Obama joins firestorm over Limbaugh slur
Obama joins firestorm over Limbaugh slur, Obama rings up Limbaugh’s ‘slut,’ Georgetown’s Sandra Fluke, The president reaches out to a law student after a wave of crude attacks by the talk show host. In a show of moral support, President Barack Obama called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke on Friday defending her in the face of conservative radio icon Rush Limbaugh's "reprehensible ... personal and crude" attacks on her, the White House said.
The conversation, which lasted for "several minutes," came after Limbaugh branded Fluke a "slut" and a "prostitute" for her support of women having access to birth control, Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said. The president made the call right before Fluke was scheduled to appear on MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports.
Obama "wanted to offer his support to her," said Carney. "He wanted to express his disappointment that she has been the subject of inappropriate personal attacks, and to thank her for exercising her rights as a citizen to speak out on an issue of public policy."
Fluke appeared on the "Today" show Friday morning to talk about the incident. "I think my reaction was the reaction a lot of women have had historically when they've been called these types of names: Initially to be stunned by it, and then to quickly feel outraged and very upset," she said. "[It's] an attempt to silence me, to silence all of us from speaking about the health care we need."
Despite the fire around his comments, Limbaugh continued his verbal assault on Fluke on his radio show Friday, even as some conservatives spoke out against his controversial comments about contraception.
"A woman comes out of nowhere," Limbaugh said on Friday. "She's having so much sex she can't pay for it."
He didn't stop there.
"So the woman comes forth with this, frankly, hilarious claim that she's having so much sex, and her buddies with her, that she can't afford it," says Limbaugh. "And not one person says, 'Well, did you ever think about maybe backing off the amount of sex that you have? Do you ever think maybe it's your responsibility for your own birth control, not everybody else's?'"
Limbaugh also argued that Democrats made birth control an issue because Obama is polling badly with women. "This isn't about birth control. This isn't about contraception," Limbaugh said. "This is about expanding the reach of the government in to your womb. ... Whatever happened to 'Hands off our bodies'?"
The talk radio host assured listeners that he doesn't hate women and asked his critics to lighten up.
At the hearing where Fluke originally spoke about the issue, she argued women should have free access to contraceptives, complaining that Georgetown, a Catholic university, won't cover it for her.
"Contraception can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school," she said. "For a lot of students like me who are on public interest scholarships, that's practically an entire summer's salary."
After her comments, Limbaugh lashed out on Wednesday, when the whole controversy began. "What does it say about the college co-ed Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says she must be paid to have sex?" Limbaugh said. "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."
Limbaugh later suggested that in exchange for contraceptives paid for by taxpayers, Fluke should produce a sex tape.
"If we are going to pay for your contraceptives and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it," Limbaugh said. "We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch."
House Democrats immediately called on House speaker John Boehner to denounce Limbaugh's comments, and his office did so on Friday.
"The speaker obviously believes the use of those words was inappropriate, as is trying to raise money off the situation," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told CNN.