In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Murkowski: GOP Has Spun Out Of Control On Contraception

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Her remarks reflect a more widely shared sense among some conservatives and GOP lawmakers that leadership led the party astray in this fight -- and that the appetite for pressing ahead with it is diminishing.

Murkowski, a high-ranked senator and former leadership member herself, worries that the sequence of events since GOP leaders twisted arms for Thursday's losing vote has left her party on the wrong side of the issue, and that the public is taking note.

"I think [these incidents] are just adding to this sense that women's health rights are being attacked -- that in 2012 we're having a conversation about whether or not contraception should be allowed," Murkowski told TPM. "I think most thought that we were done with those discussions decades ago. So it's been kind of an interesting week for women's health issues."

Many Republicans tread carefully around Limbaugh. Murkowski by contrast, denounced his recent remarks about Georgetown University Law School student Sandra Fluke as "incendiary," and called on political leaders -- including from her own party -- not to hedge their words.

"The comments made by Limbaugh, I was just stunned," she added. "In the end, I'm a little bit disappointed that there hasn't been greater condemnation of his words by people in leadership positions." Including Republicans? "Everybody," she responded. "What he said was just wrong. Just wrong."

About The Author

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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.