Obama joins attack on Limbaugh
by David Crary
Associated Press Writer
March 03, 2012 12:00 AM | 634 views | 8 8 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
NEW YORK — Rush Limbaugh drew fire Friday from many directions, including President Barack Obama, for his depiction of a college student as a “slut” because she testified before Congress about the need for contraceptive coverage.

The third-year Georgetown University law student, Sandra Fluke, received a supportive phone call from Obama, and was backed by members of Congress, women’s groups, and the administration and faculty at her Roman Catholic university.

Calls for Limbaugh’s sponsors to pull their ads from his radio talk show rocketed through cyberspace, and at least two companies, bedding retailers Sleep Train and Sleep Number, said on their Twitter accounts that they were complying with the demands.

Obama considers Limbaugh’s remarks “reprehensible,” according to White House spokesman Jay Carney. He said the president called Fluke to “express his disappointment that she has been the subject of inappropriate personal attacks” and to thank her for speaking out on an issue of public policy.

“The fact that our political discourse has become debased in many ways is bad enough,” Carney said. “It is worse when it’s directed at a private citizen who was simply expressing her views.”

Obama reached Fluke by phone as she was waiting to go on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports.”

“What was really personal for me was that he said to tell my parents that they should be proud,” a choked-up Fluke told Mitchell. “And that meant a lot because Rush Limbaugh questioned whether or not my family would be proud of me. So I just appreciated that very much.”

Fluke was given a chance to talk to Congress on Feb. 23, even though lawmakers were on a break and just a few Democratic allies were on hand to cheer her on. The previous week, a Republican-controlled House committee had rejected Democrats’ request that she testify on the Obama administration’s policy requiring that employees of religion-affiliated institutions have access to health insurance that covers birth control.

Fluke said that Georgetown, a Jesuit institution, does not provide contraception coverage in its student health plan and that contraception can cost a woman more than $3,000 during law school. She spoke of a friend who had an ovary removed because the insurance company wouldn’t cover the prescription birth control she needed to stop the growth of cysts.

On Wednesday, Limbaugh unleashed a lengthy and often savage verbal assault on Fluke.

“What does it say about the college coed ... who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex?” Limbaugh said. “It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.”

He went on to suggest that Fluke distribute sex tapes of herself.

“If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it,” he said. “We want you post the videos online so we can all watch.”

The backlash began quickly and showed no signs of abating as scores of Democratic members of Congress denounced Limbaugh and urged their GOP colleagues to do likewise.

The Republican speaker of the House, John Boehner, responded through a spokesman.

“The Speaker obviously believes the use of those words was inappropriate, as is trying to raise money off the situation,” said Boehner aide Michael Steel.

Boehner and other congressional Republicans have been accused by many Democratic officeholders and liberal advocacy groups of waging a “war on women” because of the GOP’s stances on family-planning funds, access to contraception, abortion rights and other issues. The topic has been cited often in recent fundraising pitches by many of the advocacy groups.

Amid this controversy, polls show that Obama’s support among women has been increasing.

At Georgetown, more than 130 faculty members signed a letter praising Fluke for her “grace and strength” and condemning Limbaugh’s remarks. The university president, John J. DeGioia, did likewise.

He said Limbaugh and others responded to Fluke “with behavior that can only be described as misogynistic, vitriolic, and a misrepresentation of the position of our student.”

On Thursday, aware of the firestorm he had ignited, Limbaugh was unapologetic.

“I think this is hilarious. Absolutely hilarious” he said on his show. “The left has been thrown into an outright conniption fit!”

On Friday, still defiant, Limbaugh scoffed at the concept of a conservative “war on women.”

“Amazingly, when there is the slightest bit of opposition to this new welfare entitlement being created, then all of a sudden we hate women! We want ‘em barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen,” he said. “And now, at the end of this week, I am the person that the women of America are to fear the most.”

Longtime Republican strategist Terry Holt suggested voters might see Obama’s response to an over-the-top radio host as “pure pandering” to woo women’s votes.

“This conversation seems to serve Rush Limbaugh and president Obama equally well,” Holt said.

Fluke, in Washington, issued a statement expressing gratitude for the support she’s received and resolve to continue speaking out.

“No woman deserves to be disrespected in this manner. This language is an attack on all women, and has been used throughout history to silence our voices,” she said.

