Ahead of Super Tuesday's primary contests, all four mainstream Republican candidates have reacted in some way to statements made by conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh. The radio show host apologized for calling a woman a "slut," saying his "choice of words was not the best." His apology came after Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke testified before Congress about health insurance companies providing contraception.
Here's what the four Republican candidates said as they try to earn votes on the campaign trail.
Newt Gingrich felt it was the right thing for Limbaugh to apologize, but then blasted the media for not focusing on the larger issue. USA Today quoted Gingrich as saying it was "appropriate" for Limbaugh to apologize to the woman.
But he also asserted "religious liberty" was being attacked by the Obama administration by forcing insurance companies to provide contraception. Gingrich felt the debate should be about President Barack Obama's birth control policy and not about the woman who testified. Gingrich told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution the controversy over Limbaugh's statements is "silly."
Rep. Ron Paul
Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, said the issue of publicly funded birth control is important. But he distanced himself from Limbaugh by claiming the talk show host apologized because his bottom line was threatened.
"I don't think he's very apologetic, I think he's doing it because people were taking their advertisements off his program," Paul said, according to Politico.
The New York Times reports at least seven advertisers have pulled out of Limbaugh's radio show. One business pulled the plug after the host made his apology.
Mitt Romney came out against what Limbaugh said and believed the main issue facing American voters should be jobs. He responded to a question after a campaign stop at Cleveland State University.
"I'll just say this, which is, it's not the language I would have used. I'm focusing on the issues I think are significant in the country today and that's why I'm here talking about jobs and Ohio," Romney said, according to The Hill.
Rick Santorum told Wolf Blitzer in an interview that Limbaugh isn't even a politician.
"He's being absurd, but that's you know, an entertainer can be absurd. He's in a very different business than I am," Santorum told CNN, when he referred to Limbaugh.
Santorum went on to say that he is very concerned about the public policy of Obama "imposing his values on people."
William Browning is a research librarian specializing in U.S. politics. Born in St. Louis, Browning is active in local politics and served as a campaign volunteer for President Barack Obama and Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill.
- Rush Limbaugh
- Newt Gingrich
- President Barack Obama
- Rick Santorum