Democrats are using Rush Limbaugh’s controversial criticism of a law student's contraceptive advocacy to raise money and are calling on more sponsors to drop his talk show. In a rebuttal, he says he's actually adding sponsors.
Limbaugh has apologized for calling Sandra Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute” for testifying before Congress in support of health insurance coverage of birth control. But Fluke has called the apology meaningless, and Democrats are doing their best to keep the story alive.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, from Limbaugh’s home state of Missouri, featured Limbaugh’s words in a fundraising appeal. It paid off, netting her re-election campaign $10,000 in just one day.
"It's been one of our top fundraising emails for Claire," McCaskill campaign manager Adrianne Marsh told The Associated Press.
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have also invoked Limbaugh’s name in fundraising appeals. The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, chaired by Washington Sen. Patty Murray, called for donations to help fight Limbaugh.
“Personal attacks on a student — and all women — simply can’t be ignored,” the committee’s appeal said. “Stand with us, and denounce Rush Limbaugh’s vile attacks.”
Dozens of advertisers and some radio stations have dropped Limbaugh’s show, and the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said he would “love” to see the Armed Forces Network ditch it as well.
Meanwhile, Limbaugh scoffs at the idea that such actions have hurt his show.
“Everything is fine on the business side,” he said on his program on Wednesday. “Everything’s cool. There is not a thing to worry about.”
Amid reports that at least 28 sponsors have left the show, Limbaugh said that is “out of 18,000. That’s like losing a couple of french fries in the container when it’s delivered to you in the drive-through. You don’t even notice it.”
Limbaugh also said he's adding more advertisers. “Whatever you are seeing on television about this program and sponsors and advertisers is just incorrect," he said.
Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod tried to tie the flap to the presidential campaign, telling reporters Wednesday that GOP front-runner Mitt Romney’s failure to denounce Limbaugh shows a lack of backbone.
"How can he stand up to [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad?" Axelrod continued, "How are you going to stand up to the challenges of the presidency? These are tests. Presidential campaigns are tests... The Limbaugh thing was a test of leadership, and you have them all the time, and Mitt Romney has failed those tests in the campaign."
Even McCaskill’s mother has joined the fray. An email sent out in 83-year-old Betty Anne McCaskill’s name carried the subject line, “Who are you calling a slut or a babe?”
In it, the senator’s mom accused Limbaugh of waging “a war on women.”
“Rush Limbaugh and his out-of-control nasty mouth is part of the problem,” she said. “I thought after 40 years of progress this wouldn’t be an issue any more. Unfortunately, it seems that I’ve thought too highly of Republican Party leaders.”
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