House Speaker John Boehner distanced himself on Friday from Rush Limbaugh, calling the conservative radio host's words toward a women's rights advocate "inappropriate."
J. Scott Applewhite / AP
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, talks about a lunch meeting with President Obama to deal with rising gasoline prices, at the Capitol in Washington, Feb. 29, 2012.
Amid a growing media firestorm over comments Wednesday by Limbaugh toward Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown Law student who testified before a Democratic panel on the use of contraception, Washington's top Republicans said through a spokesman that Limbaugh was wrong.
"The speaker obviously believes the use of those words was inappropriate, as is trying to raise money off the situation," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement.
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The comment refers to Democratic fundraising efforts related to Limbaugh's comments, in which he called Fluke a "slut." Fluke had been asked to testify about the policy of Georgetown University, a Catholic college, toward covering contraception for students. Her testimony came amid a controversy in Washington in recent weeks regarding the extent to which religious institutions should be required to cover contraceptive services as part of their insurance policies, despite moral objectives to contraception.
"What does it say about the college co-ed [Sandra] Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex," Limbaugh said on his show. "What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute."
His comments quickly became political fodder for House Democrats, whose leader, California Rep. Nancy Pelosi, decried Limbaugh's comments as "outside the circle of civilized discussion and that unmask the strong disrespect for women held by some in this country." The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee additionally sought donations as a result of the outrage.
"I think my reaction was the reaction that a lot of women have had when, historically, they've been called these types of names and that really I think ... and that was initially, to be stunned by it, but then to quickly feel outraged and very upset by it," Fluke said about Limbaugh's remarks Friday on the TODAY show.
Sandra Fluke, the birth control activist called a "slut" and "prostitute" by conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh, talks to TODAY's Matt Lauer about Limbaugh's comments and the failure of a GOP-sponsored amendment that would have allowed employers to opt out of providing contraception in health plans.