The uproar over Rush Limbaugh’s “slut” remark is not calming down—not when the comment was that outrageous, not when it’s an election year, not when the president discusses it during his first press conference of the year.
“I don’t know what’s in Rush Limbaugh’s heart, so I’m not going to comment on the sincerity of his apology,” Obama told a group of reporters on Tuesday
. “What I can comment on is the fact that all decent folks can agree that the remarks that were made don’t have any place in the public discourse.”
Over the weekend, Limbaugh apologized for calling Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut,” “prostitute,” and “feminazi,” because she supports government-required healthcare plans covering birth control. It seems the public is not buying the apology. As criticism mounts, some question whether this is a career killer for the controversial radio host.
During Tuesday's press conference, which began with questions about Iran, the president said he called Fluke after Limbaugh made the remark. “I thought about Malia and Sasha, and one of the things I want them to do as they get older is to engage in issues they care about ... And I don’t want them attacked or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens,” he said.
The backlash against Limbaugh and the companies that advertise on his radio show was swift and fierce
. Consumers poured onto their Facebook pages and Twitter to rip them for their de facto support of his comments.
So far, 20 companies have pulled their advertising
. Petitions from three progressive groups—CREDO Action, Ultraviolet and Daily Kos—have received more than 650,000 signatures calling for more companies withdraw their support. (The president said he wouldn't comment on what sponsors decide to do.)
Meanwhile, AshleyMadison.com, the website that facilitates extra-marital affairs, said in a press release on Tuesday
that it will buy up all the remaining airtime for Limbaugh’s show.
"Rush has always been a controversial figure and we have always been a controversial service so we can relate,” the site’s CEO Noel Biderman said.