President Barack Obama said he offered support to a Georgetown University law student the day after Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” on his radio show because of his two young daughters.
“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,” Obama said in response to a question today at a White House news conference.
Limbaugh, 61, apologized for his remarks about the student, Sandra Fluke, on his website on March 3 and on his radio program yesterday. At least 10 companies have suspended advertising on Limbaugh’s program, the most popular U.S. talk-radio show, since the controversy erupted.
Fluke appeared before House Democrats in Congress on Feb. 23 to speak in favor of the Obama administration’s policy requiring insurers to provide birth control to women. Earlier, she had been barred from testifying before a House committee on what became an all-male panel.
Obama wouldn’t comment on Limbaugh’s apology or whether he agrees with calls for sponsors to drop the show.
“All decent folks can agree that the remarks that were made don’t have any place in the public discourse,” he said.
‘Demeaned and Insulted’
Democracy involves “arguments and disagreements,” but it doesn’t have mean that you’re “demeaned and insulted,” the president said.
Obama didn’t respond to a question about Democratic-leaning media personalities who have made insulting remarks about Republican women. Republicans have been citing such instances, and Limbaugh said in his apology that he “acted too much like the leftists who despise me.”
Comedian Bill Maher, who has pledged to give $1 million to a political action committee supporting Obama, last year used a vulgar term to describe former Alaska Governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. An official from the PAC, Priorities USA Action, didn’t immediately return an e-mailed request for comment.
Obama said he will “try to lead by example in this situation, as opposed to commenting on every single comment that’s made by either politicians or pundits.”
Asked whether Limbaugh’s remarks will result in greater support for Democrats, Obama said the women’s vote is “not going to be driven by one statement by one radio announcer.”
Obama said women will vote based on which candidate has the best plan for the economy and education.
“I’m not somebody who believes that women are going to be single-issue voters; they never have been,” he said.
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