“The millions of American women who have and will continue to speak out in support of women’s health care and access to contraception prove that we will not be silenced.”

Comments
(8)
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anonymous
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March 04, 2012
Hmmm, I've thought about it, and Rush was right. But, here's the thinking of the left. Why pay for the birth control when we already pay for the abortion? It would be cheaper to sleep around, get pregnant, and then have an abortion. Since democrats think the baby is just a glob of goo, who cares? Hey, and while she is pregnant and can have an abortion right up to the day the baby is born, there's nine months when she cant get pregant. What an awesome plan.

And wouldn't you like to be Fluke when she has children. "Mommy, are your sure daddy is my real daddy?" What a thing to be known for; well, maybe Monica Lewinski will have a friend.
anonymous
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March 05, 2012
So you thought about it, really. I thought I smelled wood burning!
just sayin
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March 03, 2012
Makes you wonder how effective Republican leaders would be in standing up to the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad if they are terrified of Rush Limbaugh. Rep Phil Gingrey remains silent on the matter however he will grovel at Limbaugh's feet and kiss his ring due to force of habit.
Just Wait
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March 03, 2012
Really, MDJ? This is what you choose for the banner headline of the paper?
Samuel Adams
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March 03, 2012
The headline should have read: "Obama joins attack on free speech and the first amendment."

Rush Limbaugh can say whatever he wants about this young woman. Here is my take: He's wrong, she's not a slut. She's just prostituting herself for the Democrat operatives who paid her to get up there and bait this issue, trolling for a comment from someone like Rush just to make headlines. She is a seasoned activist and lying about being upset over Limbaugh's comments. This is just one in a string of tactics the Dems will use to take attention off of Obama's many failures and scandals.

As long as the topic is alive though, my daughters were taught to take personal responsibility for their reproductive health. We are all appalled at the entitlement mentality that has permeated every aspect of these liberal's lives. They must feel so dependent upon government they can't function without it, slaves to politicians and their whims. Sadly, it's like they are in bondage, too insecure to free themselves from worry over things like this.
Laura Armstrong
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March 03, 2012
First we must endure the non-issue of contraception, cooked up by an administration desperate to change the subject from its abject failures. Then we must endure the spectacle of a 30-year-old spoiled brat demanding that we pay for her birth control and that of her college friends, as though it's not enough that she attends such an expensive, exclusive school (how much money do her parents have? I paid for my birth control, and they should pay for theirs as well). Now we must endure yet another attack on free speech by a president who knows something about using his own bully pulpit to attack private citizens, which he's done over and over with the private citizen Koch family, the policemen involved in the beer summit and others.

I might not agree with the language Rush used to make his point the other day, primarily because I knew it would give his enemies something to take out of context and use against him, but I will defend his right to say anything he wants to on the air. This is still America, just about everywhere but at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Just look at this headline: Obama joins attack. I am ashamed that our president deigns to operate on this level, when there are matters of life and death in Israel, a crisis with our troops in Afghanistan and families all over the country that continue to lose their jobs and homes.

Obama will go down in history as the president who was either playing golf or attacking our constitutional rights. He's toast in 2012.
anonymous
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March 03, 2012
Out of context? What's out of context about a young woman being called a "slut" and a "prostitute" and suggesting that she engage in pornography for Rush's amusement. If she want's contraceptives in her insurance coverage how are you paying for it? Her testimony before congress was about a friend who lost an ovary because her insurance company would not cover the cost of perscription birth control to stop the growth of cysts and others who may need this medication. Poor Rush still has "free speech" and he has made millions off his political opionions. Limbaugh is not above criticism for his statements if they are judged improper by the President or anyone else. Americans still have the right to call him what he is, a bloated, drug addled pig. We also have the right to tell his sponsors we don't agree with his comments. I understand your love for the private citizen Kochs who funded your "grass roots" Tea Party and are the Republican Pary's greatest benefactor. How do you feel about private citizen George Soros? Obama may go down in history for playing golf but he will also go down in history for killing Osama Bin Ladin. As far as toast is concerned, considering the Republican field, I would't count on it.
anonymous
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March 03, 2012
Rush was right - his listeners think he is right. She is what she is. Her parents should be ashamed of her. Our society has sunk to such a low classless lace - just look who was elected president.
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