President Obama inserted himself into the political firestorm over Rush Limbaugh's comments about the Georgetown law school student who testified before Congress on contraception, calling Sandra Fluke to personally offer his support.
The president spoke with Fluke Friday afternoon because 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," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.
"They had a very good conversation. I think he, like a lot of people, feels that the kinds of personal attacks that … have been directed her way are inappropriate. The fact that our political discourse has become debased in many ways is bad enough. It is worse when it's directed at a private citizen who was simply expressing her views on a matter of public policy," he said.
Limbaugh has publicly assailed Fluke on his radio show, calling her a "slut" for arguing before Congress that insurance companies should fully cover birth control for all women, even if the institution or employer has religious objections.
"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, what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute," Limbaugh said Wednesday. "She wants to be paid to have sex. She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We're the pimps."
Asked what the president thought of Limbaugh's comments, Carney said "they were reprehensible, they were disappointing. It is disappointing that that kind of - those kinds of personal and crude attacks could be leveled against someone like this young law school student, who was simply expressing her opinion on a matter of public policy and doing so with a great deal of poise."
Today the conservative commentator mocked the fact that the president phoned Fluke. "That is so compassionate. What a great guy," Limbaugh said, while making kissing noises. "The president called her to make sure she's OK. What is she, 30 years old? Thirty years old, a student at Georgetown Law who admits to having so much sex she can't afford it."