WASHINGTON (AP) — Radio host Rush Limbaugh said his apology to the Georgetown law student he called a “slut” was sincere but also joked that he, too, got a busy signal when he called his show to join advertisers who are abandoning it.

Georgetown’s Sandra Fluke said Limbaugh’s apologies did nothing to change the corrosive tone of the debate over health care coverage and said Americans have to decide whether they want to support companies that continue to advertise on Limbaugh’s program. America Online became the eighth advertiser to leave Limbaugh’s three-hour show and the radio personality sought to stem the exodus of advertisers as conservatives declined to offer him support.

“I should not have used the language I did, and it was wrong,” a rarely contrite Limbaugh told listeners.

Fluke, who testified to congressional Democrats in support of their national health care policy that would compel her college’s health plan to cover her birth control, said she had not heard from Limbaugh directly but signaled she had little interest in talking with the radio host. She said criticism of her beliefs was an attack on women’s health.

“It is an attempt to silence me,” Fluke told ABC’s “The View.”

Fluke had been invited to testify to a House committee about her school’s health care plan that does not include contraception. Republican lawmakers barred her from testifying during that hearing, but Democrats invited her back and she spoke to the Democratic lawmakers at an unofficial session.

The issue has been much debated in the presidential race, with Republican candidates particularly criticizing President Barack Obama’s requirements on such employers as Catholic hospitals. Democrats — and many Republican leaders, too — have suggested the issue could energize women to vote for Obama and other Democrats in November.

Sen. John McCain, the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee, on Monday told CBS News that Limbaugh’s statements were unacceptable “in every way” and “should be condemned” by people across the political spectrum. Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich said it is “silly” to suggest that Limbaugh speaks for the GOP.

Limbaugh, even as he was retreating from calling Fluke a “slut” and “prostitute,” insisted the 30-year-old was trying to “force a religious institution to abandon its principles to meet hers.”

“Those two words were inappropriate. They were uncalled for,” he said of his initial comments that roiled critics. “They distracted from the point that I was actually tried to make.”

Even so, eight companies now have stopped advertising Limbaugh’s program on Clear Channel’s Premiere Radio Networks Inc. The parent company is supporting Limbaugh, whose on-air contract with Premiere runs through 2016.

AOL on Monday said Limbaugh’s messages “are not in line with our values.”

ProFlowers, mortgage lender Quicken Loans, mattress retailers Sleep Train and Sleep Number, software maker Citrix Systems Inc., online data backup service provider Carbonite and online legal document services company LegalZoom also left Limbaugh’s roster of advertisers.

Limbaugh on Monday tried to chuckle about his former advertisers.

“I called myself to cancel my advertising. I got a busy signal,” Limbaugh deadpanned at the start of his three-hour show.

Limbaugh appeared defiant despite the defections.

“What we’re going to do is replace them,” he said. “I reject millions of dollars of advertisers a year much to the chagrin of my hard-working sales staff.”

The tumult began last week when Limbaugh discounted Fluke’s appearance on Capitol Hill.

He said on Wednesday, “What does it say about the college coed … who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex.”

He dug in a day later, refusing to give ground.

“If we’re going to have to pay for this, then we want something in return, Ms. Fluke,” Limbaugh said. “And that would be the videos of all this sex posted online so we can see what we’re getting for our money.”

And on Friday, still defiant even after Democrats beat back Republican challenges to the new health care law, Limbaugh scoffed at the Democrats’ talk of a conservative “war on women.”

But by Saturday, he bowed.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (21)
  1. thomas says:

    So, where are all the “sincere” apologies from the right wing cretins who have been parroting his vile comments, and defending him, these past few days?

    Remember in November: Rush Limbaugh is the true inner voice of the Republican Party!

    1. cd says:

      Welcome to being a @s s Hole Fool and falling for a DEM TICK,first you need to learn to listen NOT talk. If you would listen to this young lady she doesn’t talk about her problem’s with cost it’s her friend’s problem. Why is important Thomas because a young lady like as WOMEN stay “OVERNITE”!

    2. Osamas Pajamas says:

      Rush should not have apologized. And this faker, Sandra Fluke, can kiss my axx.

    3. HerrSTig says:

      So where is the apology from that idol of the left Bill MAHER????? Where?? Where??

  2. Old hippie from anywhere says:

    I’ll tel you where they are. Comments are not being posted. CBS- trying to create it’s own history here.

  3. Old hippie from anywhere says:

    See? the one where I actually said something isn’t here, but the snarky one is. CBS- you folks just proved yourselves. I took a screenshot video as I wrote and posted, because I was actually copying something else- I just got the bonus of the comment censorship, too. I agree with everything he said, except for calling her names. Bad form, true message. It ain’t enough of an issue to help Obama get elected. And it’s NOT an attack on womens health. What a crock.

  4. olegunny says:

    Calling a spade a spade does not require an apology.

  5. Dicey Riley says:

    Didn’t this woman say she was on a public scholarship? If so, shouldn’t she be studying so us taxpayers aren’t wasting more money.
    Put your big girl pants on honey and take responsibility for yourself. I paid for my own pills all my life, even when they were prescribed for hormone therapy. My tubes were tied and the insurance still wouldn’t cover them even though I was NOT using them for birth control.
    I am so sick and tired of working my ass off to pay for all the things folks think they are entitled to. You aren’t entitled to anything you don’t work and pay for yourself. Maybe if everyone stepped up and paid their own way, I could actually afford some health insurance for myself. Can’t afford it since I have to pay for it for all the entitled non working leeches though.

  6. bailey says:

    walks like a duck quacks like a duck behaves as a duck must be a duck lol.

  7. jbc says:

    This is NOT your typical 18 year old college student. SHE is 30 years old and iof you take the time to review her past you will clearly see she is a mouthpiece for the left.

    Lets all be nice, and EVERYBODY send her a condom

  8. Rastus says:

    She could keep her legs closed. Wouldn’t cost us a dime.

  9. ruckus says:

    All Rush could do was offer an apology. Those without character, do not accept them. Can you imagine living with this woman?

  10. ruckus says:

    Thiss wman needs to take an Aspriin. (and put it between her knees )

  11. John Wolf says:

    The Obama and Soros Trolls are out tonight.

  12. regina says:

    I don’t really care for Rush Limbaugh, but this Fluke lady does not represent my thoughts or beliefs. I say boycott the companies that pulled advertising from Limbaugh’s program. Money talks. When they start losing money they will go back. She put herself in the limelight and if she can’t take the heat she needs to get out of the kitchen.

  13. Osamas Pajamas says:

    By the way, thanks for listing the Rush Boycotters — now we now whom to boycott — THEM!

  14. HerrSTig says:

    So when is woman hating BILL MAHER going to apoligize???? OH, THAT’ S right, he’s a LIBERAL who gives money to the “cause”. I like the way this phony issue (and PHONY Pelosi “congressional hearing”) started out being about contraception but NOW is all about the “other things” a birth control pill “could be” used for. Weave and dodge, the lefty mantra.

  15. HerrSTig says:

    I understand that “Flukie” has taken on a new meaning on the college campus, sorta like a “Monica”.

  16. HerrSTig says:

    RUSH is on 600 stations and has Eighteen THOUSAND advertizers, He has lost more wimps that Scare America EVER HAD.

  17. HerrSTig says:

    Why is it none of the boyfriends of this poster child for serial promiscuity are willing to kick in? Have all the fun you want, lady, just don’t ask the CHURCH to pay for it.

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