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Obama phones student called a ‘slut’ by Limbaugh

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President Obama Friday telephoned the Georgetown University law school student who spoke out about contraceptive policy to express his disappointment at the "crude" and "reprehensible" comments directed at her by Rush Limbaugh, the White House said.

"He wanted to offer his support to her," presidential press secretary Jay Carney said of Georgetown law school student Sandra Fluke. "He wanted to express his disappointment that she had 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."

Ms. Fluke, a third-year law student, testified about Georgetown's policy on contraception during an unofficial hearing last week that was led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat. She said birth control should be covered by health insurance at religious institutions, offering her support of the administration's position announced in January.

Mr. Limbaugh, on his radio show this week, criticized Ms. Fluke for what he said was essentially asking for a taxpayer-financed benefit in order to have sex.

"What would you call someone who wants us to pay for her to have sex? What would you call that woman? You'd call them a slut, a prostitute or whatever," Mr. Limbaugh said on his program.

The president called Ms. Fluke from the Oval Office Friday afternoon, after Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, criticized Mr. Limbaugh's comments and also derided Democrats for engaging in fundraising off the episode.

Mr. Carney said the president "feels that the kind of personal attacks that have been directed her way are inappropriate. The fact that our political discourse has been debased is bad enough; it's worse when it's directed at a private citizen."

"It is disappointing that 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," Mr. Carney said.

Georgetown University officials released a statement defending Ms. Fluke, calling Mr. Limbaugh's attacks "misogynistic."

The case has become a hot-button issue as a clash over contraception, health insurance and religious rights has roiled the political debate in recent weeks.

Because Georgetown, a Jesuit university, won't pay for contraception in student health plans, Ms. Fluke said she had to pay as much as $1,000 a year out-of-pocket and said she has friends with ovarian cysts who encountered serious complications because they couldn't afford to buy birth control pills.

Mr. Limbaugh termed her a "prostitute" on Wednesday for her comments, saying she wants taxpayers to pay her to have sex — even though Ms. Fluke was advocating in favor of a recent order by the administration for employers to cover contraception for their workers without charging a co-pay or deductible.

Mr. Limbaugh went even further Thursday, defending his statements and suggesting that women who obtain birth control through their insurance should post their sex tapes online.

"So Miss Fluke, and the rest of you feminazis, here's the deal," he said. "If we are going to pay for your contraceptives — and thus pay for you to have sex — we want something for it. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch."

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