Hoyer Unleashes Stinging Rebuke Of Rush Limbaugh

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A rare apology from Rush Limbaugh has done little to quell the uproar over the radio host’s “slut” comment from last week — and Democrats are working hard to keep it that way.

At his weekly pen and pad, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) launched into an unprompted rebuke of Limbaugh for calling Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and “prostitute” for her recent testimony contraception and health insurance.

“I want to speak about an issue which was as outrageous an attack as I’ve seen recently,” Hoyer told reporters Tuesday. “Rush Limbaugh’s attack on Sandra Fluke was beyond the pale. Indefensible. Vicious. Intimidating to others. … And it demeans the public faith.”Hoyer also called the comments “outrageous” and, raising his voice, explained his reaction: “I have three daughters. And if he had treated one of my daughters that way, I would be even more outraged than I am for Sandra Fluke.” Hoyer also invoked the Army-McCarthy hearings, asking Limbaugh, “Have you no shame?”

The No. 2 House Dem approvingly quoted the president of Georgetown University, who described Limbaugh’s comments as “misogynistic” and “vitriolic.” He joins House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who called on the GOP to repudiate the remarks and said Republicans would otherwise be “tattooed with that.”

Over the weekend, Limbaugh apologized for his “insulting word choices.” Republicans desperately want to move on, but a stream of advertisers has steadily fled the show, keeping the debacle in the news. Hoyer’s fierce denunciation Tuesday suggests Dems still aren’t ready to let the issue go.

Top Republicans have tread carefully around the controversy, cautious not to endorse Limbaugh’s language but also of incurring the radio host’s wrath for criticizing him, as they have in the past.

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) gave a lukewarm denunciation of Limbaugh’s comments Tuesday, calling them “inappropriate.” On NBC’s Meet The Press Sunday, a cautious House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) twice called the remarks “insulting” — using Limbaugh’s own phrase — and said he doesn’t condone them.

No GOP calls for a more serious apology. No further denunciations of Limbaugh, despite calls for a more stern response from prominent conservatives like George Will. Republicans’ discomfort with the whole episode is exactly what Dems intend to exploit.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
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