a coincidence his second press conference (if you want to call it that) in a year on the same day as super tuesday...coincidence...hahaha Israel just told him to shove it...and gas prices are increasing for the 28 consecutive day...and and...and obama does damage control...what a phony. This is mr. lead from behind and stamp out the fires AFTER they blasé.

    March 6, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  14. betterdays

    Buy all the contraceptives you want. Nobody is stopping you.

    March 6, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  15. Michael

    Obama was thinking of his daughters regarding the slur. At the time of the slur, Rush was probably thinking of his ex-wives.

    March 6, 2012 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. Charlotte

    @simp you are right and @debby is wrong. Most americans know this. @Debby is just trying to troll for any place where she can make hate speech against the President because she is a bigot. If you don't believe it, find her other posts around the Internet. There are people who are preparing to deal with her in person.

    March 6, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  17. GoldenGod

    I can't stand what Obama is doing to our country. But I must back him on this one. He really has no other reasonable choice. He can't strike without trying to see if diplomacy will work. No one wants war – not the Republicans, not the Democrats, not the Israeli's. It's really up to the Iranian regime to give up their nuclear program. Does anyone really want to see a lunatic like Amadinijad witha nuke? Not me. Netanyahu was right on when he said "I cannot allow my nation to be threatened with annihalation." I can't blame him – would anyone want Castro sitting in Cuba with a stockpile of nukes? It's the closest we have come to a full out nuclear war till now. A nuclear Iran is the biggest threat to the world as we know it.

    March 6, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  18. Charlotte

    ....and of course @Domincant is trying to excite himself vicariously because he lacks...um...shall we say capability.

    March 6, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  19. Hammerer

    obama neglected to say that she was a troll of his calling for free contraceptives when everyone knows that they are free on most clinics in America. Just so happens she is a radical looking for a stage and obama gave her one.
    He probably ask where to send her check!

    March 6, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  20. ted

    most everyone in the GOP candidate clown car as well as the media arm of the GOP, Fox Noise, are ignorant and stupid. Limbaugh shoudl be immediately shipped to Gitmo.

    March 6, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  21. Martha in CF

    Mr President,
    Way to be that guy who thinks before opening his mouth. I know this is something the good old Redumblicans are lacking. Only lies and hurtful words come out of their mouths. Can't we all just get along??????????

    Obama/Biden 2012

    March 6, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  22. max

    Loren, Keene NH

    How about Bill Maher Mr. President? You took $1million dollars in PAc money from from and he called Sarah Palin a horrible word. Chris Mathews too called Sarah Palan stupid. Does anyone know how hurtful that would be? Stupid means "ungodly).

    March 6, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
    Are you serious....have you heard the things Sarah had to say about the President and the FLOTUS? "Palling around with terrorist" I know your intellect is limited like Sarah but let me explain: Sarah is a public figure who is versed in the art of demagoguery. Nobody owes her anything. She needs to role with the punches since she has no problem throwing her red meat out there....remember Ms. Gifford...how soon we forget.
    Miss Fluke is a private citizen doing her civic doing by testifying before congress. She has to be protected whatever you dislike about her testimony. She does not deserve to be attack for testifying. Again I don't expect you can comprehend the difference....what with your logic...sheesh.

    March 6, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    The President can call whomever he likes, whenever he likes. Period. I am sorry that he felt compelled to explain his phone call to anyone.
    In regards to Iran I thank God that he's in charge during these tense times and not the Texas Cowboy. Diplomacy must be exhausted,and if anyone can be diplomatic it is our President. Cool steady hand at the helm is he, not shoot form the hip ask questions later. I would additionally ask that those who are in the business of keeping their name in the news through their vitriol, for once, shut the hell up and think about our nation first for a change.
    @ Fair is Fair it is my sincere hope and prayer that you have your son safely back home with you and yours this coming May.
    Obama 2012. Seriously America.

    March 6, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  24. Jane

    @ Loren and Debby: Of course it's not 'grown up' to call anyone names. However, the examples you cite were about people who intentionally placed themselves in the public arena...and were pretty good at spewing the hate and lies themselves. Ms. Fluke, however, is a private citizen who does not have the platform that slime like Limbaugh have to speak her piece. If Mr. Limbaugh had bothered to watch Ms. Flukes testimony and listen to her words, he would have known that Ms Fluke discussed the situation of a friend who required contraception for medical reasons and said NOTHING about her own position. And by the way, thanks to the obstruction and hysteria of the Republican House, we are the only first world nation that does NOT have national health and therefore Ms.Fluke's (or anyone's) birth control prescription is not free. It's paid for through her insurance. Sheesh....

    March 6, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  25. PeterD

    The Lies of President Obama continues to grow at a faster pace at end of 2011 and That could set the stage for stronger Lies this year.

    March 6, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
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