The controversy swirling around talk-show host Rush Limbaugh’s derogatory comments about a student who testified before Congress in support of the Obama administration’s health-care law is proving slow to die on Capitol Hill.
Three days after Mr. Limbaugh apologized for calling Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” for telling lawmakers that employers should cover contraception in their health plans, House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer fired back, calling the conservative radio personality’s comments “beyond the pale, indefensible and vicious.”
It “was as outrageous an attack as I’ve seen,” Mr. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, said Tuesday during his weekly briefing with reporters. It was “intimidating to others who might want to, in a very honest fashion, testify before the Congress of the United States.”
With rising emotion in his voice, Mr. Hoyer added: “I will tell you, I have three daughters. If he had treated one of my daughters that way, I would be even more outraged.”
Mr. Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, called for a tamping down of political and partisan rhetoric and for creating “an America for civil discourse and civil debate.”
“It is not a question of partisan difference,” he said of the Limbaugh controversy. “If our nation is going to meet and solve the difficult challenges that confront us and the issues that confront us, it needs to do so in a rational and temperate way with honest discussion promoted — not attacked.”